Outstanding Service Award | AACT

Outstanding Service Award

David C. Bryant Outstanding Service
Recognizes individual members of AACT for significant, valuable, and lasting service to community theatre

2022 Honoree

Photo of Susan HarringtonSusan Harrington (Roslindale, Massachusetts) holds multiple degrees in Early Childhood Education and has been involved in community theatre for over 40 years. Currently serving as the Board Secretary for the Eastern Massachusetts  Association  of Community Theatres, she has also served as the EMACT representative to NETC and AACT. She is a member of EMACT’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, and works diligently to promote diversity, equity and accessibility for Eastern Massachusetts theatre groups. Susan is also actively involved with the Arlington Friends of Drama, The Lexington Players, The Hovey Players and The Footlight Club, and serves as a Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors consultant, assisting companies through evaluation and education. As a state festival team member, she provides a unique level of expertise, freely sharing her knowledge and working tirelessly to ensure that groups in eastern Massachusetts have the tools they need to achieve success.

Previous Recipients
2021 Donna Fisher (Casper, WY)
2020    Norm McPhee (Racine, WI)
2019    Bayless Eugene Irby (Artesia, NM)
2018    Jerry Brees (U.S. Army IMCOM Europe Entertainment, Italy)
             Michael Spicer (Salina, KS)
             Lynn Nelson (Tupelo, MS)
2017   Joan Luther (Naples, New York)
            Jon Douglas Rake (Tacoma, Washington)
2016   Tom Cordingley (Helena, MT)
            Zada & Earl Jahnsen (Bulverde, TX)
2015   Victoria Hanrahan (Ansbach, Germany)
2015   Lou Vander Have (Grand Rapids, MI)
2014   Harriet Friedman (Waltham, MA)
           Dotti Peek* (New Palestine, IN)
2013  Christi Thomas (Sidney, OH)
2012  Paul Nelson (Olean, NY)
           Ron Paoletti* (US Army, Europe)
2011  Dennis Gilmore (Athens, TX)
2010  Dwight Martin (Honolulu, HI)
2009  Dane Winters (US Army, Heidelberg)
2008  Vanita Rae Smith (Honolulu, HI)
2007  David Allen (Memphis, TN)
           Nick Credgington (Fort Belvoir, VA)
           Ginger Heath (Charlotte, NC)
2006  Steve Walpert (Fort Gordon, GA)
2005  Norm Small (Winter Haven, FL)
2004  Eleanor Smith (Columbus, OH)
2003  Dawn Enders* (La Crosse, WI)
2002  Ginny Winsor (Omaha, NE)
2001  Jeanne Stein* (Los Alamos, NM)
2000  Bill Razo (Hobbs, NM)
1999  Jerry Paquette (US Army)
1998  Donna Norberg (Minneapolis, MN)
1997  JoAnne Nissen (Racine, WI)
1996  John Viars (Des Moines, IA)
1995  John Wills* (Spokane, WA)
1994  Charles Chesnut* (Chappaqua, NY)
1993  Sandra Karnack (Minot, ND)
1992  L. Newell Tarrant* (Raleigh, NC)
1991  Shirley Harbin* (Detroit, MI)
1990  Bea Miller* (Mempis, TN)
2019    Bayless Eugene Irby, Artesia, NM
1989  Al* & Elise King (Clinton, IA)
1988  Mort Clark* (North White Plains, NY)
1987  David Gooder* (Downers Grove, IL)
1985  Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
1984  Kay Fliehr* (Edina, MN)
1983  Betty Tomlinson* (Spokane, WA)
1982  Robert Plumb* (Broken Arrow, OK)
1981  Jeanne Adams Wray* (Stillwater, OK)
1980  John Wray Young* (Shreveport, LA)
1979  Art Cole* (Midland, TX)
1978  Robert E. Gard* (Madison, WI)

          * Deceased

David C. Bryant

David C. BryantThe David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award was established in 1978 to honor one of the original founders and the third President (1965-68) of ACTA (later AACT).  Dave was the Artistic Director of the Sheboygan (WI) Community Players from 1957 until his death in 1971.  Under his influence in Sheboygan, according to its 50th anniversary book, "more people were involved onstage, backstage and in the audience.  There was a marked liveliness to the theatrical fare.  Even the printed playbills of the period reflect creativity, individuality and a sense of panache."  Dave instituted the production of a musical every year and was instrumental in the design of their new thrust stage in order to provide "closer visual, auditory and emotional contact with the actors."  His influence in Sheboygan was so powerful that when a new Artistic Director joined the staff in 1981, 10 years after Dave's untimely death, "Dave was all I heard about, even though there were four Directors of Theatre between us."

Essentially a "let-us-never-forget-the-work-of-those-who-have-gone-before-us" award, it is given for "significant and valuable service to community theatre" on a local, regional or national level.  This service may be artistic, business or ethical in nature.  It may be for a local theatre or the field of community theatre in general, but it must be significant and have a lasting impact.


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