The original online student-created theater piece, “The Monument,” at Northern Vermont University–Johnson, took home a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award in the national awards ceremony earlier this year.
This marks the second time that this piece, created by students in the college’s performance, arts and technology program, has been recognized by the Kennedy Center — first when it was selected for presentation at the Region 1 American College Theater Festival held virtually in late January, and now as an award winner at the national level.
“This award means that the innovative work we’re doing is tapping into something important nationally, as not only were we chosen to present our show regionally, but we were recognized nationally,” said Isaac Eddy, assistant professor and chair of performing arts.
“The Monument” was also recognized with two special achievements — in virtual community engagement and audience development and in sound design.
Kennedy Center Region 1 includes all New England and New York.
Eddy said the college’s entry stood out because it was presented live. “To be able to have an interactive live experience had a lot of impact in the festival.”
The play is set in a fictional Vermont town and is based in real suffrage history with a staged Zoom selectboard meeting. “Think of ‘The Monument’ as ‘Our Town’ set in 2020: less swooning about memories of mom’s breakfast and a lot more arguing,” Eddy said.
Said student Addie White: “My one takeaway is that theater is adaptable and ever changing, and that it’s our job as artists to adapt and change with it.”