ANSBACH, Germany - The American Association of Community Theatre recognized the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach entertainment director with a special recognition award, honoring her contributions to community theater.

Victoria Hanrahan, entertainment director and artistic and managing director of the Terrace Playhouse here, received the award at the AACT New York City Convention 2008 for her contributions to community theatre that are "far reaching and of a special nature," said AACT officials.

Hanrahan attributes her award to the community she serves, those she has served with and Army community theaters worldwide, and said it would not be possible without them.

"I think it is really awesome to be recognized by my peers in regards to other theater programs - that is exciting," she said. ""The other thing that is cool is the fact that it says something about the Army and the fact that they actually have this program.

She said that other services don't have music and theater programs.

"They do not run community theaters and they do not have professional staff members," Hanrahan said. "If they have a program, it is done by volunteers. It really says something about the Army that it recognizes that the arts are critical - that they have as much to do with morale, welfare and recreation as a sports program does."

For the community itself, Hanrahan said it is about human interaction.

"What this says for us is that we really do try and touch as many members of our community as we can - be they a child, be they a Soldier, be they a Family member, or be they a local national employee or audience member from the economy - and I think that is really cool."

Hanrahan added that she believes the award will raise community awareness of the program.

"I think that this will help the visibility of the program here in the community," she said. "It will also give visibility to the Army entertainment programs in the United States. The AACT is a national organization - their members are all over the United States - so they're going to now know that the Army offers these programs to support Soldiers and Family members, especially during this time of massive deployment. I think that is really cool."

Hanrahan first became involved with community theater when she was in fourth grade and had a one-line walk-on in "Anyone for the Moon."

She has been hooked ever since.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in drama from the University of California, Irvine, she moved to Germany "to see the world." Instead, she became the Theatre Specialist for Stage 13 in Nuernberg, Germany.

Hanrahan has been active in the AACT Region 10 for 13 years. Under her direction, the Terrace Playhouse represented Region 10 at the 2003 national AACT Fest in Torrington, Conn.

Since she began her career with the Army, Hanrahan has directed over 100 productions and hosted over 50 shows, including high profile performers, she said.

Page last updated Wed August 27th, 2008 at 06:28