Newburyport Daily News
---- — NEWBURYPORT — The Firehouse Center for the Arts’ production of “The 39 Steps” swept up the major Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors (DASH) awards at the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theater (EMACT) at its annual gala Saturday night in Lexington.
The production won in eight out of the 11 award categories for plays in which it was nominated, including Best Production; Best Director of a play (Tim Diering); Best Ensemble in a play (Conor Seamus Moroney, Ashley Risteen, Stephen Faria and James Manclark); Best Specialty Ensemble (The Clowns — Stephen Faria and James Manclark); Best Lighting Design (James Atkins); Best Stage Manager (Maria Boyd); Best Props Coordination (Kimm Wilkinson, Tim Diering, James Manclark and Stephen Faria); and Best Costume Design (Kimm Wilkinson, Stephen Faria).
A special Consultant’s Choice Award was given to Brian Nickerson for Success in Musical Accompaniment, for composing and playing the background music for “The 39 Steps.”
The production was staged at the Firehouse in June and was one of 129 plays judged by EMACT this year.
“The Firehouse’s achievement was even more remarkable for coming out on top of more than 128 productions from the best of the best in community theater east of Worcester that were evaluated by EMACT,” said Anne Easter Smith, board member, who was present at the gala. “We could not believe our ears every time our name was called as a winner.”
“My heart was pounding and I asked myself, ‘Is this really happening?’ when I heard my name for Best Director,” Diering said.
“The 39 Steps” was one of eight nominees in the Best Production category, and Wilkinson, artistic director of the Firehouse, said, “These honors will have nothing but wonderful ramifications for the Firehouse.”
“So many people were involved in the success of this show, and it was truly a team effort on and off the stage. I am proud to have been one of them,” Diering said.
This is the second year that the Firehouse has been a part of EMACT, through which judges come and evaluate a performance during the season.