ACBA helps Theatre Charleston make awards memorable

  • Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Theatre Charleston and the American College of the Building Arts have partnered to create awards statuette.

With the desire to create a truly unique “Theatre Charleston Award,” the Theatre Charleston Awards Review Committee sought out local artisans in architecture, masonry, plastering and ironwork in spring 2013. The search quickly led to the American College of the Building Arts, which just as quickly became Theatre Charleston’s newest partner organization.

Beginning last spring, a sequence of meetings with Simeon Warren, Dean Emeritus and professor of Trowel Trades at ACBA, were held to discuss images and ideas for how the final Theatre Charleston Awards statuette would look. With endless options, and a committee comprised of artistic-minded people, settling on one design was quite a task. From an actor sitting in a chair, to a sphere etched with theatrical quotes, to a column with etched sound waves — the panel considered a wide variety of options. It wasn’t until Warren brought in a simple spiraled piece of forged ironwork draped with a swatch of black fabric that one design began to ring true for everyone. A vision of the iconic Grand Drape, which is commonly known for simultaneously dividing and embracing the players on a stage and their audience, began to take shape as the Theatre Charleston Awards statuette.

Over the next several months, Warren worked tirelessly to sculpt and shape this idea of spiraling curtains into something truly extraordinary. Each individual award was hand cast and painted. To add to the uniqueness and historical significance of the statuette, Richard Heffner, one of Charleston’s most prolific theatrical designers, carved the circular base of each award from a plank of wood pulled directly from one of Charleston’s historic theatre venues. Together, Richard, Simeon, and the students at the ACBA worked (up until the last hour) to produce 20 one-of-a kind statuettes to present to the Theatre Charleston Award winners. The final award design celebrates the past, present and future of Charleston’s rich theatre community, standing on a foundation of our history and bestowing honor to the present and future of our local theatrical practitioners.

The awards were presented Sunday, Aug. 25 at the first-ever Theatre Charleston Awards Gala. Dressed in their finest, nearly 250 actors, designers, producers and patrons walked the red carpet in honor of Charleston’s incredible theatre community. A standing ovation was given to Simeon Warren and the American College of the Building Arts for their incredible work on our newly iconic Theatre Charleston Award. Even before the night was over, the statuettes were already being affectionately described as “the curtains.” For a complete list of who took home the 2013 Theatre Charleston “curtains,” visit www.theatrecharleston.com/awards.

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