Pull-Tight Players held its annual kNOT Awards August 28 at Jim Warren Park in Franklin. The event was so named because it was “not” the typical Knot Awards, as in previous years. Due to pandemic concerns, the event was changed from a banquet to a picnic. We didn’t have a season to celebrate, so we celebrated our wonderful organization instead. Still, we presented both annual and special awards to deserving recipients.
We met in the screened-in pavilion at the park, and were very glad for a roof later in the program due to a torrential rainstorm. Artist members were able to order picnic-style boxes from Bacon and Caviar or bring their own food. Approximately 75 members gathered for dinner, camaraderie, and a program highlighting events of the past year.
Outgoing president Matt Grimes introduced the program. After brief remarks, he went on to introduce Beth Woodruff and the musicial number “We Won’t Be Openin’ Another Show” (with apologies to Cole Porter). This parody featured singers from the artist membership: Chelsea Craig, JK Gregg, Sarah Kieffner, JT Landry, Lenny West, and Beth.
Matt returned to acknowledge outgoing Board members Tom Gregg, Pat Street, and himself, and to introduce the new Board. New members are Jennifer Bennett, Leslie Berra and Wade Woodruff.
Our annual “In Memoriam” section followed, presented by Jeanne Drone. This year, we honored Greg Carter, Ray Clark, Roz Highfill, Lyn Sullivan Pewitt, and Madelyn Gale Webster.
Special awards followed, reflecting the unusual nature of the past year and the event itself. Iain Macpherson won the Ghost Light Award for his help in maintaining the theater through the months of the pandemic. The Picnic Committee handed out stress balls (Pull-Tight logo balloons filled with rice) to all directors whose shows had been postponed or canceled over the past 18 months. Tom Gregg was awarded Most Patient Director for his work with The Real Inspector Hound.
The rest of the program comprised our annual awards. Megan Roberts won the Newcomer Award, presented by Vicky Stiles. Dan Kassis presented the Behind the Scenes award to Mike Tindor, an employee of our web hosting company, Quikhost. Pat Street presented the Friend of Pull-Tight award to Michael Kelly, owner of the Planning Group. The Techie of the Year award, presented by Beth Woodruff, went to Savannah Aiello for her work with the virtual awards show in 2020.
As outgoing president, Matt Grimes awarded the Cam Davis Spirit award to Lenny West.
The final two awards were voted on by the artist membership at the May Artist Membership Meeting. Last year’s winner, Melanie McBurney, presented this year’s Player of the Year award to Matt Grimes. Jeremy Hargis, as the 2020 recipient, presented the Hall of Fame award to Bill Jones.
The program concluded with a hilarious parody of the song “You’ll Be Back” from the musical Hamilton. Penned by Sarah Kieffner and performed by Jon Keiffner, “We’ll Be Back” celebrated the determined spirit of our Pull-Tight membership. Jon in his makeshift king’s costume, proceeding down the length of the picnic shelter to the strains of “God Save the King,” was the perfect end to a great evening.
Despite rain, heat, and pandemic restrictions, the 2021 “kNOt” Awards Picnic was a welcome opportunity to gather as a theatre family. We pulled tight once again.
To see the fun, scroll through these photos by Jeanne Drone.