2018 Festival Details

Over 100 students and adults from three high schools and two community theater groups across four counties in New York’s Central and Southern Tier regions gathered at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY on Saturday, April 21 for CNY Arts’ 2018 Annual Michael Harms Theater Festival. Each year, the festival celebrates talented teenagers in theater through a combination of musical and dramatic theater performances, professional adjudication and responses to the shows, and professionally-led workshops for both young performers and behind the scenes artists and crew.

Auburn High School (performance piece- No Pun Intended), Oswego Children's Theater (performance piece- Once Upon a Summertime), Triple Talent Academy (performance piece- Yesterday and Tomorrow), and Whitney Point High School Drama Club (performance piece- A Midsummer Night’s Dream) participated in this year’s day long festival. Students from Skaneateles High School, Addison High School, West Genessee High School, Westhill High School, and Fayetteville-Manlius High School also attended the festival.

In addition to the performances, students listened to a panel of current college students participating in the arts; collaborated with students from different schools to devise short scenes with the prompts they were given; and participated in workshops offered by professional theatre artists in auditioning, theatrical design, movement and dance, and more.

Theatre professionals Jon Wilson (Syracuse Stage), Rose Bonczek (Brooklyn College), and Binaifer Dabu (The Redhouse) provided feedback to the performing schools as well as selected schools and students for awards and scholarships: 

Festival Awards:

The Award of Excellence-High School was presented to Whitney Point High School Drama Club for their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Ken Jones.

The Award of Excellence-Community Theater was presented to Triple Talent Academy for their production of Yesterday and Tomorrow, devised by the TTA students.

The award for Outstanding Technical Achievement was Whitney Point High School Drama Club for their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Ken Jones


The F. Michael Harms Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Micayla MacDougall – West Genesee High School

Certificates of Achievement:

  • Excellence in Lighting Design: Landon Jeker, Whitney Point High School 
  • Triple Threat Award: Acting/Directing/Playwrighting: Ashton Sloan, Auburn High School 
  • Excellence in Individual Performance: Alex Tyo (Whitney Point High School); Jessica Connelly (Whitney Point High School)
  • Outstanding Individual Performance: Alivia Kelley (Yesterday and Tomorrow)
  • Outstanding Comedic Performance: Kate Hanson (Triple Talent Academy)
  • Excellence in Ensemble Work: Triple Talent Academy
  • Honorable Mention in Ensemble Work: Oswego Children’s Theatre
  • Best Realization of a Stereotype: Thomas Pilbeam (Auburn High School)

The Michael Harms Theater festival was inspired by the Harms Family in honor of F. Michael Harms and produced by CNY Arts (then the Cultural Resources Council) in 1976 to foster greater interest in theater work by students and teachers in secondary schools.

Schools interested in participating in the Spring of 2019 should contact Jon Wilson at harmsfest@cnyarts.org.