Awards & Honors

Over the Years Castaways is proud to have received several awards, nominations and honors. Here are just a few. Our audiences also recognize notable achievement .

Kathleen K. Seefeldt Awards for Arts Excellence

An initiative of the Prince William County Arts Council, the Kathleen K. Seefeldt Awards for Arts Excellence honor those artists, arts organizations, volunteers, educators, and businesses that sustain Kathleen Seefeldt’s legacy of public service and support for the cultural arts in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park (“Region”).
The Outstanding Volunteer:
– has served for a significant amount of time and/or dedicates a significant number of hours per week to service;
– has duties and accomplishments that are more significant than other volunteers;
– has an innovative or unique approach to service;
– mobilizes other volunteers and/or generates increased resources;
and
– engages in significant ongoing and/or specific activities

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2019 
Castaways’  Arts Council Representative Kathleen Gurchiek, received the Outstanding Patron  of the Arts Award.

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Kathy Gurchiek (first row, second from left) received the Kathleen K. Seefeldt Outstanding Patron of the Arts Award from the Prince William County Arts Council in 2019 for her tireless work to promote theater, music and reading in the county.

She’s been a member of the Castaways Repertory Theatre (CRT) Steering Committee in Woodbridge since 2008. As its representative to the Prince William County Arts Council since 2015, she keeps CRT abreast of Arts Council activity, including opportunities to promote CRT. In 2017, for example, she arranged for CRT’s public relations chair to appear on the Comcast show “Arts NOW!” to publicize one of its youth theater productions. Kathy also has helped promote CRT at Arts Alive! working at CRT’s booth dressed as a character from “Arsenic & Old Lace” and giving out samples of non-lethal “elderberry wine” to promote its fall show. In 2017 she led the creation of CRT’s producer’s manual.

In December 2012, she was instrumental in creating a partnership between CRT and her HOA’s golf club restaurant in Woodbridge. The two nights of a dinner theater production of “It’s a Wonderful Life financially benefited CRT and Ospreys restaurant. As a member of the Belmont Bay HOA Social Committee, she also brought CRT’s “Shakespeare by the Water” summer productions to the development from 2013-2015. The free event, open to the public, benefited CRT financially and promoted Castaways and Shakespeare to new audiences.

In 2011, she created and continues to chair the annual Belmont Bay “Sneak Peek” to promote CRT’s spring musicals. And the previous year she helped create a partnership between CRT and the area Lions Club during the production of The Miracle Worker that October. The show helped promote the club’s mission of providing free eyewear to people in need by making Lions Club materials  and a donation box for glasses available to theatergoers.

Her CRT stage credits include, but are not limited to, “The Music Man (2015), Laughing Stock (2012), You Can’t Take It With You (2009), Barefoot in the Park (2008), and The Man Who Came to Dinner (2006). She was an understudy in Witness for the Prosecution (2008) at the Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre and portrayed abolitionist Ellen Dana Conway as a costumed docent for the one-day Trail to Freedom Heritage Tour in Stafford (2014). She performed at the National Theatre in An Evening with Lizzie Borden (2005) with the Victorian Society of Falls Church.

Her interest in the arts extends beyond the theater. In 2011 she created a free summer concert series, “Music at the Marina” in Belmont Bay that is open to the public and continues to this day. Concerts have included Quantico’s Marine Corps Rock Band; the U.S. Navy Commodores, Sea Chanters and Country Current ensembles; the U.S. Air Force’s Celtic Aire; the National Concert Band of America; the Mount Vernon Swing Band; Occoquan Heavy Metal, a Prince William County Community Band ensemble; an Afro-Cuban Jazz Band, and the Woodbridge Community Choir. Since 2014, she has spearheaded an annual school supplies drive for a local elementary school in conjunction with one of the concerts.

In 2015, she organized the establishment of a Little Free Library in Belmont Bay and acts as its steward.

Kathy Gurchiek has managed to be involved in promoting the arts while working full-time as a journalist and being active in other organizations.

