Trustus Theatre Staff Members Awarded With Two Prestigious SC Theatre Association Awards

Trustus Theatre’s Artistic Director and Education Director recognized for outstanding contributions to South Carolina Theatre

COLUMBIAS, S.C.—Trustus Theatre is proud to announce that Artistic Director Chad Henderson and Company Member Martha Hearn Kelly have been honored by the South Carolina Theatre Association with two prestigious awards. Henderson was awarded The Founders Award, and Kelly was awarded the Debora Hoffman Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award. The South Carolina Theatre Association will host its annual awards celebration on May 18 at 7pm in Greenville, South Carolina at the Birch Room in the Residence Inn/Spring Hill Suites.

Trustus Theatre is honored that its Artistic Director, Chad Henderson, has been awarded the 2018 Founders Award. Per the South Carolina Theatre Association, the SCTA Founders Award is the most prestigious honor the South Carolina Theatre Association can bestow. It is given to recognize the individual or organization that has made the most significant contribution to theatre in South Carolina during the year most recently completed. This year’s award is for contributions made between July 2017 and June 2018.

In the past year as the Artistic Director of Trustus Theatre, Henderson has celebrated original works by South Carolina theatre artists and implemented healthy cultural change at Trustus Theatre that will positively affect the theatre artists that work at the theatre. Last year, Henderson programmed three main stage productions that were written by South Carolina artists. With The Restoration’s Constance, Henderson co-wrote and directed an original musical derived from the music and stories of South Carolina folk-chamber band, The Restoration. This full-length musical was a multi-generational cautionary tale, set in Lexington, South Carolina. Henderson also programmed the premiere of Jon Tuttle’s Boy About Ten. Henderson worked with Trustus Theatre’s resident sketch and improve troupe, The Mothers, to program and produce A Christmas Miracle at the Richland Fashion Mall—an original holiday comedy set in modern Columbia, South Carolina. He worked with Trustus Company Member Christine Hellman to implement the Chicago Theatre Standards and the Pillars of Intimacy at Trustus Theatre. The Chicago Theatre Standards provide procedures to create safe, comfortable, and respectful spaces for artists and audiences during rehearsals and performance. The Pillars of Intimacy instill procedures for defining, safely executing, and maintaining moments of intimacy or violence in rehearsals and performances. In concert with creating safe spaces, Henderson has made Trustus Theatre the first theatre in Columbia to post signs outside of restrooms that welcome gender diversity. Henderson’s dedication to uplifting the voices of South Carolina theatre artists and to creating safe spaces for dangerous work have made him a deserving candidate for the SCTA Founders Award.

“Chad Henderson is a leader and a true ally in our community,” said Trustus Company Member Christine Hellman. “He is constantly striving for artistic growth, safety, and compassion in the theatre. He truly opened the door and lead the way for this growth and change in October of 2018. Together, Chad and I have implemented The Chicago Theatre Standards and the Pillars of Intimacy at Trustus Theatre.”

Trustus Theatre Company Member and Trustus Theatre Education Coordinator Martha Hearn Kelly was also nominated for a South Carolina Theatre Association Award and was awarded with the Debora Smith Hoffman Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award. Per the South Carolina Theatre Association, the South Carolina Theatre Association Debora Smith Hoffman Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award is given to that K-12 theatre educator judged to have contributed the most to rising, new, and even experienced theatre educators in South Carolina during the year most recently concluded.

“Being recognized as a support for other teachers is a great honor to me,” Kelly said. “Teachers are the backbone of our community, and arts teachers serve students on more than an academic level. Theatre teachers help students find their voice and share it with the world. I can only hope that my work plays a part in helping my fellow educators lift up people of all ages to change the world through telling their stories.”

At Trustus Theatre, Kelly works with the Trustus Apprentice Company to begin setting their foundation for life in the theatre. She is also a part of the Ridge View High School Theatre Department in Columbia, South Carolina.

“Martha is an incredibly inventive educator and mentor, and we’re so proud that she’s been awarded the 2019 Deborah Smith Hoffman Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award,” Henderson said. “Her work with our high-school aged Trustus Apprentice Company is incredibly inspiring, as she brings theatre professionals from around the state to stage workshops with these gifted and passionate students while also finding opportunities for these students to collaborate on Trustus shows. With her students at Ridge View High School, she empowers her students to reach new heights of creativity by encouraging them to build their work from the ground up—ushering their original works through to a production.”


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