GREEN BAY — University of Wisconsin-Green Bay theatre students brought home a Golden Handtruck Award earlier this month from the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) Region III gathering in Saginaw, Mich.
The University’s production of “The Balkan Women” won the coveted Golden Handtruck Award, which recognizes the best technical work and most professionalism in getting production materials — set, lighting, sound system, costumes and props — ready for the performance and then taken down afterward. The production must adhere to strict time limits — four hours to set up and one hour for tear down.
It’s the fourth consecutive time UW-Green Bay has won the award in the five years the University has been a participant at the festival.
“It’s a wonderful honor,” said Prof. Mike Ingraham, the technical director for the play. “I’m particularly proud of the students in the program. This shows the ability of our students to rise to the occasion, to accept responsibility and authority in their areas and to show good teamwork, cooperation, communication and concerns for safety.
“The whole idea of the contest is to bring your production and show it and present it in the best light. It reflects on our program. The better we can do the technical elements, the better the show is. Winning was definitely a group effort.”
Ingraham had the entire cast and crew practice the set up and tear down procedures — unloading and reloading sets, lights and sound equipment from trucks — three times before traveling to Michigan. He credited the training students got both from those practices and from their work with theatre resources in the community, including professionals at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts and Lighthouse Productions of Green Bay, where several UW-Green Bay alumni work.
“The reasons I think we won were our organization, our experience in doing it and the resources in the community we can draw on,” Ingraham said. “We have several alumni who help out our students. They have a heavy level of expertise and resources that we can tap into.”
The gold-painted award will once again be displayed prominently on campus. UW-Green Bay won the Golden Handtruck in 2002 for “Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls”; in 2004 for “The Christmas Schooner”; and in 2006 for “Red Herring.”
UW-Green Bay was one of eight schools invited to the regional contest, which had more than 40 entries from a five-state area.
Two UW-Green Bay student crewmembers received individual honors at the festival.
“Balkan Women” assistant director Matt Fayfer, a senior from Appleton, won best director for the 10-minute Play Festival Contest. He worked with and directed student actors from other universities in a short “on-the-spot-like” production, Ingraham said.
April Smet, a senior from Fond du Lac, was a finalist in the lighting design competition. Smet was the lighting director for “The Balkan Women.”