2017 
Castaways’ affiliated Homeschool Theatre Troupe Director Julie Little , received the Arts Educator Award.

Julie Little founded and was executive director of the Homeschool Theatre Troupe in Woodbridge for many years, working with children ages 10-19 since 2004. It has its genesis in she and her husband joining a home-school co-op when their daughter Sally, now a student at Bryn Mawr College, was 5. When the co-op wanted to start a drama group, Ms. Little volunteered to run it.

“We produced Charlotte’s Web that spring and the idea for the Homeschool Theatre Troupe (HTT) was born,” she said. She has gone on to develop and manage 25 profitable, large-scale productions. More information about HTT can be found at http://www.homeschooltheatretroupe.com.

Her background spans teaching theatre history, dramatic literature, and play adaptation and she has training in acting, directing, and production. In 2015 earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre pedagogy. She believes in the importance of providing an enriching experience. Her troupe has explored classic literature with an emphasis on skills such as acting, character development, student direction, technical production, and stage-crew duties. Students learn new skills as well as about the time period of the play they’re in. For “A Tale of Two Cities,” for example, they learned to sing a song in French and one student took up knitting to prepare for her role as Madam Defarge.

As executive director, Julie managed all aspects of design and rehearsal, supervised 40 or more young actors, forecast costs and sales with accountability for all purchases, and prepared budget proposals and post-production reports for full-scale productions. She would use out-of-copyright classics to create entire scripts from scratch. In 2011, she footnoted her “Alice in Wonderland” script to help her cast better understand Lewis Carroll’s jokes and parodies.

The troupe has performed sketches for a local senior facility and scheduled theatre-related trips and events. In 2016 as part of its outreach, the troupe invited 50 preschoolers to watch scenes from its production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. HTT came under the auspices of Castaways Repertory Theatre (CRT) in 2014.

Julie served as facilities chairperson for the CRT Steering Committee from 2003-2018, acting as liaison between the county and CRT, which rehearses and stages productions at the county-run A.J. Ferlazzo building. In that role she developed and processed the calendars for CRT events, managed facility-related issues, and ensured that the county’s usage requirements are properly enforced by all parties. She also orchestrated a storage move resulting in an annual $3,000 savings for CRT. She directed The Odd Couple in 2005 and The Importance of Being Earnest in 2012 for CRT. In 2012 she also staged a radio program-like production of It’s a Wonderful Life at a local development, generating additional revenue for CRT. In 2016 she helped direct The Music Man when the director was dealing with health issues and produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that year.

Her creativity bubbles up in other ways. For years she made and sold “Sally’s Soaps” at the Dale City Farmers Market and Gunston Hall. It helped, she said, support her theater habit.

Castaways’ affiliated Homeschool Theatre Troupe Director Julie Little, pictured in the middle, received the 2017 Arts Educator Award. She is flanked by the two Castaways members who nominated her. Kathy Gurchiek is on the left and Kathi Tyrrell in on the right.

2016
Castaways’ Secretary, Kathy Sahlberg, received the Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Kathy Sahlberg has been a member of the Castaways Repertory Theatre (CRT) since about six months after it was formed in 1981. She has held a number of board positions during her many years with the company—vice president, corresponding/recording secretary, membership director, treasurer, and as she puts it, as its “all-purpose nag.”

In her position as corresponding/recording secretary—an office she’s held since 1985 with only about a 6-month break in service—her role goes beyond writing and disseminating the minutes of Castaways’ monthly board meetings. It includes handling the mailing of the membership cards, season tickets and audition notices, reminding patrons of our upcoming performances, picking up the mail and the printing orders, making the bank runs, and sending out updates on what is going on with the arts and other theater companies in the area.

The Castaways phone number rings to her house, so she often is the person that members of the public reach out to—the hopeful playwright asking questions about submitting a play, the stage mother who knows her child will be the next star, new residents wanting to know what’s going on in Prince William County, and people “who just want to talk.” Kathy gives them e-mail addresses and links to the local arts organizations…and listens.

