Local student wins National Theater Award

From left: Hub's two All-Stars, Leah White & Will Hubik, and Outstanding Performance winner,...
From left: Hub's two All-Stars, Leah White & Will Hubik, and Outstanding Performance winner, Astryd Bergerson(Courtesy)
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 5:34 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Astryd Bergerson, who studies with Hub Performing Arts School in Lubbock, won a Freddie G award for Outstanding Performance by an Individual at the 2022 Junior Theater Festival West (JTF West).

The monumental weekend dedicated to rewarding and celebrating student-driven musical theater programs happened in person February 18-20, 2022, in Sacramento, CA.

Additionally, students Leah White and Will Hubik were distinguished as All-Stars, an outstanding group of two young performers from each group at the festival.

Each group performed 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior® musical for adjudicators at the festival.

Hub Performing Arts School presented Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical JR. for Khalia Davis, artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre; Steven G. Kennedy, iTheatrics vice president of publication and choreography supervisor; and Cindy Ripley, senior education consultant at iTheatrics.

“I was captivated with their number ‘Quiet.’ It was great how they showed the importance of playing with dynamics in music and movement. This group has built trust in its members because they were asked to take lots of risks. It was phenomenal to witness the community and connection in real-time,” said Davis about Hub Performing Arts School. Added Kennedy, “Matilda the Musical JR. can be a difficult piece, but Hub Performing Arts school was up for the challenge. This talented group tackled difficult choreography, a wonderful score, and maintained their characters throughout. Hub Performing Arts school had some real challenges with this production. Instead of canceling the production after a cast member was injured in a car accident, they made it work and came together as a real family.”

The Junior Theater Festival applauds and empowers young people and educators to create student-driven musical theater around the globe.

Hub Performing Arts School’s (HPAS) nationally recognized musical theatre program has been igniting the talents of future musical theatre performers in the South Plains through comprehensive triple threat (acting, singing & dancing) training. The program focuses on Stanislavski-based actor training and works to prepare students for professional theatre, educational theatre, or simply performance opportunities significant in their everyday lives.

HPAS promotes a hands-on approach for its theatre productions. Students perform and learn technical aspects such as lighting and set design. They even design the choreography and the blocking for each show. That emphasis on hard work and responsibility extends to philanthropic activities as well. Hub Performing Arts School is directed by Keely Umstot, a former student and now artistic director.

The group has enjoyed much success at past Junior Theater Festivals and has even appeared on the festival’s main stage.

Individuals from the group have also earned national recognition. Students Liberty DeLeon (2021 JTF Texas) and Kendra Dukatnik (2012 and 2011 JTF Atlanta) earned a Freddie G Outstanding Individual Performance. HPAS students Liberty DeLeon (2019), Jeron Robinson (2012), Mason Woods (2019) were selected to the call-back for future shoots for “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be-released musicals.

In 2011, Hub Performing Arts School co-founder and executive director Paula Chanda was one of eight educators from across the country selected to receive a Freddie G Fellowship. The Freddie G fellows receive a fully funded weekend for educators in New York City, complete with performances, celebrations, and workshops. In 2018, Ms. Chanda earned a Broadway Junior Slam award, a challenge where educators and students must work together to stage a scene and a song in an hour.

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