GAC Theater Director Kristy Winkes won a Shuler Award for Best Direction at the 2019 Shuler Hensley Awards. This award underscores Ms. Winkes’ incredible skill in directing GAC’s tour de force performance of Les Miserables. The 70-person cast included students from K-12, making it the largest to date.
The Shuler Awards recognize the most elite performers and programs in Georgia and are named in honor of actor/singer and Georgia native, Shuler Hensley, winner of the prestigious Tony Award. Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, these Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate excellence in high school musical theater. The Shulers are a part of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards – The Jimmy Awards®.
Among Ms. Winkes’ many gifts is the exceptional talent for drawing the best out of her students. And in the time she has been director, she has masterfully grown a program that already had a rich tradition of excellence in theatre production. Ms. Winkes’ students treasure their time under her tutelage and many leave GAC prepared to pursue advanced training in theater, including GAC alumna and three-time Shuler Award winner Parker Jennings who is now at the Boston Conservatory and is on a path to Broadway.
This is the fourth year in a row that GAC has won a Shuler Award. This year’s win is one of eight nominations GAC received, which is a record number for the school. These well-deserved recognitions come on the heels of a successful season of accolades. For the season-opening One-Act Competition, the troupe won four different awards for their performances in “The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank”. As judges offered feedback, one judge commented that their performance was “one of the most artistic shows she had ever seen with such a compelling message”.
Ms. Winkes had this to say about her award: “Receiving this award is very humbling and very exciting because there are so many awesome directors in the state of Georgia. I am so thankful to God from whom all blessings flow. This is truly a blessing to not just me, but the whole team of people who had a part in this production. We did it together--I had a vision; together we made it happen. We all believed in the purpose of the story of Les Mis--that hope, love, and freedom will always rise above darkness. And we all believed in the talents God gave us. I am so thankful.”