Coordinating and working Front of House (FOH) for Castaways’ performances is one of her many duties. It involves recruiting volunteers, selling tickets, stuffing programs, and setting up the refreshment table for intermission for all of Castaways’ shows, but she sees it as much more than that. Taking a moment to talk with audience members—regulars and first-timers—and making them feel welcome is so important, she says. FOH volunteers may not be in the show, but they play an important role as the face of Castaways; often this is the public’s first contact with CRT and a warm welcome helps set the mood for our audiences. And it is so nice, she says, when someone buying a ticket tells one of the volunteers, “I loved you in the last play.”

Kathy has built and taken down sets—she once was trapped under flats and construction lumber in our old scary storage unit—and performed in CRT’s productions of “Cinderella,” “She was a Lazy Witch,” “Angel Street,” “The Wild Flowering of Chastity,” “Barefoot in the Park” and as a belly dancer in “Aladdin.” She recalls acting with Rob O’Neill in “Barefoot.” Today he is senior vice president of programming and promotion strategy at Comedy Central, but she knew him as a teenager who would have pretend duels at her house, waving around ears of corn as swords.

As a mother and grandmother, she is very supportive of shows that include children because she sees it as a resource for children who are interested in theater but have limited opportunities at school to be involved in such a wonderful artistic expression. Anything you can do to give a kid a chance where they can be creative is a good thing, she says.

“I believe in the power and magic of theater. Theater has the ability to make us laugh, cry and make us aware of worlds outside of our comfort zone. When you walk through the door of the theater you are able to travel in time, go any place in or out of the world for the price of a ticket.”

When not working with Castaways, she is involved with the Garden Club of Montclair. Kathy has served as president for the non-profit organization that is a member of the National Capital Area Garden Clubs. Prior to that she served it four years as…you guessed it…its secretary.

2008
Castaways received the Arts Excellence by a Group Award.

At the Arts Gala in September, the 2008 Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence by a Group was awarded to the Castaways.  It was more our community outreach activities that earned us the award, than our over 25 years of being a community theater company. Many thanks to all of you who have organized and worked on the holiday readings, or have worked on organizing our benefit shows, or those of you who have volunteered their time and experience and help when we have loaned out our sets or equipment to other groups. All you past and present members deserve a big pat on your backs for all your hard work.

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2013
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Judge’s Award #2: The Show Must Go On; Clare Hoch as The Duchess in “The Wife’s Tale”
Judge’s Award #3:  Best Concept; “I Am Hrotsvitha” written by Helen Prien
Nominated Best Production Of An Original Play; “I Am Hrotsvitha” By Helen Prien
Nominated Best Actress, Helen Prien as Hrotsvitha in “I Am Hrotsvitha”
Nominated Best Supporting Actress, Kaitlyn Rhyne as April in “The Wife’s Tale”

2012
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Actress, Molly Kaufman for “The Audition”
Best Supporting Actress, Hannah Taylor for “The Audition”

2011
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Nominated Best Overall Production for “Chick Fillet”
Best Production of an Original Play for “Chick Fillet”
Nominated Best Director, Zina Bleck for “Chick Fillet”
Outstanding Ensemble, “Chick Fillet” (Judges’ Discretionary Award)
Nominated Best Actress, Coleen Close for “Chick Fillet”
Nominated Best Actress, Katherine Bisulca for “Chick Fillet”
Nominated Best Actress, Alexia Poe for “The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller”
Best Supporting Actress, Rebecca Hausman for “Chick Fillet”
Nominated Best Supporting Actress, Aimee Snow for “The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller”
Nominated Best Supporting Actress, Becky Farris for “Chick Fillet”
Nominated Best Supporting Actor, Will MacLeod for “The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller”

2010
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Overall Production for “The Meeting”
Best Production of an Original Play for “The Meeting”
Best Director, Lori Muhlstein for “The Meeting”
Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Walker for “Car Wash”
Best Supporting Actress, Ellen McKinstre for “Car Wash”
Nominated Best Director, Terri Caretti for “Car Wash”
Nominated Best Supporting Actor, Greg Crowe for “Car Wash”

