To honor Jane B. Avery, founder of Our Town Theatre, and her love of teaching students, the Our Town Theatre Board of Directors has established the annual Jane B. Avery Keepsakes Award.
Three monetary prizes will be awarded to graduating high school seniors who reside in Garrett County. They do not have to be enrolled in a theatre class. Any graduating senior is eligible to compete, including, but not limited to, those within the school system, home school, private school, etc. Three or more finalists will be chosen. Immediate family members of the Theatre’s board or of award judges are not eligible.
The total yearly award will be:
First place—$1,000 to a graduating senior
The Application Process
Applications, including written scripts, are due by March 1, 2023, and will be reviewed by the award committee, and finalists will be notified no later than April 1, 2023. Three or more finalists will be chosen. Finalists will be asked to perform based on the historical accuracy and writing quality of their script.
If you do not perform, you will be disqualified. Finalists will memorize and present their monologues on stage at Our Town Theatre in front of a paying audience. The Theatre will provide assistance with research, props, costuming, and stage presence to any student who requests it.
Performances will be the weekend of April 21-22, 2023.
The Selection Process
Three Garrett County award winners will be selected on the basis of their performances, by a panel of judges. The award recipients will be informed by May 5, 2023. The deadline for the submission of a monologue is March 1, 2023. For more information or to apply, students should see a guidance counselor, or the drama teacher at Northern or Southern.
Back when Jane Avery was teaching at Southern Garrett High School, she gave her Acting II students an assignment that would serve as their final exam. They were told to research a person, place, or event from the history of Garrett County and perform a monologue either as that person, or a witness to the place or event. She titled the performances, Keepsakes. They were performed at the new building she bought with the hope of creating an intimate community theatre.
The first Keepsakes were held in the new building that at the time didn’t even have a name. Audience members had to bring their own seating—mostly lawn chairs were dragged in—and the performance had to be held during the day, as there were no stage lights. David Peterson’s Meshach Browning arrived on stage in a dumbwaiter that used to run up from the kitchen.
Last year’s awards were presented to Lillian Argabrite, Kaden Darkstar, and Kelli Catulle.