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Hot Springs Village resident Jerry Davis has been selected for the American Association of Community Theatre Spotlight Award in recognition for outstanding dedication, service and contribution to community theater.
"I'm amazed and pleased to receive the honor," Davis said.
"I've just been having fun," he said. "I've not been working for an award, but it's nice to get one."
Davis, director of Carousel Theater, Workshops for Seniors, in Hot Springs and in Hot Springs Village, is the first Arkansas resident to receive this distinction.
AACT representative Lisa Bell will present the award at the Carousel Theater Tenth Anniversary Celebration to be held at the Garland County Library from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Garland County Library.
Bell is active in the Crittenden Little Theatre in West Memphis, which Davis helped found, and the Arkansas Community Theater Association (ARCTA).
Davis has been active in community theater for more than 40 years, most recently with Pocket Community Theatre in Hot Springs, the Royal Players in Benton and the Village Players in Hot Springs Village.
He has directed several Royal Players productions at the Royal Theatre in Downtown Benton.
In talking about his four decades of theater involvement, Davis noted that he got into community theater "by accident."
He said he began this involvement as a co-founder and president of the board of directors of the Crittenden Fine Arts Center (in West Memphis in Eastern Arkansas) in 1972 and has been active in theater and the arts since that time.
"I was on the board for music and dance when we started the theater, and they ran out of men when they were doing 'The Odd Couple.' They came and talked me into being one of the card players, but by the time we got through I was playing Felix Ungar (one of the two leads)."
Davis also was a founder and charter president of ARCTA.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater arts at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, holds advanced degrees in clinical psychology and business and is a retired CPA.
In 2002 Davis founded the Association of Senior Arts Programs and co-founded Carousel Theater following a series of classes at the Shepherd Center in Hot Springs. He founded a second group in Hot Springs Village in 2009, following a six-week series of theater classes.
Davis said he emphasizes education about all aspects of theater and focuses on readersâ€™ theater to allow seniors of all abilities to participate.
The Carousel troupes perform at various civic clubs and organizations, senior centers, assisted living and nursing facilities as well as for childrenâ€™s programs throughout the area, and have presented more than 40 readersâ€™ theater performances in 2012 alone.
He noted that seniors from his workshops have gone on to participate in community theater by auditioning, acting on stage, producing, working backstage, directing and even writing plays. All members are encouraged to attend and support community theater activities, and many have volunteered in local area theaters.
Two Carousel members serve on the board of directors of the Arkansas Community Theater Association.
Carousel theater members are required to be at least 50 and interested in theater. Interested seniors may contact SrArts@aol.com for more information.