PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School Theatre took home seven Jester Awards from Music Theatre Wichita for its “Little Mermaid” musical performance this week.

PHS, along with about 40 other schools across Kansas, were recognized for their efforts Sunday at Century II Convention Center in Wichita.

“Being involved in the Jester's organization is great for our program, and to be recognized in 17 categories for one show is a huge honor,” Director Greg Shaw said in a release. “It’s certainly humbling that they think highly of what we're doing here.”

The awards PHS earned this year are Outstanding Stage Crew, Outstanding Technical Achievement for Hazel Harper, Outstanding Artistic Guest for Maggie Stephens and Mollie Stephens, Outstanding Direction of Show for Shaw, Outstanding Lead Actress for McKenna Shaw as Ariel, a $1250 technical scholarship for Hazel Harper, and a $2500 performer scholarship for McKenna Shaw.

Additionally, PHS received nominations in ten other categories, including overall production, best ensemble/chorus, and vocal music direction.

“We try to never have expectations,” Shaw said. “It’s an honor to receive 17 nominations because theatre is very subjective.”

The director said the feedback from the judges served as the main takeaway from the awards ceremony. Shaw emphasized the importance of students and directors not resting on their laurels.

“We feel like we’re doing pretty good theater in Pittsburg, but when we put ourselves out there to be judged by a group of people who do not have an investment in us specifically, you get some real feedback to make sure you are teaching the right things, we’re learning the right things, and we’re focusing on the details necessary to do high-level theater,” he said. “Some years we’ll have more awards than others and that comes down to subjectivity, but the feedback is the real value.”

 — Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at bschmitz@morningsun.net.