A Tribute to Kevin Riley 

For Life is but a trick of light, dancing in the universe.

Kevin Riley“This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near to make a man look sad.”

– Wm Shakespeare, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream

If you attended the recent production of “Kiss Me Kate” in Nashua, you undoubtedly saw the familiar face of Kevin Riley at the concession table, selling snacks and chatting with the many people he knew. You would have exchanged small talk about the local theater arts community and maybe asked him something like, “Aren’t you usually working a show for Nashua Theater Guild? What are you doing here?” Kevin would have shrugged and uttered some non-descript reply like, “I was happy to help out.” Maybe a silly question to ask, because seeing Kevin involved in a show, any show, was a routine and comfortably familiar occurrence.

“Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

It’s no secret at all that Kevin Riley carried the Nashua Theatre Guild on his back for the last few years. I’m told that some time ago, when this company, perhaps the state’s oldest continuously operating community theater company had but twenty dollars in the bank, Kevin paid the theater rental out of his own pocket. In this dicey business, there would be doubt that he might be reimbursed. I’m sure that this thought might have crossed his mind as he carefully placed his signature on the check and then slid it into city’s coffers. The show must go on.

“And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

- Wm Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii

There’s no family like a group of actors. They are bolted together by the precarious notion of theater. A strange idea, when you think about it: Standing on a stage and reciting centuries old lines heard tens of thousands of times. Yet, still hopefully to an audience that for a portion, these words are new.  Somehow, the language transcends time and makes you part of its history. You’ve played the role. You’ve sung those songs. You have woven a little art today and someone’s memory of that great literature was shaped by your work. It’s no wonder that the quickly formed friendships endure long after the show is over. The play itself is fleeting, and once the set is struck, only memories, photos and the shared bond of a cast and crew remains. There’s nothing quite like it. Kevin Riley brought Shakespeare to Greely Park in Nashua on many a warm summer’s day. The sweat laid cold when the day was done but nothing felt quite as satisfying.  It’s good to know that there’s something enduring in the hearts of friends who played the same play.

“Love Him as much as they want, no one really wants a painting of Jesus in the living room. You’re having a few people over, having a few drinks, and there’s Jesus over the sofa. Somehow it doesn’t work.” - Sagot, Picasso at the Lapine Agile.

Kevin was a director. Not an actor very often. When I had the opportunity to direct the modern classic, Picasso at the Lapine Agile, Kevin was an obvious choice to play the art dealer, Sagot. When I asked him, an honest glow emerged, and then was swiped away by actor uncertainty. “You sure you want me?”  There’s nothing more heartfelt than the blessings of another artist and it might happen very rarely from someone you respect. My reply was “of course, you idiot.” And, so the role was cast and those who saw it will remember Kevin, resplendent in black, being just who you would imagine saying these lines as he did, as they were meant to be said. And then, as is the way, the show was over.

“You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm.” - Frank Hauser, Notes on Directing: 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director's Chair

Being a director is a daunting task.  You must have a vision. You must see the play as both the actor and the audience. Unlike those lucky professionals, the community theater director rarely has designers of all ilk to call upon. He may  design his own set, drive a hundred miles for a special prop, and plead someone to help paint. Before all that, he’ll stand and watch auditions, and judge you, and think about you, and finally, ask you to play a part. So many local artists owe their acting careers to Kevin Riley. He cast his net widely, and prodded those who thought they could not, to do their best.

“Love art in yourself, and not yourself in art.”
- Konstantin Stanislavski, My Life In Art

Four times, Kevin won American Association of Community Theater (AACT) awards for directing. In 2005, he received the NH Theatre Award’s “Vision and Tenacity” honor. He was the “go to guy.” He would paint the floor, direct the show, and, as we’ve seen, sell cookies at intermission. I never saw him hang lights. But, if someone asked him to, I know he would have given it his best. Because there was nothing he loved more. And we loved him because of that.

“Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service.”

- Wm Shakespeare, The Tempest

It’s a tribute to the role he played, and both fitting and proper that we do this. His language now lies in molecules in the darkness, its spirit evaporated to misty worlds we only imagine. For life is but a trick of light, furtively dancing in the universe.  Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Posted by Lowell Williams Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:51:00 AM



Award Show Auditions!Auditions!

