Longtime Anchorage Theatre mainstays David Edgecombe and Elizabeth Ware have been selected to receive the 2015 Jerry Harper Service Award at the 23rd Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference, to be held in Valdez June 14-20, 2015. The award will be presented at the closing night gala on June 20.
The Jerry Harper Service Award was created in 2007 to honor people who have been instrumental in the development and success of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. It was named after Jerry Harper, one of the true icons of Alaska’s theatre for his work with Cyrano’s Theatre and elsewhere. At the Conference, Harper performed in numerous evening productions, including the Dick Reichman’s two-person play Money!, Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, and Love Letters with Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal.
Edgecombe and Ware moved to Anchorage in 1990 when he was hired as a Professor of Theatre at UAA. The couple moved from Indiana, where they were the founders of the Indiana Shakespeare Company. In Alaska, they are known not only for their work with the University, but also through their extensive work with Cyrano’s Theatre Company and their own company, Edgeware Productions, which brings Shakespeare into Alaska public schools. They both worked extensively with Jerry Harper before his passing, with Elizabeth playing Jerry’s wife many times.
They began participating in the Theatre Conference in its second year, 1994. Their productions of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance and Three Tall Women were both performed for the author in Valdez, and they were involved in numerous other Conference productions, including Aoise Stratford’s In Between and multiple evenings of scenes by the featured playwrights. Additionally, in their over twenty years of service to the event, they served as panelists in the Play Lab, taught classes on multiple subjects, and served on the event’s advisory board.
Past recipients of the award include Michael Warren Powell, founder of the Play Lab; Jim Cucurull, the event’s only technical director; Ron Holmstrom, long-time Valdez Star reporter on the event; TBA Theatre Artistic Director Shane Mitchell; longtime participating director, Erma Duricko; event founder Dr. Jo Ann C. McDowell; PWSCC Professor Emeritus Gail Renardson; and Valdez philanthropists Stan & Mary Helen Stephens.
For more information on any aspect of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, go to http://www.pwscc.edu/conference/ or call 907-834-1614.
Photo above is of David and Elizabeth at the 2002 Conference.