Published on May 2, 2022 by Ashley Smith  

Samford’s Department of Theatre and Dance had another incredible year.  Students created and performed in six mainstage productions along with participating in outreach, Underground productions, the Ten Minute Play Festival, the One Act Play Festival and senior projects. Harrison Theatre reopened with new seats, accessibility enhancements and other important updates.

To celebrate the year, students and faculty gathered on Saturday, April 23 for the Annual Bonie Awards.  The Bonies event was named by retired faculty member Barbara Sloan, combining Tony Awards with the “bone” held by Samford’s mascot Spike the dog. Sloan recently provided funding for a new endowed scholarship for a theatre student excelling in costume design and production.

According to Chair of the Department of Theatre of Dance Mark Castle, “It was wonderful to be able to meet again in person as a whole theatre community for the first time in two years, and to do that in a beautiful newly renovated theatre made it extra special!”

Congratulations to these individuals for receiving the following faculty designated awards: Best Freshmen, Anna Scott McClintock and Lucy Blalock; Best Sophomore, Goldie Hatch and Katelyn Ortiz; Best Playwright, Braydie Aldrich; Eric Olson Technical Theatre Award, Tollie Boone and Alex Felts; Julie Averett Philips Spirit of Dance Award, Lenox Jones; Trailblazer Award, Abigail Williams and Baleigh Nelson; Gail Patrick Directing Award, Anna Stevens; Toni Sparks (Spirit of Theatre) Award (junior), Amy Ethington; Jesse Bates Award, Audrey Myers; Barbara Sloan Costume Design & Technology Award, McKenna Varner; Outstanding Theatre Major, Lilly Burchfield and Lana Stringer; and Outstanding Alumnus, Anna Beth Riggs.

In addition to faculty awards, students vote for their peers. This year’s awards went to: Best Leading Actress in a Musical/Opera, Christina Ledbetter and Ava Williams as Ghost of Christmas Past (A Christmas Carol); Best Leading Actress in a Play, Charlotte Godat as Mole (The Wind in the Willows); Best Leading Actor in a Musical/Opera: Rachel Bass and Garrett Coppock as Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol); Best Leading Actor in a Play, Braydie Aldrich as Toad (The Wind in the Willows); Best Supporting Actress in a Musical/Opera: Goldie Hatch as Jonathan (A Christmas Carol);Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Claire Hammer as Badger (The Wind in the Willows); Best Supporting Actor in a Musical/Opera: Grayson Johns as Jacob Marley, (A Christmas Carol); Best Supporting Actor in a Play: Benjamin Harding as Rat (The Wind in the Willows); Best Featured Dancer, Abigail Williams; Best Ensemble, The Laramie Project; Best Makeup and Hair for a Mainstage: Stephanie Leary (The Magic Flute); Best Costume Design for a Mainstage: McKenna Varner (The Magic Flute); Best Lighting Design for a Mainstage, Tollie Boone (The Magic Flute); Best Lighting Design for an Underground: Alex Felts/Jackson Wood (The Drowning Girls); Outstanding Stage Management for a Mainstage, Tessa Hall (A Christmas Carol); Outstanding Stage Management for an Underground: Olivia Sundberg (The Drowning Girls); Best Scenic Design for a Mainstage: Carson Blalock (The Laramie Project).

Additional Underground Bonies went to Best Leading Actress in an Underground: Alexis Wentworth as Bessie (The Drowning Girls); Best Leading Actor in an Underground: Hart Madison as Adam (Mad Ones); Best Supporting Actress in an Underground: Mallory McKinney as Beverly (Mad Ones); Best Scenic Design for an Underground: Anna Stevens (The Drowning Girls); Best Costume Design for an Underground: Rachel Bass (Spooky Dog); Best Hair and Makeup Design for an Underground: Abigail Williams (Spooky Dog).

Thanks to our sponsors Mike and Mary Anne Freeman and Emma Taylor for their support of this wonderful season. Looking ahead, the Costume Shop will undergo a renovation this summer thanks to Emma Taylor.  Students will take part in the world’s largest arts festival, The Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland this August and the production line-up for next year includes Orphie and the Book of Heroes, Mr. Burns, The Birds, Amahl and the Night Visitors, a dance concert and Urinetown the musical.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.