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Named for the 18th century British actor and playwright who landed in Charles Towne after being shipwrecked near Port Royal — and is said to have penned the first play ever produced in America — the Footlight Players’ Anthony Aston Honors Gala recognizes individuals or organizations that have made “significant contributions to the arts or the cultural life of Charleston.” Three award recipients have been selected this year: Jonathan Green, Sam Stafford III, and Nancy Stafford.

Lowcountry native Jonathan Green is an internationally renowned artist whose art has been incorporated into ballet, music, theater (including last year’s Porgy & Bess Spoleto production), literature, film, and video documentaries.

Sam Stafford III acted with The Footlight Players from 1967-1971 and also served on The Footlight Players board of directors, even taking on the role of board president. Charleston native Nancy Webb Stafford’s mother was on the Players’ board of directors and Nancy started volunteering at the theater at 13. For 11 years, Nancy worked every aspect of the technical theater, learning from Emmett Robinson, Norman Webber, and Bill Easterby.

[image-3]The Aston Honors Gala takes place Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. at Hibernian Hall. The event is black-tie optional and tickets are $150 a pop; a $275 ticket includes a pre-event VIP reception with sponsors, honorees, and other distinguished guests. The mistress of ceremonies is Charleston native Lauren Hutton, a supermodel who has appeared on 27 American Vogue covers. Proceeds from the fete benefit The Footlight Players, now in their 85th season.