Special Recognition | AACT

Special Recognition

Special Recognition
Presented to persons & organizations whose contributions are far-reaching & of a special nature

2024 Honorees

Dale and Dianne Pegg
Grosse Pointe, Michigan

Photo of Dale and Dianne PeggDale became a member of Grosse Pointe Theatre (GPT) over 50 years ago, when a friend asked him to help him with lighting a show. “The hook was set and I was reeled in,” he says. He has served GPT as a board member and as President five times, but says his true calling is backstage, building sets, and designing both sound and lighting. He is also the company’s chief photographer, and edits photographs for GPT programs and marketing efforts. He is particularly proud of helping GPT in acquiring and renovating a former nursing home to create a rehearsal hall, scene shop, and office space. Dianne has been equally active, beginning in the scene shop before being tapped for props and set dressing. She then moved into creating sound effects, where she met her husband-to-be, and began lighting shows, and “truly found my creative niche, choosing the gels and lighting angles to support the story by painting the set with subtle color and emotions. “ She also helped establish GPT’s, Studio Theatre, leading to many productions of groundbreaking plays.

Julie Price
Paducah, Kentucky

Photo of Julie PriceJulie has been part of Paducah’s Market House Theatre (MHT) for nearly 30 years. She’s worked backstage, helped raise money for the theatre, and served in its Board of Directors (including serving as President). She’s also appeared onstage, returning this year as Chelsea in MHT’s production of On Golden Pond. This comes after 15 years of entertaining children through MHT’s traveling Story Theatre program for elementary schools, and its PlayTime program for preschoolers. In that capacity, she has visited countless elementary schools and performed for thousands of children in the quad-state region, including the most rural of locations. Julie says she loves that, even when children face hardships in their lives, they can relax and experience a few minutes, watching the unfolding of a wonderful story and moral. It serves to remind her that we each have a story and something special and unique to offer this world.

Alka Sharma
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Photo of Alka SharmaAlka is the founder of Mandi Theater, which produces traditional Hindi theatre in the Chicago area. By producing the classics of Indian dramatic literature, Mandi Theatre aims to increase awareness of various social issues, as well as Indian culture. It performs plays in Hindi, English, Sanskrit, and other South Asian regional languages. Alka’s efforts include an annual theatre festival that brings together performing groups from across the country to present traditional Indian plays and adaptations. In 2023, she launched the Theatre for Young Audiences, which, added to the company’s existing children’s programs, introducing young people to theatre and take part in it as a way to express themselves and develop self-confidence. Mandi Theatre also performs at various community events and fundraisers, totally free of cost. Alka’s leadership and innovative staging techniques have brought performances to both theatres and informal performance spaces throughout the Chicago area, establishing Mandi Theater as a true community theatre.

Previous Recipients

2023  Tom Booth (Wren, MS)
           Murray Chase (Venice, FL)
           Kathy Conlon and Sal DeMercurio (Grosse Point, MI)
           John Davis (Evergreen, CO)
           Misty Shipman (Spokane, WA)
2022  Ann Davis (York, Pennsylvania)
           Mandi Theater (Buffalo Grove, Illinois)
2021  Stephen Peithman (Woodland, California)
           Colleen Stock (Reston, Virginia)
2020   Richard Roberts (Stuttgart, Ger­many)
           Dane Winters (Kaiserslautern, Ger­many)
2019   Valerie Kavanaugh (Averill Park, New York)
           Theatrix (Franken Kaserne, Ansbach, Germany)
2018   Fred Wise (Newark, Ohio)
           Cheryl & Tom Novo
       U.S. Army IMCOM Europe Entertainment
               Kaiserslautern, Germany
2017  Chester Eitze (Austin, Texas)
          Installation Management Command – Europe Region Entertainment
          Nathan Records (Kaiserslautern, Germany)
          The Frank Lee Family and
           the Jack K. Ayre & Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation
           (Fort Worth, Texas)
2016  Dr. Tim Ballweber and Ballweber Orthodontics (Helena, Montana)
          Sue Ellen Gerrells (Alabaster, Alabama)
          Rhonda Wilson (Gainesville, Florida)
2015   Dr. Mary Kay Switzer (Banning, CA)
       Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre (Grand Forks, ND)
2014  Wil Breden (Wellesley, MA)
          Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
          Kirk Players (Mundelein, IL)


2013  Michael Fenlason (Tucson, AZ)
          Jan Mitchell (Menifee, KY)
2012  Merrie Dawkins (Rockingham, NC)
2011  Ruth Legg* (Geneva, NY)
          L. Ross Rowland* (Muncie, IN)
2010  Dan LaMorte (US Army, Europe)
2009  Robert G. Anderson (Starkville, MS)
          John Kollack (Clarkesville, GA)
2008  Victoria L. Hanrahan (Ansbach, Germany)
2007  Angela L. Ardolino (Miami, FL)
2005  Kathie Maldonado (Hobbs, NM)
2004  Patty Duke (Northern ID)
2003  Vilseck Bavarian Arts Guild (Vilseck, Germany)
2002  Frank Peot (Sun Prairie, WI)
2001  1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery
          (Fort Sill, Lawton, OK)
      Women's Exchange of Sarasota (Sarasota, FL)
2000  Kurt Majkowski (Eau Claire, WI)
1999  Stephen Peithman (Davis, CA)
1998  Studio de Monaco - World Festival of Amateur Theatre
          Dundalk (Ireland) International Maytime Festival
          Toyama (Japan) International Theatre Festival
1997  International Thespian Society
1996  A. R. Gurney

          * Deceased


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