Congratulations, Providence Players Scholarship Winners!

On June 8, Providence Players announced the winners of its 2019 Scholarship program at the theater just prior to a performance of its spring production, Leaving Iowa.  Congratulations to:

Naomi Bertha, Justice High School
Natalie Carreiro, Lake Braddock High School

Ethan O’Donovan, Bishop O’Connell High School 
Kelly Ward, W.T. Woodson High School

(Bookends) Board members, Kevin Harnisch (Scholarship Selection Committee Chair) and Janet Bartelmay (Immediate Past President) pose with scholarship winners, Natalie Carreiro, Naomi Bertha, Ethan O’Donovan and Kelly Ward.  Photo by Chip Gertzog.

As a way of nurturing future theater artists and recognizing the contribution graduating high school seniors have made to the arts community in our region, Providence Players of Fairfax has established a scholarship program that provides scholarships to college-bound students from area high schools. Scholarships are limited each year. This year, we were able to award scholarships, each of $1125.00, to four 2019 graduating seniors with a demonstrated commitment to theater arts who have been accepted to a U.S. accredited college or university or conservatory program with an intent to further contribute to theater arts.

Here is a little more about our winners (all photos by Chip Gertzog):

Naomi Bertha is a graduate of Justice High School (in Falls Church).  Naomi has been involved in her high school theater productions all of her four years as well performing various roles with outside community theaters. Additionally, Naomi was a Cappies high school critic of productions performed by other high schools. An important role as the Cappies make annual awards based on their critic’s evaluations.  In addition to being awarded the Rising Thespian Of the Year award, Naomi was president of the International Thespian Society. On top of balancing all of this, she was a member of the National Honors Society for all four years and a full IB diploma graduate.  Naomi, is part of an Air Force family, who got the acting bug shortly after moving to Norway for a few years while in elementary school. In her scholarship application she told us: “When I am acting, I am the happiest version of myself. Simply, theatre just brings me joy.” As one of her scholarship recommendations stated: “Naomi’s natural exuberance, her firm and positive leadership, her ability to juggle academics and personal pursuits, and her desire for success will make her an asset to any college program.”  Naomi will pursue a degree in theatre, at Virginia Commenwealth University (VCU).

Natalie Carreiro is a graduate of Lake Braddock High School. Natalie’s focus has been on the technical aspect of theater production. In recognition of her talents, she has been awarded multiple awards including a Cappie Award for best hair and makeup design and several state and regional awards. Natalie is member of the National Arts Honors Society.  As one of her recommenders stated, “Natalie is interested in studying technical theater, particularly set design, lighting, props, and sound. She is ridiculously passionate about the topic.” Since February 2019, she has been honing her technical skills working as a Props Artisan and Painter at the commercial enterprise, RoomEscape, for about 35 hours per week.  Her school artistic director for three years commented, “Natalie succeeded with grace, aptitude, and competence that is almost impossible to find in this business.  She is consistently even-headed and extremely bright and talented woman. She will excel in any advanced, intensive study she will encounter.”  And that study will be at the University of North Carolina School of the arts, School of Design and Production, Stage Properties Program.

Ethan O’Donovan  is a graduate of Bishop O’Connell High School.  Ethan became involved in musical theater in fifth grade and has continued that involvement since then, both in school and outside of school.  At O’Connell he performed as Bert in Mary Poppins and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.  He performed at the Cappies Gala at Kennedy Center and participate in the JTF Festival in Atlanta where he was cited for an All Star award.  Ethan was active in O’Connell’s Praise Band and Honors Jazz Band and received numerous academic honors.  Ethan will be attending the Steinhardt School at New York University where he will study vocal performance in musical theater.



Kelly Ward  is a graduate of W.T. Woodson High School.  Kelly discovered her love of the technical side of theater at Woodson.  Throughout high school, she served as stage manager and set designer for various productions, winning the admiration of students and staff.  The Theater Arts Director at Woodson cites Kelly as among the top one percent of students she has had the pleasure to have taught.  Outside of school, Kelly has shadowed professional stage managers off and on Broadway.  She has been awarded numerous academic honors, including recognition as a National Merit Commended Student and a candidate for the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars program.  Kelly plans to work professionally as a stage manager and possibly set designer.  She will attend Boston College in the fall.

Enjoy these additional photos from the ceremony.  All photos by Chip Gertzog.