High school musical theater competition is the first in the nation to add a gender-neutral acting category

The ArtsBridge Foundation’s Schuler Awards will include the nation’s first-ever gender-neutral category.

The Schuler Awards are a statewide high school musical theater awards program designed to increase awareness, advocacy and support of Georgia’s arts education programs, to develop and foster the growth of talent by providing learning and performance opportunities, and to cultivate and nurture productive relationships among promising Georgia talent. actors and educators.

Starting this year, the awards will include a gender-neutral performance category, combining the previous actress and supporting actor categories into a supporting performer category. The Schuler Awards are the first national program of its kind to institute such a change.

“This category will recognize and celebrate students of any gender who have played supporting roles in their school’s production,” said Angela Farr Schiller, director of arts education for the ArtsBridge Foundation, “and the two most successful students rated will be jointly recognized as this year’s recipients for the Supporting Performer Award, a shift to better serve Georgia high school musical theater students who identify with all genres.

This year’s Schuler Awards will take place April 21 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. Red carpet arrivals and live musical performances will be broadcast live statewide via Georgia Public Broadcasting.

High school students and theater departments will be judged in 17 categories and finalists will be announced in March. Categories include direction, music direction, orchestra, lighting/stage design, sound, lighting, technical execution, showstopper, choreography, ensemble, overall production, costumes and Best Performances by a Leading Actress and Actor, Supporting Performers, and a Featured Performer. In 2021, the competition added a Spotlight Show-Must-Go-On prize.

The main actresses and actors winners will travel to New York as Georgian nominees for the National High School Musical Theater Awards program and attend the awards ceremony at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway on June 27.

This year, 50 public and private high schools will take part. Fulton County leads in enrollment with 10 competing schools, followed by Gwinnett with seven and Cobb with six. Participating schools cover 18 Georgia counties.

“While just over half of the Shuler Awards competitors come from high schools in the Atlanta metro area, it is exciting to see participating schools span our state, from Brunswick on the southeast coast to Calhoun in the mountains of northwest Georgia,” said Farr Schiller. “While many aspects of the Shuler Awards uphold longstanding traditions, updates to the format also allow participating schools, our volunteer referees and the ArtsBridge Foundation team to work smarter, not harder, with a fun and fair competition for all.”