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TPS announces the Melissa Hines Award

Theatre Puget Sound (TPS) unveiled its newest award last night at the 2011 Gregory Awards – the Melissa Hines Award honoring individuals working behind the scenes to make theater possible.

Melissa was a beloved member of the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs team from 2004 to 2011. She passed away from cancer last April. She directed the Office’s funding programs, led the city’s arts education partnership with Seattle Public Schools, and increased access to the arts with focus on underserved communities.

Prior to her career in public service, Melissa spent 23 years at The Empty Space Theatre. In 1978, she began work in the box office and went on to guide the company, known for its bold and provocative productions, through 16 seasons as managing director.

A veteran arts administrator and devoted public servant, Hines preferred to stay out of the spotlight, instead working tirelessly behind the scenes. She was a mentor to many, a persuasive advocate and a faithful arts patron with a passion for theater.

TPS wants candidates with the same passion and drive that Hines brought to theater. This might be a dynamo staff person working on the business side of theater, a volunteer who always comes through, a stage manager or backstage hand who goes above and beyond. The award specifically honors those who make a significant impact in the current year. The 2012 recipient will be selected from submitted nominations. Nomination details and form will be available in 2012. For more information please contact

At the awards ceremony last night, TPS presented the 2011 Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award to theater art director Bill Forrester. The Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award honors individuals in the Puget Sound theatrical community who have given their time, energy and talents over a number of years and have had a widespread positive effect on the community. Melissa received the award in 2002.

Image: Melissa presents the Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award in October 2010 to M. Burke Walker, founding artistic director of The Empty Space Theatre. Photo: Mike Hipple, courtesy of Theatre Puget Sound.