Known for his wit, eloquence, charm and passion for theatre, Roger Grooms supported the artistic growth of theater in our region throughout his long career as an educator, film and dramatic critic, actor and director of plays and musicals. This award is therefore given annually in Roger’s memory to honor an individual who has demonstrated dedication to raising the artistic quality of community theater production through active teaching and/or by demonstrating sustained excellence in the categories of directing, acting. Choreography, musical or vocal direction.
The Milford Theater Guilde nominated long-time TDW veteran Ginny Chizer for this prestigious award. Ginny becomes only the second recipient, and this is her second major award from Act Cincinnati since receiving the Art Rouse award in 1999.
Virginia Chizer has had a long career as a teacher and International Thespian Society troupe sponsor in Cincinnati. Ginny, as she is known to her friends and family, taught at Oak Hills High School for 24 years, serving as drama teacher, coach, and director. In 15 years as a director, she directed more than 50 productions. She built the drama department from one class per semester to three. She also created an “Advanced Acting” course.
Ginny’s troupe at Oak Hills was extremely active in all aspects of Thespians. Two of her students served on the state board. She had a student in the first All-Ohio show and had at least one student (and often two or three) in every Area and State show thereafter until her retirement in 1993. Two of Ginny’s students participated in the International Thespian cast of A Chorus Line, performing mainstage at the International Festival. More than a dozen of Ginny’s students went on to become teachers, most of them in drama.
Ginny has attended the International Thespian Festival for the past seventeen consecutive years. While there, she served as a security person and has helped in smaller theatres and with workshops. She volunteered at EdTA headquarters after her retirement and, in 1994, worked there, organizing college auditions for the International Festival. Ginny has also attended EdTA national conferences in Las Vegas, New York City, and Toronto. She has also attended many conferences on the area and state level, teaching workshops, screening, and responding to performances.
In 1980, Ginny was chosen as one of 40 teachers nation-wide for a scholarship to the Ancient, Shakespearean and Modern Drama seminar at Ohio Wesleyan University. A personal highlight of her career was being a “Citizen Ambassador” with the People to People Foundation, traveling with 27 other drama teachers and professional directors to China to visit theatre preparatory schools.
Ginny has been a member of The Drama Workshop for over 35 years, appearing in countless shows and producing and directing many others. She has been an adjudicator for ACT-Cincinnati for 11 years, and a responder for OCTA for 6 years. She has served on both ACT and OCTA boards many times, and in 1999-2000 was in charge of all workshops at the OCTA State Conference. Ginny is chairman of the 2000-2001 OCTA Guide/Respondent program.
The Drama Workshop congratulates Ginny for this achievement!
*Excerpts of the article courtesy of the Ohio Educational Theater Association