2009
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

 Best Actress, Adrienne Showker for “On Tidy Endings”
Nominated Best Actress, Lori Muhlstein, for “Til Death Do Us Part”
Nominated Best Supporting Actress, Meredith Ford for “On Tidy Endings”
Nominated Best Supporting Actress, Laonna Rauser for “Til Death Do Us Part”
Nominated Best Production of an Origanal Play for “Til Death Do Us Part”

2008
Virginia Theatre Association One-Act Play Festival

Best Overall Production, “Open Meeting”

Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Overall Production, “Open Meeting”
Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Walker for “Open Meeting”

Prince William County Arts Council

2008 Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence

Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH)

Nominated Best Cameo, Gavin Tameris for “Barefoot In The Park”

2007
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Nominated Best Production Of An Original Play for “Two Girls, One Place”
Nominated Best Original Script, Sara Joy Lebowitz, for “Two Girls, One Place”

2005
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Overall Production, “Bitter Sauce”
Best Director, Mary-Anne Sullivan for “Bitter Sauce”
Best Supporting Actor, Nicolas Ruley for “The Perfect Son”
Nominated Best Actor, Adam Deremer, for “The Perfect Son”
Nominated Best Actor, Michael Reid, for “Bitter Sauce”
Nominated Best Actress, Jennifer Reitz, for “Bitter Sauce”

2004
Virginia Theatre Association One-Act Play Festival

Best Cameo, Candice Baker for “Cutting in Line”
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival
Nominated Best Supporting Actor, Tom Ziemba for “Lone Star”

Virginia Theatre Association One-Act Play Festival

Nominated Best Actor, Gary Crawford for “Cutting in Line”

2003
Virginia Theatre Association One-Act Play Festival

Best Actress, Deb Crawford for “Trifles”
Best Supporting Actor, Bailey R. Center for “Trifles”

Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Set Decor for “Trifles”
Nominated Best Supporting Actress, Deb Crawford for “Trifles”
Nominated Best Supporting Actor, Bailey R. Center for “Trifles”
Nominated Best Director, Zina Bleck for “Trifles”

2002
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Actress (Tie) Tracey Lynn Mullins and Katie Helper for “Laundry and Bourbon”
Best Supporting Actress Deb Crawford for “Laundry and Bourbon”
Best Director Glynn Cosker for “Laundry and Bourbon”
Best Overall Production for “Laundry and Bourbon”

2001
Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH)

Nomination for Oustanding Special Effects, Lisa Johnston for “Bus Stop”

2000
Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH)

Nomination for Oustanding Lead Actress in a Play, Ellen Young for “Goodnight Desdemona/Good Morning Juliet”

1999
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Supporting Actress – Patty McCoart for “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls”
Nominated Best Ensemble, Best Overall Production, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor – “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls”

1998
Lake Ridge Christmas Parade

First Place – Best Country Portrayal of Theme “Christmas Around the World”

Dale City Fourth of July Parade

2nd Place – Best Portrayal of Theme “A Tribute to Old Glory”

Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Nominated – Best Actress “The Diaries of Adam and Eve”

1997
Lake Ridge Christmas Parade

First Place – Best Country Portrayal of Theme “Christmas through the Years”

1996
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Judges Discretionary Award – Pageant Scene “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You”
Nominated – Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress – “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” and “The Principle of the Thing”

1995
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Original Script – “The Reception” by Chris DeCarlo
Best Supporting Actor – Patrick Anderson for “The Reception”
Nominated – Best Actress, & Best Supporting Actress – “The Reception”
Nominated – Best Director and Best Actress – “The Creation of the World and Other Business”

1994
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Best Production of an Original Play – “Mrs. Raboteau”
Best Overall Production – “The Actor’s Nightmare”
Nominated – Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – “Mrs. Raboteau” and “The Actor’s Nightmare”

1993
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Judges Discretionary Award Best New Playwright – Andrew Martineau for “Etched in Stone”
Best Supporting Actress – Ellen Young for “Etched in Stone”

1990
Northern Virginia Theatre Alliance One-Act Play Festival

Excellence in Ensemble Acting Award – “After Liverpool”

Date published: June 7, 2019