Distinguished Merit Award

Distinguished Merit
Presented to individuals and organizations in recognition of contributions made to promote and develop the highest standards for community theatre

2015 Honoree
Aubrey Dunne
San Diego, CA

Aubrey DunneAubrey had a gift for seeing San Diego community theatres not as competitors, but as partners. In the early 1960's he created a network allowing disparate theatres to share resources, skills, and materials. His efforts demonstrated, through example, how cooperation and sharing could make all theatre groups stronger. In 1963, under Mr. Dunne's leadership, the Associated Community Theatres (ACT) of San Diego was born. The group organized workshops and one-act festivals, creating opportunities for varied theatre groups to come together, share ideas, and learn to rely on one another. In 1965 the group had its first awards celebration, using judging criteria developed by Mr. Dunne. The member theatres voted to call the awards "The Aubreys” in honor of their founder. Mr. Dunne remained active in ACT, supporting San Diego community theatres for more than 40 years. In August 2015 ACT will celebrate its 50th Aubrey Awards with a gala in Mr. Dunne's honor. Although no longer with us, Mr. Dunn's legacy of community theatre ideals, high quality, and spirit of cooperation lives on.

2015 Honoree
Oklahoma Community Theatre Association (OCTA)

OCTA logoOCTA was founded in 1969 by 15 community theatre groups. OCTA's mission of promoting excellence in Oklahoma's community theatres is accomplished through an on-line newsletter, a library/resource center with over 2,000 theatre related materials, networking, festivals, summer conferences, and educational and performance opportunities. OCTA's officers have completed the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits "Standards of Excellence" training benefitting both OCTA and local community theatre boards. OCTAFest allows Oklahoma theatres to share their work and knowledge, and OCTA leads the nation with the most first and second place awards at regional and national festivals. Oklahoma theatres have also performed at four international festivals. OCTA efforts to provide theatre related opportunities for young people include a youth conference and assisting with the creation of theatre-related curriculum available to theatres and school districts. OCTA, with a current membership of 36 theatres, five universities, and eighty individuals was honored with the 2014 Governor's Arts Award in recognition of its unique contributions in support of the arts.

Previous Recipients
1979  Norman Carver (Kalamazoo, MI)
1980  Douglas Cook (University Park, PA)
1981  Henry Fonda (Omaha, NE)
1982  David Gooder (Downers Grove, IL)
1983  Bea Miller (Memphis, TN)
1984  Alaska State Community Theatre
1985  National Multicultural Theatre Association
         of Canada
1987  Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
1988  Kalamazoo Civic Players (MI)
1989  Charles Jones (Omaha, NE)
1990  Hiroshi Koizumi (Toyama City, Japan)
1991  Target Stores
1992  Paul Ebert (Oak Ridge, TN)
1993  Jon Kerkhoff (Omaha, NE)
1994  Theatre Midland (TX)
1995  Sherwood Lohrey &
         Theatre Memphis (TN)
1996  Steve Spiegel & Music Theatre
         International (New York, NY)
1997  William Talbot (New York, NY)
1998  Stage Directions Magazine
1999  David Young (Gainesville, FL)
2000  Charles Jeffers (Hickory, NC)
2001  Jim Sohre (US Army, Europe)
2002  Enid Holm (Odessa, TX)
         Harv Thompson (Madison, WI)
2003  Ohio Community Theatre Association
2004  Shirley Cockrell (Oneida, NY)
         Hap Ryder (Fairbanks, AK)
         Pat White (Amherst, NH)
2005  Jerry Zimmerman (Ft Jennings, OH)
2006  John Rich (Pullman, WA)
2007  Morrie Enders (Kalamazoo, MI)
2008  Jim Buckley (Cambria, CA)
2009  Bonnie Daniels (US Army)
         Andre Bruce Ward (Memphis, TN)
2010  Penelope Notter (Grand Rapids, MI)
2011  April Cochran (Paducah, KY)
         Ginny Morrison (Seville, OH)
2012  Dennis Assaf & Jefferson Performing
         Arts Society (Metairie, LA)
         Linda McClane (Fernandina Beach, FL)
2013 Anthony Del Rosso
        & Gwendolyn Whitney
        (SHAPE Perf. Arts Centre NATO Base)
        Carolyn Pitman (Whitefish, MT) 
2014 Melanie Cornelison (Ashland, KY)
         Lisa Garza (Houston, TX)
         SCERA Center for the Arts (Orem, UT)



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