AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- The Augusta Jr. Players won the top prize over the weekend at the Georgia Theater Conference. It’s a convention where various groups compete with short plays, participate in workshops and students can audition for scholarships.

The cast of Sister Act Jr. ranges in age from 13 to 18-years old. They competed against and beat adult casts at the conference.

“It was extremely overwhelming,” laughed Roy Lewis, the show’s director and Artistic Director of the Augusta Jr. Players.

Courtesy: Hernandez Family.

When the Augusta Jr. Players performance of Sister Act Jr. was announced as the winners of the Georgia Theater Conference, Lewis was shocked.

“I had sat through all of the performances and was sitting there thinking ‘Ok. These are adults. They’re trained. They were really good at what they were doing,” explained Lewis.

The production won Best Show, Best Director (Roy Lewis), Best Choreography (Danielle Vergara) and Best Ensemble. They also won Best Actress (Kelsie Johnson), Best Supporting Actor (Raleigh Koutalidis) and had two actors named to the All Star Cast (Chyra Strong and Raleigh Koutalidis.)
Lewis said he didn’t expect the show to do this well at the conference.

“Half of this cast is very young. Half of them had very little to no experience. We did have some strong veterans with us.”

Courtesy: Hernandez Family.

According to Lewis, the veteran actors took the less experienced kids under their wings. He said their bond as a cohesive ensemble is a lot of the reason they won.

“They speak loudly to the message of sisterhood, friendship, communication, loving one another and embracing each other’s differences.”

He said he is proud of the group and what they are learning as part of the Augusta Jr. Players.

“So for them to learn differences, and learn to communicate and learn to collaborate and to think sometimes for their own selves, are definitely things they can take out into the world for the rest of their lives,” Lewis smiled.

The Augusta Jr. Players will present Sister Act Jr. the weekend of November 4th at the Kroc Center.

They will continue to prepare for the next step in their journey, which is the Southeastern Theater Conference in Lexington, Kentucky in March.