KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Theatre is launching an awards show to celebrate East Tennessee students’ achievements in musical theatre. The winners will also be able to attend the national awards in New York City.

The newly-created ‘Marquee Awards’ will be held on May 11, 2024, at the Tennessee Theatre. The event is dedicated to supporting the talents, education and opportunities of students to create a strong theatre community. Area high schools will also be able to participate in the event for free.

“We’re thrilled to announce the formation of The Marquee Awards,” said Becky Hancock, executive director of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation. “It gives our community the chance to recognize the talented young students in East Tennessee, as well as promote theatre arts education in schools.”

The program will be open to any school within a two-hour driving distance from the Tennessee Theatre. Awards will include Best Overall Musical, Best Lead Actress, and Best Lead Actor. Students can also be nominated for a variety of categories recognizing their work in performing, backstage work, set design and costume design.

The best actress and best actor winners will also be given the chance to attend the Jimmy Awards, a national celebration of student achievement in high school musical theatre. Students cannot audition directly for the awards and instead must win their regional awards program.

“The Marquee Awards will allow the Tennessee Theatre to elevate cultural arts in our area and ensure that students have early access to the educational tools they need in the community to be successful on a musical stage,” Hancock said. “Part of our mission includes education and outreach, and we believe in the power of the theatre to spark curiosity and creativity and open cultural doors to everyone.”

The program will be made up of three parts:

  • Adjudication

A panel of judges will watch each school’s musical and provide feedback on the performance. The judges include educators (not high school level), theatre professionals, board members, and community members with a knowledge of and interest in musical theatre. Each judge will use a consistent rubric to evaluate shows and offer feedback to schools.

  • Nomination

Schools and individuals receive awards honoring their achievements in performance, technical and creative categories, at an Awards Ceremony held at the Tennessee Theatre. The judges will make the nomination based on each school’s performance. Some of the nominees will also be able to perform during the Awards Ceremony.

  • Educational Opportunities

Before attending the Awards Ceremony, nominees will be invited to a day of workshops and masterclasses led by the University of Tennessee artists and professors. The Tennessee Theatre has partnered with Clarence Brown Theatre to create the day and additional education opportunities as a part of the Marquee Awards.

Additional details will be released in April 2023, and more information can be found at Schools have until August 10, 2023, to enter to be considered for the 2023-2023 awards.