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Clarence Brown Theatre Staff Honored with Teamwork Award

Staff in the College of Arts and Sciences are critical to our ability to achieve success in our departments and across the college. On behalf of the college, Dean Theresa Lee is pleased to honor staff with awards for academic, financial, and technical support, as well as for teamwork.

The award for teamwork went to Susan McMillan and the production staff for the Clarence Brown Theatre, which includes Patrick Lanczki, Liz Aaron, Phyllis Belanger, Melissa Caldwell-Weddig, Jillie Eves, Christy Fogarty, Jason Fogarty, Sarah Gaboda, Travis Gaboda, George Hairston, Kyle Hooks, Jon Mohrman, Mike Ponder, Kyle Schellinger, Amber Williams, and Jerry Winkle.

McMillian is in her eighth year as the production manager for the Clarence Brown Theatre. She has a background in both professional and academic theatre work, so joining UT was a natural fit.

“I love working in a setting that combines both academic and professional theatre,” she said. “The CBT’s mission is about this exact thing – the best way to train new theatre artists is to have them work side-by-side with professionals.”

The pandemic hit the theatre world hard. Many closed and several theatres are still struggling to reopen or stay open. McMillian credits her team for their work from day one.

“Without hesitation, we pivoted to do what was needed for our students, the department, and UT,” McMillian said. “Masks were made. Theaters were offered for larger classes for social distancing. The team jumped in to learn new skills in order to produce virtually instead of in person so that students could continue to have acting and tech opportunities.”

The challenges, however, did not end when the theatre reopened for live performances. As noted by their nominator: “Our production team, to an individual, has been bound and determined to bring back the art with the new normal looming, daily, safely, and sustainably. In spite of the monumental task in front of them, building three shows almost simultaneously, while keeping the safety protocols in place to prevent super-spreader events, they’ve done so tirelessly, willingly, happily, and professionally.”

It took collaboration, extra time and efforts, and a willingness on all parts to produce live theatre again, which is one of the many reasons this year’s recipient of the teamwork award is the CBT production staff.

“We are so very appreciative of our leadership team for recognizing the continued dedication and hard work of our team and for nominating us,” McMillian said. “And we are so very appreciative to the College of Arts and Sciences for recognizing us and honoring us with this award!”

Dean Lee will honor the recipients of the 2022 College of Arts and Sciences staff awards during the Spring Fling event Tuesday, April 26 at 4 p.m.