Local theater is a labor of love. It requires hard work and long hours, usually on top of commitments like holding down a job and taking care of family. It can be grueling, but passion is what drives many in the community to sacrifice their time and energy to create great art right in the heart of Fayetteville. In order to give these dedicated and talented people the recognition and appreciation they deserve, the Gilbert Theater hosts the Pryer awards. The awards are inspired by Lynn Pryer, the founder of the Gilbert Theater and all of the work that he did in support of the local artistic community.
This year will be the fifth annual Pryer award celebration. Robyne Parrish the artistic director and co-education director for Gilbert Theater said, “We wanted to honor the actors and designers that give of their time and talents for very little pay. It is a time that the entire Gilbert community and the arts community at large can come together to celebrate and inspire one another.”
This year the Pryer Awards celebration is on July 1 at 6 p.m. Tickets cast $40 per person. This fee will go to further supporting the Gilbert Theater. Parrish says the celebration will feature,”… door prizes, a full bar with beer, wine and alcohol plus soda and tea as well as an awesome silent auction and delicious food and desserts, entertainment and, of course, the awards ceremony. This year, we will be honoring Lynn Pryer with the lifetime achievement award.” Reservations or pre-purchasing a ticket is encouraged, there is expected to be 120 attendees.
The Glee Club and the cast of Young Frankenstein, which was the season musical, will provide entertainment. The silent auction is another highlight of the night. Guests can compete to win a number of incredible prizes. Parrish noted that “Anything and everything!” is available. She mentioned that some of the items up for auction include, “Art and sculpture, food and drink, evenings out on the town, theater tickets and spa treatments.”
The Pryer Awards is a community-oriented event. This is truly an opportunity for the community to give feedback on the performances that they saw throughout the year. According to Parrish, “Throughout the year, the audience votes for their favorite artists from each production. Nominees are chosen and in the end, votes are tallied and one artist gets the award.”
This year the Gilbert continues a relatively new addition to the awards given. Last year was the very first iteration of the Lifetime Achievement Award. “It is a wonderful way to honor someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep the arts alive in our community and beyond,” Parrish said. This award is particularly special with the growing amount of pressure on the arts community. It is often the first community to suffer budget cuts; though the value of the arts is priceless. Supporting these awards through attending, voting and participating in the silent auction supports not only the Gilbert Theater but the Fayetteville artistic community as a whole.
For more information or to purchase a ticket visit www.gilberttheater.com.