Theatre teacher Greg Shaw has been honored with the International Thespian Society (ITS) Spirit of Thespis Award. A discretionary honor it may recognize up to three schools or individuals that, when faced with a serious challenge, demonstrated grace under pressure.
Shaw is the Director of Theatre at Pittsburg High School in Kansas and serves as the director of Thespian Troupe 3149. He has taken numerous productions to Kansas Thespian Festival including the 2020 opening show Pippin, and to the International Thespian Festival including in 2019, Bring It On, the Kansas Thespians All State Musical.
He also serves on the Kansas Thespians Board of Directors. He has continued this service, and his teaching, during a difficult battle with cancer.
In nominating him for the award Jennifer Morgan-Beauchat, director of Thespian Troupe 287 in Leavenworth, Kansas, described Shaw as being gritty, creative, determined, and a stalwart advocate for his students and program.
“He is considered by many to be a fine director, teacher, and friend,” she said, adding she wishes the Spirit of Thespis Award “will offer hope and inspiration to an amazing person who represents theatre in our schools with grace and class.”
The award was presented as part of a teacher tribute at the first-ever Virtual International Thespian Festival, held June 22-26.
"This surprise was very special — and no one can usually surprise me!," Shaw said. "I am very honored to have received the award. We always start every pre-show by saying, 'if it falls pick it up, if someone falls, help them up.' This award definitely exemplifies this motto. I couldn’t accept this without recognizing the team that helped me when my health was suffering. Jason Huffman, Chuck Boyles, Cooper Neil, Susan Laushman, Kimberly Arzoian, Julie Laflen, Andra Stefanoni, Ray Cornell, my daughter, McKenna, the drama mamas and papas, my students, the teachers and administration and I’m sure I’m missing some! None of our success has ever stemmed from luck. Hard work, talent and confidence in our team is what makes PHS Theatre thrive."