2012 New Town Award Recipient
Norman McPhee, retired managing/artistic director of the Racine Theatre Guild, and a charter member of the Fine Arts Advisory Committee at Carthage, received the Carthage “New Town” Award in 2012.
Mr. McPhee became managing/artistic director of the Racine Theatre Guild in 1969, a post he held for 32 years until his retirement in 2001. He directed more than 200 shows while at the helm, and continues to guest-direct productions annually at the Guild. Under his guidance, the Guild became the largest non-professional theatre in Wisconsin. The season has grown in length and scope, and the Guild has presented its productions at international festivals in Austria, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, and the Soviet Union. As part of an international exchange program, he spent 12 weeks in the Republic of Georgia, where he directed an American play using Georgian actors.
Mr. McPhee oversaw construction of the Guild’s theatre building, a $1 million structure on Northwestern Avenue in Racine. He developed a season ticket program, and began an educational outreach program for school children from four counties.
Mr. McPhee is a founding member of the American Association of Community Theatre, and serves on its International Committee and Festival Commission. Under his leadership, the Guild hosted the Festival of American Community Theatres in 1985, and the United States International Amateur Theatre Festival in 1994.
Mr. McPhee holds B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in theatre arts from Utah State University. Before coming to Racine, he was managing/artistic director of a community theatre in Carmel, Calif., and program director at KUSU-TV in Logan, Utah. At KUSU, he researched, wrote and directed a 60-minute film on the construction of the transcontinental railroad that aired nationally on public television. He has been a guest lecturer in theatre arts at Carthage and several other institutions.
He has received numerous awards, including the Wisconsin Theatre Association’s Life Service Award, the Cultural Achievement Award from the Theatre Society of the Republic of Georgia, and the Wisconsin Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts.