Cephe Place is announced Leo Award winner

Wayside Theater has announced that this year’s Leo Award recipient is Cephe Place.

The award was presented by Byron Brill, president of the board of directors of the Wayside Foundation of the Arts, on June 23, opening night of Wayside’s current production, “Boeing Boeing.”

The Leo M, Bernstein Award is given each year to recognize one or more individuals who have contributed selflessly to benefit the theater.

In a speech leading into the medal presentation for dedicated service to Wayside Theatre, former Wayside artistic director Warner Crocker spoke about Place’s service to the theater. As sales and marketing coordinator and box office manager, she was an integral part of Wayside Theatre, he said.

“For the thousands of audience members who have come to see a show at Wayside Theatre during her tenure, she was their first introduction to Wayside Theatre,” his speech said. “She corralled the many volunteer ushers, kept the media informed, and was the touchstone for many of our visiting artists who knew nothing about the Northern Shenandoah Valley. For many, Cephe Place was Wayside Theatre.”

Place also has credits as a writer, director, producer and actor, having directed the 2002-2003 Wayside Theatre Touring Season productions “84” and “Charing Cross Road” and performed in Wayside Reader Theatre’s production of “The Women.”

Before her tenure at Wayside, Place was producer and director of the Handley Library Children’s Theatre for 25 years. She served as the resident director of Front Royal Little Theatre for seven years, and for four years she was the director for the Blue Ridge Players. Some of her directing credits include “Blithe Spirit,” “A Thousand Clowns,” “Bell, Book and Candle” and “Spoon River Anthology.” She has also authored many children’s plays including “Tom Sawyer” and “The Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever.”

Place received her BS in theater and education from James Madison University and her MBA from Shenandoah University, and she is a Virginia licensed teacher in four subjects areas. She has a husband Roger, two sons Jason and Chris, and grandchildren Isabella, Ethan and Sloan.