WT Theatre Wins Major Awards for Special Filmed Production

Chip Chandler Sep 17, 2021
  • Featured
  • Arts

WT Theatre Wins Major Awards for Special Filmed Production

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — As West Texas A&M University Theatre prepares to open its 2021-22 season, the department is celebrating several awards recently won by a special Fall 2020 production.

The musical “Theory of Relativity,” a filmed production that streamed in October, won eight awards through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

“Relativity,” a song cycle by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, featured was filmed in various locations around campus and even in students’ own homes. The music was recorded in WT facilities in Mary Moody Northen Hall, and footage and songs were edited together like a movie musical, rather than a staged production.

“I am particularly proud of the department for committing to producing theatre safely during some rather uncertain times,” said “Relativity” director Behrmann. “This show provided a chance for collaboration that we might not have sought otherwise. We developed some terrific partnerships and new friendships by giving our actors a chance to work with School of Music students in the recording studio and getting to work with the communications students on a location shoot.”

The national awards were chosen by a committee whose members saw about 40 qualifying productions in eight regions around the country. Awards were presented in a virtual ceremony in May.

Behrmann was awarded special achievement in directing and in musical direction for his work. The show won a special achievement award for overall production, and the entire cast was awarded special achievement in ensemble collaboration.

Actors Abbi Roe, a Spring 2021 graduate from Roswell, N.M., and Michael Olinger, a senior musical theatre major from Pearland, were awarded special achievement in performance. Caitlynn Sandoval, a senior theatre major from Tyler, was awarded special achievement in stage management.

The musical also netted special achievement awards for overall production design and for innovative use of technology.

“Because we streamed this production, we were able to tap into a theater-loving audience around the region, around the state — even around the country,” Behrmann said. “That level of engagement is rare for our department and helps us show a potentially huge audience the kind of work our students are able to produce.”

This was the fifth year in a row that a production from WT advanced to the KCACTF regional competition, a feat few theatre programs have achieved. WT’s production of “Ada and the Engine” also won the Director’s Cup for Best Production at the KCACTF Region VI Festival in Abilene in February 2020.

“WT Theatre continues to achieve new heights in performance and this recognition from the Kennedy Center is a testament to the incredible ingenuity, creativity, and talent of our students and faculty during an incredibly challenging year,” said Stephen Crandall, department head of Art, Theatre and Dance. “Few programs have received an invitation to share their work at the regional festival as successively as WT. We are beyond proud to represent the University and The Texas A&M University System as a leading theatre training program in our state.”

The 2021-22 season opens Sept. 17-26 with “You on the Moors Now,” followed by “Monstersongs,” “As You Like It” and “The SpongeBob Musical.”

Tickets are available at For information, call 806-651-2810.

Support of arts and entertainment is a vital component of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 40 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.