Charlotte KelleyCharlotte Kelley receives award

Arlington resident Charlotte Kelley earlier this summer won a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in community theater at the recent gala of the Eastern Massachusetts Community Theater Organization (EMACT).

Kelley was nominated by Arlington Friends of the Drama (AFD) for her continuing work in doing props and set dressing at AFD, as well as at Concord Players and Quannapowitt Players in Reading.

She is known for her meticulous attention to detail and time period in choosing just the right prop or picture to hang on the wall. She also has a keen memory for the inventory of every theater prop closet as well as the contents of homes, basements and attics of her friends and family.

Kelley has won awards throughout her decades of doing this work and won two other awards at the annual award gala last month: one each for props and set dressing for "Dancing at Lughnasa," the March play at AFD.

At the awards presentation at Cary Hall in Lexington on Saturday evening Aug. 19, Kai Chou, EMACT past president, presented the award. The annual gala is EMACT’s version of the Tony awards; actors, directors and designers are given awards for outstanding work in the area’s community theaters. More than two dozen community theaters, from Worcester to Cape Cod to Cape Ann, are members of EMACT. More than 100 productions were nominated for awards, but there is only one winner in each category, such as Best Director in a Musical or Best Costume Design in a Play.

Linda BurttLinda Burtt

Member theaters who wish to compete in the award program send in their request to EMACT to have the show adjudicated. Two adjudicators are assigned to each attend a different performance; productions are rated on the acting and design elements. It is considered an honor just to be nominated for a DASH (Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors) Award. AFD routinely submits all its productions for DASH adjudication.

Other Arlington residents also win 

Two other Arlington residents received DASH awards at the gala. Longtime resident and previous multiple costume design winner Linda Burtt added another DASH award to her collection. She had been nominated for two different shows for the 2022-23 season, "Equivocation" at Marblehead Little Theater and "Little Women," the Musical, at Concord players. She received the Best Costume Award for "Little Women." She spent more than eight months working to prepare the costumes for that show. Last year she won Best Costume Design for "Cinderella" at Vokes Theater in Wayland.

Laura DeCesareLaura DeCesare

Laura DeCesare was the third Arlington resident who was called up to the stage for an award. She was a member of the ensemble of the Mundy sisters in "Dancing at Lughnasa" at AFD this past spring. The five sisters were cited for “Best Specialty Ensemble in a Play.” EMACT adjudicators had noted that both the conflicts and the overriding affection between the sisters were believable and palpable to the audience.

Finally, in addition to the above, lighting designer Todd Short won an award for Sound Design for "Iolanthe," and Belmont resident Evelyn Corsini also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. 

June 18, 2023: AFD'S 100th anniversary celebrated

This news announcement from AFD's Ginger Webb was published Sept. 13, 2023, based on an email from Arlington Friends of the Drama, or AFD. YourArlington volunteer Kim Haase prepared the material for publication.