Shining Star Award
The AACT Shining Star award recognizes an individual AACT Member who has had a significant impact on the advancement of AACT and its mission through leadership and service on a national level. This new award is open to all ages and years of service, and will complement AACT’s growing national outreach to younger participants, and provides a way of encouraging and recognizing the service of those who may not yet qualify for any of AACT's more long-term awards.
Seth Sponhouse (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) has spent nearly a decade working in community theatres across central Pennsylvania, and is an active member of AACT’s Education Committee. In 2015, he became the first Education Coordinator for the Community Theatre League (CTL) of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In addition to directing many plays, Seth fostered the creation of the Community Academy of Stage and Theatre, the development of CTL’S signature fundraiser, Evening with a Star, which brings a Broadway performer to Williamsport for a one-night concert and masterclass. In addition, he was instrumental in the incorporation of the Penguin Project at CTL, and the subsequent Spotlight Program (featuring children and adults with disabilities). Seth also helped establish a partnership with West Virginia University to offer a full-ride scholarship to a student participant of CTL’s Ray of Light Awards, a celebration of high school theatre.
Lou Ursone (Stamford, Connecticut) Since 2000, Lou has served as the Executive Director/Producing Artistic Director of Curtain Call, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut's longest-running and only year-around, nonprofit producing theatre company. He was honored as the Connecticut Arts Administrator of the Year in 2008, receiving the Elizabeth Mahaffey Fellowship. Lou serves on the Arts and Culture Commission for the City of Stamford, and was its founding chair. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Darien Arts Center for eight years, and on the Samuel French Advisory Committee for four years. During the pandemic, Lou worked tirelessly as an advocate, making sure community theatres were included in the Shuttered Venue Grants being distributed to arts groups. Lou also summarized and shared grant information with these theatres, in an effort to keep theatre administrators posted on available support.