Cyrano’s theater honored by Governor

Sandy Harper of Cyrano's.
Sandy Harper of Cyrano’s.

State leaders have been grappling with the bleak chore of reining in deficit spending, but tonight there is cause for celebration in Juneau. The annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities takes place tonight in the capital city. Awards will be given to outstanding Alaskans for their work in advancing art and humanities.

One of tonight’s recipients is Cyrano’s theater company in Anchorage. The small theater will receive the Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities.

Sandy Harper, the long time owner of Cyrano’s will accept the award in Juneau this evening. Harper and her late husband, Jerry opened Cyrano’s Off Center Playhouse in 1992.

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Sandy Harper is the owner of Cyrano’s theater company in Anchorage. She picked the plays and directors for the 2016 season but is passing the torch to Teresa Pond, who is the new Producing Artistic Director.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori