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Tysons theater companies are among 10th annual Arts Award winners

1st Stage Theatre’s production of The Brothers Size (courtesy Teresa Castracane/1st Stage Theatre)

Two Tysons arts organizations are among the five honorees selected by ArtsFairfax for its 2021 Arts Awards, an annual celebration of Fairfax County’s arts community.

ArtsFairfax, a nonprofit that has been designated as the county’s arts agency, announced the winners of this year’s awards on Tuesday (July 27).

“For ten years, our annual Arts Awards has recognized the creative visionaries who inspire us, engage us, and create transformational change in our communities,” ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan said in a press release. “This year’s honorees exemplify the impact that artists, arts and cultural organizations, and those that support them are making to the future of Fairfax County.”

In addition to marking their 10th anniversary, this year’s Arts Awards herald a return for both the awards themselves after they were canceled last year and local arts groups, which are tentatively starting to reemerge from the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1st Stage Theatre is this year’s recipient of the Arts Impact Award, which “recognizes an arts organization, program, or activity that has provided a significant opportunity or impact through their transformational programs and individuals served,” according to ArtsFairfax.

The only professional theater company in Tysons, 1st Stage “serves as a cultural hub” and has proven skilled at adapting to the “community’s changing needs and challenges” with accessible performances, ArtsFairfax says.

The nonprofit highlights the virtual Community Conversations program that 1st Stage developed to kept audiences engaged when the theater was shut down during the pandemic.

1st Stage could not be reached for comment. The theater will reopen its doors at 1524 Spring Hill Road in November after kicking off its 2021-2022 season with the Logan Festival of Solo Performances at The Boro.

The Traveling Players Ensemble will receive the Arts Education Award, which goes to “an arts organization or individual arts educator that has provided superlative arts education opportunities, experiences, or training in the arts for youth, adults, and artists,” according to ArtsFairfax.

Operating out of a Tysons Corner Center studio, the Traveling Players provides camps, classes, and other opportunities for youths to gain theatrical skills and experience. The company adapted its summer camp program to a virtual world last year, putting on a one-act play festival via Zoom in December.

“Traveling Players is honored to be the recipient of the Arts Education Award,” said Jeanne Harrison, founder and producing artistic director of the Traveling Players. “As an educational theatre company, teaching and training is our organization’s sole focus and mission.” 

Traveling Players will celebrate the award at their summer performances, including shows on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center on Aug. 4 and 5.

This year’s other honorees are:

The 2021 ArtsFairfax Awards will hold a reception on Oct. 15 in The Atrium at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road), which will open for its inaugural season that month. Tickets are now available for purchase.

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