UNCSA alumni and faculty receive Helen Hayes Awards for outstanding theatre in Washington, D.C.

Kelly and Mollye Maxner, faculty members of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, are among five alumni who have won Helen Hayes Awards, the equivalent of a Tony Award in Washington, D.C., theatre.

The Maxners won the Outstanding Choreography Award for Occupied Territories, which Mollye Maxner also wrote and directed.

Occupied Territories

Kelly Maxner is director of the high school program in the School of Drama. He graduated from the School of Dance in 1994 and the School of Drama in 2000. Mollye Maxner is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Drama. She graduated from UNCSA’s high school Dance program in 1993 and Drama’s directing program in 2009.

Other alumni who won Helen Hayes Awards include: Christopher Annas-Lee, D&P ’14, Outstanding Lighting Design for Yerma with GALA Hispanic Theatre; Christopher Baine, D&P ’06, Outstanding Sound Design for When She Had Wings for Imagination Stage; and Jon Hudson Odom, Drama ’08, James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for Passion Play for Forum Theatre.

Occupied Territories was nominated for six awards. It was produced by Theater Alliance, where Colin Hovde (Drama ’04) is artistic director.

Occupied Territories is the story of the complexity and persistence of memory, decades after war. With text sparked by Euripides’ Trojan Women, it exposes a world where a man must finally face his past, his God, his family. Highly physical, Occupied Territories tears away easy boundaries to question how bodies, minds, and souls are vast territories altered by our relentless history of war.

It premiered at the Anacostia Playhouse in June 2014, with a cast that included UNCSA Drama alumni Freddie Bennett ’06, Desmond Bing ’09, Thomas Rowell ’08 and ’12, and Cody Robinson ’13 and ’17. 

Occupied Territories will be presented at the American Legion in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., in August. An off-Broadway production is planned.

by Lauren Whitaker

May 27, 2016