The nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts announce changes for the 2020-21 Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards program including a hiatus for in-person events and its Spotlight Awards ceremony.
Due to uncertainty in how Middle Tennessee high schools will adjust to an extended coronavirus pandemic and out of concern for the safety of students and teachers, the program will not include elements related to school performances, sending adjudicators into schools or additional in-person experiences for large groups.
“While I am saddened that our organizations cannot carry on this year in the ways we have grown accustomed to, I am heartened by TPAC’s continued creative commitment to area high schools and their theatre programs,” says Mike Fernandez, Dean of Lipscomb University’s College of Entertainment & the Arts. ”The Lipscomb and TPAC partnership remains strong, and though we are taking a break from certain aspects of the Spotlight Awards, we will continue to look at ways to make it stronger for the future, including a new initiative to strengthen policies on equity, diversity and inclusion.”
Fernandez founded the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards in 2013 to recognize excellence in local high school theatre. Remaining focused on these goals, Lipscomb and TPAC will pursue free, virtual opportunities to celebrate student achievement and support the development of student talent through the program.
“With school closings and canceled performances last year, we had to get creative quickly to showcase our talented high school students online and recognize their hard work with a virtual ceremony,” says Jennifer Turner, TPAC President and CEO. “Until it’s clear we can come together safely, our focus is to ensure the program can provide as many connection and training opportunities as possible.”
The 20-21 program will focus on the following:
- Audition Video Submission and Scholarships – In March 2021, theatre students in Grades 11‐12 will be invited to submit audition videos for adjudication. Two winners will be selected from the submission to receive $1,000 scholarships.
- Virtual Classroom Workshops – Participating schools will be able to schedule a free, synchronous learning opportunity with a guest teacher on the topic of their choice, including Playwrighting, Creating Characters, Broadway Trivia, and more.
- Webinar Series – Starting in January 2021, Lipscomb and TPAC will present a series of virtual workshops and webinars for the Spotlight Awards community.
- Monthly Contests on Instagram – The Spotlight Awards Instagram account (@SpotlightAwards) will serve as the main online hub for keeping the student community engaged with your community with contests and other exciting content.
Lipscomb’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts is the fastest-growing colleges in the university, with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. The mission of the college is to be a Christ-centered, innovative, entrepreneurial arts community committed to rigorous artistic training, creative collaboration and professional growth that seeks to train the next generation of believer artists who seek to uplift, challenge and entertain. For more information, visit cea.lipscomb.edu.
Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.