Students from Minneapolis, Minnetonka, St. Cloud and St. Paul are recognized for their theatrical expertise, skills and leadership earning them a trip to Broadway
MINNEAPOLIS (June 16, 2021) — Hennepin Theatre Trust announced its annual Spotlight Education awards and honors for Minnesota high school theater students possessing excellence in singing, dancing and acting, expertise in stagecraft and an overall demonstration of community leadership, teamwork and artistry. The announcement was made last night during Spotlight Showcase 2021: Spotlight Belongs To Us, the Trust’s annual event that formally recognizes the extraordinary achievements of the students and educators who make up Minnesota’s vibrant high school theater community.
The four students awarded with the 2020-2021 Triple Threat Broadway Experience are Delaney Hunter (graduating senior, Minnesota Connections Academy, St. Paul), Hannah Ervin (outgoing junior, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists), Grecia Lopez (graduating senior, St. Cloud Tech High School) and Nate Turcotte (graduation senior, Minnetonka High School). These students were selected after being evaluated through their performance auditions, a written essay and personal interviews. The Triple Threat Broadway Experience,* fueled by Sun Country Airlines, is an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, where they will attend Broadway shows, meet with industry professionals and participate in workshops to hone their skills.
The two students awarded with the 2020-2021 Technical Theater Career Pathway are graduating seniors Dominic Brandburn (Minnetonka High School) and Veronica Kostka (DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis). This award recognizes graduating senior students who demonstrate an expertise in carpentry, wardrobe, electrics, audio, lighting and management. Through their organization, innovation and collaboration in the rehearsal process of Spotlight Showcase, they have won the Technical Theater Career Pathway, an all-expenses paid trip to New York*, where students observe, meet and train alongside top technical theater professionals.
On June 4, Hennepin Theatre Trust announced that Halle Audette (Totino-Grace High School, Fridley) and Zachary Sullivan (Minnetonka High School) will represent Minnesota at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (The Jimmy Awards®) – a national celebration of outstanding achievement recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance.
Spotlight Education is an essential part of arts education in many Minnesota schools. Annually, the program helps nearly 8,000 students in more than 100 high schools build confidence, critical thinking, empathy, sense of community and knowledge of theater. The program supplements and enhances arts curricula through masterclasses, theater review writing and production assessments increasing equitable access to quality theater education through five key components:
Spotlight schools enhance their own theater curriculum through masterclasses and workshops. Students gain insights and inspiration from local and touring theater professionals covering topics such as audition techniques, theater resume building and technical skills.
Spotlight teaching artists facilitate community conversations for directors and students on a variety of topics in a safe, inclusive space to discuss and share experiences leading to future programming, resources and conversations. The conversations also explore issues they face in their local communities.
This program gives high school students the opportunity to attend and review Broadway productions. A writing program, Critical Review enhances critical thinking and creative response skills. Students receive press kits for each show and attend workshops led by experts in the field on topics ranging from lighting design to choreography.
Spotlight arranges for trained theater professionals and educators to assess participating schools’ theater productions. The production assessment is an educational tool to encourage, inspire and enhance Spotlight schools’ theater programs and strengthen the skills of student artists — onstage and offstage.
Spotlight Showcase event
Spotlight Showcase is a professionally produced celebratory event highlighting the hard work and talent of students, educators, families, and supporters who are part of the vibrant high school theater community across Minnesota. In addition to the show-stopping performances, Spotlight Showcase features honors, nominations, awards, and guest appearances by alumni, donors, and sponsors. It’s the culmination of year-long evaluation, a rigorous rehearsal process, and collaboration with professional theater makers.
Spotlight Education is made possible with support from PNC Bank, Sun Country Airlines, Hilton and United Properties.
*Travel will take place in 2022 or 2023 due to COVID-19
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Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.