Shelley Graham was recently awarded the Gold Medallion of Excellence for her extraordinary dedication to teaching, mentoring, and service at the Region 8 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Las Vegas.
Shelley was nominated for the award by Regional Chair Eric Bishop, who credits her with the high quality of the region’s Dramaturgy program and describes her as "brilliant, hilarious, level headed, reliable, and consistently kind."
The award recognizes Shelley’s dedication of time, artistry, and enthusiasm to the development of the KCACTF. For the past 9 years, Shelley has served as the Region 8 Dramaturgy coordinator–organizing all the dramaturgy programming, mentoring students, and providing workshops. While typical terms for coordinators last 3 years, Shelley has shown her dedication to students by serving extra long to help the field grow.
Students competing in the dramaturgy division of the KCACTF submit case books of the work they’ve done as a dramaturg on a production, and Shelley brings in guest correspondents to help read through them and provide feedback. Shelley explains, “We respond to their work and spend most of the time uplifting them for the great work they’ve done, as well as offering words of encouragement and suggestions for things to do differently in the future.”
With all the different responsibilities to juggle as an Adjunct Professor at BYU and a mother of four, Shelley refers to herself as a “mamaturg.” She fulfills that role for her students as well, always striving for her teaching to be “deeply kind, heartfelt, and encouraging in supporting the students.” Shelley seeks to teach her dramaturgy students to become “experts on our dramatic past and advocates for writers of today and the important work of the future.”
The Gold Medallion is the most prestigious regional award given by KCACTF. Shelley comments, “My favorite thing about winning this award is the emphasis that it places on teaching and mentorship. I just love working with students. I love teaching them and nurturing them along their professional paths. This feels like an acknowledgement of that, and it means a lot to me.”