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Juneau's Theatre in the Rough has been recognized as one of Alaska's outstanding arts organizations in the 2002 Governor's Awards for the Arts and Humanities.
The annual awards acknowledge the contribution of arts scholars, artists and arts organizations to the people of Alaska. In recent years the awards have been extended to the humanities as well. Six arts awards and three humanities awards are given.
Theatre in the Rough was founded in Juneau in 1990 by Aaron Elmore and Katie Jensen. During the past 12 years the two co-artistic directors have produced about 30 plays, most of them works by Shakespeare. The plays have involved dozens of Juneau actors and theater technicians.
When the call came last week Jensen thought it was a prank and said she scolded the representative from the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She later sent flowers, joking that she was afraid they'd take back the award.
"We're just floored," she said. "It's for Theatre in the Rough, but really it's for everyone who's touched Theatre in the Rough, not just Aaron and I."
Jensen and Elmore have directed, acted, designed and built costumes and sets and been involved in virtually every aspect of stagecraft. They have been active in Perseverance Theatre productions as well. The couple is producing Shakespeare's "King Lear," opening later this month at McPhetres Hall.
Elmore said the award feels like a harbinger of good things to come.
"It's a recognition of work well done, and we'll try to keep turning it out," he said.
The award winners will be honored at a celebration and dinner Oct. 25 at the Fourth Avenue Theater in Anchorage.
"That's the opening night for our first show of the season," Jensen said. "We rescheduled so we can go. We'll have a preview on Thursday, then not have a show on Friday, then open Saturday."
The honorees are selected by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alaska Humanities Forum. The other recipients of the 2002 Governor's Arts Awards are:
Julie Decker of Anchorage won the Arts Advocacy Award.
Myrna Clark of Anchorage won the Arts Education Award.
Alaska Communications System won the Business Award.
Fanny Akpik of Barrow won the Margaret Nick Cooke Award for Native Arts and Languages.
Bill Stevens of Fairbanks won the Native Artist Award.
Alex Combs of Halibut Cove won the Individual Award.
Recipients of the Governor's Humanities Awards were:
Walter Benesch of Fairbanks and Sidney Huntington of Galena were named Distinguished Humanities Scholars.
Paul and Martina John and family of Nelson Island and Marie Meade of Anchorage were named Distinguished Humanities Educators.
John Bagoy and James Parson of Anchorage and the Rev. Louis Renner, formerly of Fairbanks, were named Friends of the Humanities.