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Golden opportunity: Theatre program wins ‘Handtruck Award’ again

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay theatre students once again excelled at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival (KC ACTF) Region III, Jan. 12. The University’s production of “Play Nice,” brought home the coveted “Golden Handtruck Award.” The award 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 from truck to stage set up and one hour for tear down and have the truck loaded.

Theatre Chair Jeff Entwistle said judges and professionals in the venues were very complimentary. “This was more like working with a professional crew instead of a student crew,” said Schrott Center production manager, Dennis Long. “We would love to have you come back to our theatre again.”

Entwistle said the UW-Green Bay crew was prepped to handle the entire load-in and would only ask questions of house crew members if they needed access to spaces and equipment that are unique to each theatre. Entwistle said a union member who was working on call mentioned, “I have never done so little work on a call.”

Since about 1979, when this tradition began, only two other programs have come close to UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance on the award for complete production team expertise. The Handtruck Award has been given out in Region III for about 36 of the nearly 50 years of the KC ACTF’s existence. UW-Green Bay has had 10 shows selected for the festival between 1991 and 2017, and has brought the Golden Handtruck home seven times.

UW-Green Bay had a number of individual honors, as well. Student Laker Anne Thrasher was one of 12 finalists in the Musical Theatre Incorporated (MTI) musical theatre auditions and was one of 20 finalists in the MTI dance auditions. Five UWGB students made it to the semifinal round of the musical theatre auditions. Five UW-Green Bay students participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition. Student Cody Von Ruden was a finalist in the costume design category for his Death of a Salesman design project.KCACT participant Emily Ahrens was the host of UWGB Instagram and posted a photo, https://www.instagram.com/p/BPRXx-BgEIL/