Pittsboro Youth Theater's family of performance arts organizations were recognized with 9 Triangle-wide "Best of the Year 2020" awards in a ceremony held December 30. The annual program celebrates outstanding performing arts in the region. Dustin Britt, Managing Editor and 18 writers, reviewers and contributors of Chatham Life and Style scour the regions performances and vote on outstanding shows. The "Best of the Year 2020" ceremony remains available for viewing on Facebook and Youtube.
PYT's family of performing arts organizations were selected as "outstanding" in the following categories:
Cast of "A Virtual Christmas Carol"
Outstanding Youth Program
"A Virtual Christmas Carol" by Pittsboro Youth Theater. Cast: Huck Boone, Reese Colwell, Clementine Janssen, Emmy Krawczel, Celeste Smith, and Max Whittington.
Outstanding Student Theatre Ensemble
"Columbinus" by Social Justice Theater of the Carolinas. Cast: Jacqui Anthenien, Hannah Conners, Abi Dasher, Jake Dusenberry, Ethan Galiger, Alayna McLandsborough, India Nkamp, Eden Priddle
"A Virtual Christmas Carol" produced by Pittsboro Youth Theater. Cast: see above.
Clementine Janssen in
"A Virtual Christmas Carol"
in "Heal 2020"
Outstanding Breakout Performance
Alayna McLandsborough in "Columbinus"
Catherine Hall in "Heal 2020"
Clementine Janssen in "A Virtual Christmas Carol"
India Nykamp in "Columbinus"
Jacqui Anthenien in "Columbinus"
In recognition of most noteworthy individuals benefitting performing arts in the Triangle, Britt said "There are a couple people... who stood out to me and the staff as doing something extraordinary."
Tammy Matthews and Craig Witter
Outstanding Contribution to the Arts
Tammy Matthews and Craig Witter
Britt said, "I want to call out Tammy Matthews and Craig Witter who are the founders of Pittsboro Youth Theater and... Social Justice Theater of the Carolinas. Tammy and Craig have managed to pull together all of the families in the Pittsboro area and have provided a marvelous educational environment for emerging artists... through small community productions."
"What's particularly extraordinary is that Tammy's students continue to crank out really funny, delightful online content." Britt continued, "Tammy and Craig are doing marvelous work and have been for a very long time. So if you are in the Pittsboro area, I definitely recommend that you look into Pittsboro Youth Theater for your kids, Chatham Community Players for adults, whether that means... participating or going in and paying a visit."
A Successful Struggle
COVID was a disaster in many industries around the globe but theater was one of the hardest hit. Broadway does not plan to sell a single ticket until May 2021 at the earliest.
Tammy Matthews, PYT's Artistic Director said, "One day in March we had to evolve or go out of business. 5 different production casts had been rehearsing in the theater for months. Then the Governor said people couldn't go to theaters anymore. We had to reinvent our organization. 2 days later we figured out how to rehearse online and video performances on Zoom then post shows on Youtube. We've produced more a dozen plays online since then."
Describing Matthews' and Witter's outstanding achievement Britt said, "Definitely look at the Pittsboro Youth Theater Youtube page where they have lots of wonderful stuff."
Britt said, "The year has been different.... Every theater company in the [Triangle] area... have managed to really pull some rabbits out of some hats as far as keeping theater moving.... Everybody's really stuck it out, and that's what's been so impressive."
• • •
TRIANGLE-WIDE THEATER AWARDS
In 2019 we were delighted to have multiple cast members recognized in Chatham Life & Style's "Best of the Year 2019" performing arts awards.
One of our Pittsboro Youth Theater Ensemble cast members, Fiona Tiegreen, was honored as a "Rising Star" for her performance in Dorothy Meets Alice. At age 9, Fiona was the youngest performer to be honored in any category.
Additionally, Jon Woolard was honored for his performance in October's Arsenic and Old Lace by the Chatham Community Players. Jon played a scarily accurate Jonathan Brewster and gave show-stopping performances every night!
It's great that Pittsboro's own family of Theater organizations were recognized as "Outstanding" alongside Triangle region heavyweights, such as DPAC, Raleigh Little Theater, Ward Theater, Burning Coal Theater and other much larger, well established and funded organizations and venues.