The NH Theatre Awards will be holding auditions for engaging actors to host the annual Awards Show on January 31st, 2015 at the Stockbridge Theatre in Derry NH

This year's Hosts will be part of the opening musical number and will present some of the night's awards.  We are seeking at least 3 adults and 3 teens (19yrs or younger) to host this year's show.

Ideal hosts should be able to sing in a "rock and roll" style and be able to handle basic choreography.  Candidates with a charismatic personality who are poised and graceful are ideal candidates.  Having an expressive speaking voice is a huge plus. 

Auditions will be held

Corrected audition times!

Audition Format

Auditions are by appointment only.  Please email AwardsShow@NHTheatreAwards.org with your preferred audition date and a theatrical resume.  Headshots are requested, but not required.  Please allow 1-2 days for a response.

The audition will consist of learning 16 bars of a song, performing a scripted and unscripted presentation of awards.  Each audition will be less than 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 9:48:00 PM Categories: Awards Show NH Theatre Award News

Annual Theatre Company Ticket Lottery another success! 

Thank you to the theatre companies who participated in last nights 4th annual Ticket lottery. 
Also thanks to Matt Cahoon and Maureen Beaudoin with the Stockbridge Theatre for the extra efforts to make the lottery happen. 
The lottery selections were in this order:
  1. StageCoach Productions
  2. Amherst PTA/MAP/NTG/M&M/NYMMT/BoB
  3. Majestic Theatre
  4. Windham Actors Guild
  5. Winnipesaukee Playhouse
  6. New London Barn Playhouse
  7. Community Players of Concord NH
  8. Weathervane Theatre
  10. Actorsingers
Tickets Available for purchase Friday December 12th
Starting on Friday, December 12th you can call the Stockbridge Theatre Box Office 603 437-5210 to order tickets - or - visit the Stockbridge Ticket website https://tickets.stockbridgetheatre.com/ 
Posted by Joe Vago Wednesday, December 10, 2014 9:43:00 AM Categories: Awards Show Tickets

Group Ticket Lottery for 13th Annual Awards Night 

Participating NH Theatre Award Theatre Companies looking to purchase tickets at the group rate can choose to join our group ticket lottery system.  Theatre Companies will be able to purchase tickets this way *before* they go on sale to the general public - and get preferred seating!

The Lottery will be held on Tuesday December 9th @ 6:30pm at the Stockbridge Theatre lobby next to the Box Office.  Theatre Company representatives are encouraged to join us for the lottery in person to view the selections and purchase the tickets at that time. 

The Group Rate of $30.00 per ticket, requires a single purchase of 10 or more tickets.

To join please email us at AwardsShow@NHTheatreAwards.org before Monday December 8th with:

  • Theatre Company name
  • Theatre Company Representative name, email address & phone #
  • Will you have a Representative in attendance at the lottery to purchase tickets?

A confirmation email will be sent the evening of Monday December 8th listing all Theatre Companies participating in the ticket lottery.

Cash or checks will only be accepted in person from a representative.  All major credit cards are accepted.  

NOTE: On Friday December 12th the box office will start selling tickets to the general public.

If you are unable to attend or send a representative, Joe Vago a NHTA Committee Member will choose the best seats available for you.  You can make your ticket count, seating preferences and payment method known to him via email at AwardsShow@NHTheatreAwards.org

This years lottery will give last years Theatre Company that chose last, the highest odds of being chosen first, and last years Theatre Company that chose first the lowest odds of being chosen first.

Theatre Companies that choose to join the lottery system, will be given the lowest odds to win in the first year they join the lottery system.

Theatre Companies that stop participating in the lottery system one year and then come back another year will be treated as if they are a new Theatre Company to the lottery process.

Below is last years list of the order that participating Theatre Companies chose their group tickets.  The odds of choosing first will be weighted in reverse order.
1) Actorsingers
2) Community Players of Concord NH
3) Winni Players/Winnipesaukee Playhouse
4) New London Barn Playhouse
6) Majestic Theatre
7) Stagecoach Productions
8) Amherst PTA/MCTP
9) Windham Actors Guild
10) Actors Circle Theatre/Peterborough Players
11) North Country Community Theatre
Posted by Joe Vago Monday, December 01, 2014 5:20:00 PM Categories: Awards Show NH Theatre Award News Tickets

Awards Show Annoucement 

Ticket prices remain unchanged for 2015 show
Saturday, January 31st @ 7pm 2015
at the spacious Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy in Derry NH

New Hampshire Theatre Awards (NHTA) announces ticket sale details for its 13th Annual Awards Show, to be held at The Stockbridge Theater at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH on January 31, 2015 at 7PM.

NHTA Board Member, Joe Vago, returns to tread the boards as Director of this special event. Joining Vago is Joel Mercier, who, for his seventh year, will tickle the ivories and wave the baton as NHTA’s Music Director. “This year's Awards continues the emphasis on our love of theatre—and those who make the magic happen on stages throughout New Hampshire,” states Vago. “Our entire production staff is extremely excited with our fun and faster approach to this year’s Awards Night. We hope everyone will enjoy the improved format!”

In 2012, the NHTAs moved to The Stockbridge Theatre, one of the finest theatrical facilities in the state. NHTA’s audiences are immensely pleased with the venue. Gina Carballo, NHTA President, states, “I'm extremely pleased that NHTA is returning to the Stockbridge for our third year. It is a beautiful theatre! We enjoy our partnership with the Stockbridge team.”

NHTA is also proud to announce, for the fourth year in a row, that ticket prices have not increased. Says Carballo, “Due to strategic planning and diligent fundraising, we are able to keep our ticket prices at their current rate. Our Award show is about providing our membership with a night that celebrates their hard work and excellence in theatre. It's all about them! The theatre companies which participate in the Awards have accomplished a great deal in 2014. It is my deep hope that they attend Awards Night in January and walk away feeling proud to be a part of this community, as well as appreciated for all they do and have done.”

Ticket pricing remains at the familiar four-tiered structure:

  • $50/each for VIP designated seating
  • $36/Individual, discounted pricing at $30/Group for main orchestra
  • $33/Individual, discounted pricing of $27/Group for mid orchestra
  • $20/each for Individual or Group for upper (rear) orchestra
Purchasing Tickets

Beginning Friday, December 12, 2014, tickets to Awards Night will be available for purchase by calling the Stockbridge Theatre Box Office at (603) 437-5210 Monday through Friday from  12:30PM-4PM, or online at https://tickets.stockbridgetheatre.com/

Monday, November 24, 2014 8:32:00 PM Categories: Awards Show Tickets


A MAJOR classification shift and TWO new Awards!!
production categories

NEW for 2015

Award Categories (Professional, Community, Youth) will now be applied to theatre productions instead of theatre companies

No longer will companies that want to participate in multiple categories have to form “sister” companies to enter into different categories, eliminating the need for multiple liaisons with multiple log-ins and passwords..  Eligibility for participating theatre companies will remain the same, and each company will be entitled to enter 2 productions (or 3 if one qualifies as original) in EACH of the production categories.  (click here to view the NEW Production Category definitions and criteria)

Companies will still be responsible for having a primary adjudicator for every production they submit for adjudication.  One liaison can now oversee all productions for their company and all adjudicators within a company can cover assignments for each other. 

Please NOTE: It is the producing company’s responsibility to ensure that its productions meet the eligibility requirements and enter their shows in the correct category.

new requirements for original work

NEW FOR 2015

Original Play/Musical Production Eligibility Requirements have been adjusted to clarify what's eligible.

An Original Drama/Comedy/Musical is eligible for adjudication as an ORIGINAL drama, comedy, or musical if it meets the following criteria:

  • The production must be, in the judgment of the NH Theatre Awards, a legitimate theatrical production
  • Work must be original material -- not translated, adapted, or updated from an existing play, book, movie or other source UNLESS the work shows substantial originality compared with its source not limited to, but including, characters, plot, setting, original score, time period, dialog, etc.  The NH Theatre Awards will have the ultimate decision as to whether the work shows enough originality to qualify.
  • Work must be unavailable through any publishing house
  • Work must never have been produced in New Hampshire
  • If a musical, a majority of the music must be written by the creator(s) or author(s) of the play
  • If a musical, the songs and/or music must serve to propel the story and enhance character development. A sequence of musical numbers loosely connected by introductions, commentary, or vignettes with no concurrent plot does not qualify as an original musical. Musical revues, "revuesicals", concerts with "themes" or improvisational works are not considered to be eligible as an original production.

the "theater hero" award


Every participating theatre company may select their own “Theatre Hero” to be recognized by the NH Theatre community at this year’s Awards Show.  The Hero can be a board member, volunteer, on stage or backstage contributor that helps make your company succeed and may or may not get the recognition he/she deserves. 

