Retired Professors of Theatre Harold Dixon and David Vining received the annual Arizona Theatre Service Awards at the general membership meeting of the Phoenix/Tucson Equity Liaison Committee, on Monday, September 27, 2004 in Phoenix. The award was created last year by the Committee specifically to recognize a person's (or persons') long-term impact on professional theatre in Arizona. The 2003 recipient was former theatre critic Max McQueen.
“Harold and David have had a huge impact on theatre in Arizona,” says Liaison Committee Chair Charles St. Clair. “They’ve taught many students who’ve gone on to work regionally and nationally and they’ve both practiced what they’ve preached by directing and performing at every level of professional theatre in the State.” Coincidentally, they worked with each other in Minnesota before accepting positions at Arizona State University (Vining) and the University of Arizona (Dixon).
Harold Dixon joined Actors' Equity Association in 1972 at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis (and SAG in 1979 in Arizona). He was the founding Artistic Director of the Arizona Repertory Theatre, the professional actor training company at the University of Arizona, and he served as acting/directing area head for 20 years. Most recent acting credits: A Life in the Theatre (Teatro Canovas, Malaga, Spain), A Streetcar Named Desire, Over the Moon, and Much Ado About Nothing (Arizona Theatre Company) Later Life and (upcoming) My Old Lady (Invisible Theatre, Tucson); The Guys (Open Theatre, Tucson), Intimate Letters (off-Broadway, NYC), the title role in King Lear (Arizona Repertory Theatre), Side by Side by Sondheim (MusicTheatre AZ), A Christmas Carol (as Scrooge; Phoenix Symphony Orchestra); Sailing to Byzantium (Actors' Rep of Sedona), Six Degrees of Separation (Phoenix Theatre), and Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Sedona). He has also appeared on camera in several films and television shows. He has directed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (Irene Ryan Competition).
Recent directing credits for Arizona Repertory Theatre include Carousel (in progress), Metamorphoses, The Cider House Rules (AZ Daily Star 2003 MAC Awards for Best Production and Best Direction), The Kentucky Cycle, Kiss Me Kate, and Measure For Measure. This Spring, he will direct And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson for Phoenix Theatre. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and the University of Redlands, he is the recipient of the Kennedy Center Medallion of Excellence (1989) for work with the American College Theatre Festival. In 1998, he was awarded the College of Fine Arts James Anthony Award for sustained excellence in teaching; and was recently named University Distinguished Professor, the first and only one in the College of Fine Arts. Many of his former students can be found performing on Broadway, in national tours, in regional theatres, in films and on television, as well as teaching at colleges and universities across the nation. Harold and his actress wife of 33 years, Maedell, are most proud of their two children, Shannon and Wes.
David Vining became involved in theatre when he was a youngster in Germany in the 1950s, first appearing in the tap line of a variety of musical revues and productions. He acted, sang and danced in a variety of school and community productions until he came to California in 1966 to the University of Redlands. It was there he first became friends with Harold Dixon — they acted and participated in many plays together; graduated with degrees in Theatre and began grad school in the fall of 1970 at the University of Minnesota.
David began his university teaching career in 1972 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, having recently completed his MFA in Acting at the University of Minnesota. David taught at the University of Iowa for three years, serving as the voice and speech specialist for the MFA Acting Program and contributing to the production program as voice and dialect coach, guest actor (in productions of The Lion in Winter, Godspell, Cabaret and No Sex Please, We're British) and director (The Entertainer).
In 1975, he married Janice Robillard, had a son with her (Robin) and moved his new family to Tempe, Arizona, where he took on a new position as Assistant Professor in Speech and Theatre at Arizona State University. David was hired to teach all the voice, speech and movement classes for the department as well as most of the acting classes.
David was also very active with the American College Theatre Festival and helped organize the local festival, the AzCTF.
In 1988 David was chosen by the university to represent ASU in a consortium program based at the University of London for the 1988-1989 academic year, teaching a variety of theatre courses designed to make use of the unique opportunities afforded by the richness of the London theatre scene. That same season David played the title role in David Barker’s production of Mamet’s Edmond in Drama City and appeared in the leading role of George Riley in Actors Theatre of Phoenix’s inaugural production in the Herberger Theatre, Tom Stoppard’s Enter a Free Man.
In his last semester at ASU in the spring of 2004 David had the great joy of playing Firs in Marshall Mason’s production of The Cherry Orchard with longtime pal Victoria Holloway as Lyubov and Jeff McMahon as Gaev.
In the spring of 2003 David and his long time partner, Ron Glazier, were joined in a civil union in Vermont. They are currently living in Greeley, Colorado where Ron is in graduate school studying School Psychology.