This is NOT an adjudicated award, nor is this a “nomination” process.  ALL submissions (maximum 1 per company per year allowed) will be recognized.

Each group can choose the manner in which its theatre hero is selected and the chosen name should be provided to the NHTA’s no later than January 1, 2015. Liaisons should e-mail hero@nhtheatreawards.org with your company’s selection.

"Recognition of Excellence in Playwriting"

NEW FOR 2015

"Recognition of Excellence in Playwriting" will replace The Best Original Playwright Award, which is now defunct.

There will no longer be a “Best Original Playwright” Award adjudicated by company adjudicators.   All productions that meet the eligibility requirements as an Original Production will simply be adjudicated in the same manner as any other non-original production and be eligible in all the same award categories.


The NHTA has established a NEW means of acknowledging exceptional original scripts.  “Recognition of Excellence in Playwriting” will be awarded by the NHTA (not adjudicated by company adjudicators), determined by a committee of 3 NHTA Board members and 2 members-at-large selected at random from volunteers who are willing to read all of the eligible original scripts.  Only original scripts of original productions that are participating in the current year’s NHTA adjudication process will be considered. 

The committee can choose to recognize as few or as many original playwrights as it deems worthy in a given season.  The producing company will be responsible for providing a pdf file of the script and a cd of the music if a musical to the NH Theatre Awards prior to opening night of the production to be eligible..

Clarifications and Changes
  • The definition of an "adjudicable" (eligible) performance now states:

The production must have a minimum of three (3) scheduled, authorized, open admission performances, all in the same venue within New Hampshire.  Rehearsals and performances that are "private", "restricted admission", or "invitation only" are not eligible for adjudication.

  • Adjudicators will no longer be able to “Opt Out” of adjudicating Youth productions

As the system will now be production based and not company based with all production categories allowed under the same theatre organization, we are no longer allowing the youth adjudication “opt out”.  If you plan to adjudicate this year please be aware that the responsibility comes with possibly adjudicating youth productions.



Wednesday, October 01, 2014 10:41:00 AM Categories: Adjudication Website NH Theatre Award News Policy & Procedure Training

NHTA Announces Creative Team for 13th Annual Awards Show 

Joe Vago and Joel Mercier to Direct Annual Event
            Joe Vago

The New Hampshire Theatre Awards (NHTA) Board of Directors proudly announce that Joe Vago will lead the creative team as Director for the 13th Annual New Hampshire Theatre Awards Show. Vago, a former NHTA Executive Director, has also served NHTA in myriad capacities for several multi-year terms. He has been involved in New Hampshire theatre for more than 23 years—as actor, director, technical director, and producer—and has participated in more than 70 theatrical productions. Vago also served New Thalian Players (NTP) as an incorporating Board Member, and as their First Vice-President, as well as having worked on more than a dozen of their productions. Vago is also a past President of Londonderry’s Music & Drama Company, and served as Technical Director for The Actorsingers of Nashua.

Joining Vago is Joel Mercier, who returns, for his seventh year, to tickle the ivories and wave the baton as NHTA’s Music Director. Mercier is a New England-based composer, director and music director, with credits from all over the country and with nationally recognized theatres, including Palace Theatre, New London Barn Playhouse, Northern Stage (VT), Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater (OH), and Goodspeed Opera House (CT). In New York City, Mercier has worked at The Duplex, Westbeth Theatre (Off-Broadway), and Nokia Theatre Times Square (Broadway). A graduate of The Hartt School of Music, Mercier served as Artistic Associate at New London Barn Playhouse for six seasons, a Guest Artist at Dartmouth College for the past four, and is currently the Artistic Director of the newly-founded NH Theatre Factory in Southern New Hampshire.

           Joel Mercier

States NHTA Executive Director, Bryan Halperin, "We're very excited to have the show in the creative hands of Joe and Joel, who both have a lot of experience working on our Awards Shows. The NHTA team looks forward to bringing our entire theatre community together in celebration of New Hampshire's 2014 theatre season."  

Adds NHTA President, Gina Carballo, "My thought, when I look at who is at the helm, steering this ship toward our Awards Show gala, is that we have the perfect trifecta of talent in place. It's essential for me, as President, to be very clear, with anyone stepping into the creative positions for this show, about the course I want to take, and the desired end result. At the outset, Bryan, Joe, and Joel have been on board with my philosophy—that the NHTA body of membership is our primary focus always. I want our Awards Show to be a meaningful, positive and joyful experience for our members. It's not just about the awards; it's about our community.  Bryan, Joe, and Joel are each outstanding at what they do within this organization. They’re accomplished leaders who are driven and talented, each in their own right. To see them work, plan, and execute together is special, indeed. They're talented professionals who are eager to work hard in order to create something truly unique. It's inspiring to be around them individually, and even more so when they're together. As an organization, we're very lucky.”

NHTA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, registered with the Division of Charitable Trusts and Secretary of State. The NHTA has been formed and operates pursuant to and in accordance with RSA 292. The purpose of this organization is to provide professional and community theatres in New Hampshire the opportunity to showcase entertainment to audiences of all ages. For additional information and to learn more about the Awards presentation, contact us at Admin@NHTheatreAwards.org, or visit our website at www.NHTheatreAwards.org.

Posted by Lowell Williams Friday, September 26, 2014 10:58:00 AM Categories: Awards Show NH Theatre Award News



Our Handsome Training Staff (file photo)Remember last year when we all got together and talked about the upcoming NHTA season? The rules, the responsibilities, and the free candy? Well, we're doing it all again and we invite you to join us!

NH Theatre Awards annual training is a 3 hour session that keeps participating Adjudicators and Liaisons up to date on new policies and refresh their memories on the year long NH Theatre Award process.   To be an Adjudicator or Liaison you must have attended training but anyone is welcome to attend and learn more about the NH Theatre Awards process!

what's so important?


The curriculum has been given a brand new focus with a sweeping facelift!

We are restructuring the focus of training away from the "where and when" (dates & deadlines) to invest more in helping the adjudicators understand the "how and why" (critiquing and analysis). There are also rule changes for 2015!

There will be a NEW on-line element that can be done anytime, anywhere, at your convenience!

We are creating a new feature, an on-line review, to reinforce the "rules & regulations" information that is critical for you to know. This will optimize time spent in classroom sessions to focus on the adjudication "process".   

Completion of the survey will be required, in addition to the classroom training, to be a commissioned adjudicator or liaison in 2015.

we are getting started earlier

We're getting started earlier, which means participating companies need to get liaisons' and adjudicators earlier!

  • PLEASE select your adjudicators and liaison ASAP so they can get to training in time
  • Watch for notice when the 2015 Company Application Form is available. 
  • The deadline for company application submission is December 15th.
Date and time Location (Directions below) Host

Please RSVP your planned attendance date to Training@NHTheatreAwards.org 

Due to this sweeping change in format and content, attendance will be mandatory for all adjudicators and liaisons for next season (2015).   But  with these improvements and coming upgrades to the website this fall, the NHTA will FINALLY be able to implement a process for proven, experienced adjudicators to forgo attending training next year!

the specifics - how to get there



ADDRESS: 34 Papermill Dr, Lincoln, NH 03251

Special Instructions: Behind Price Chopper/Movie Theatre complex.  Parking lot in front of building, double glass doors.


ADDRESS : 33 Maple Street, Henniker, NH

Special Instructions:  Park between Congregational Church and Parish Hall. Enter by center door. Call 568/5102 if you get lost.


Cancelations due to weather will be announced via email and on our website www.NHTheatreAwards.org 12 hours in advance.

Please email Training@NHTheatreAwards.org with any questions.  Please allow our staff of volunteers 1-4 business days to respond.

Posted by Lowell Williams Tuesday, September 16, 2014 3:34:00 PM Categories: Training
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