Each year, the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners and the Seminole Cultural Arts Council (SCAC) jointly select an individual (performer, visual artist, historian or author) who is a resident of Seminole County and has contributed time and talent for the enrichment of Seminole County. This year, they have recognized teacher, actor, producer and playwright John Didonna as the Seminole County Artist of the Year for 2018.
The award and a county resolution was presented to Mr. Didonna at the regularly scheduled morning meeting of the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners on June 26th in commission chambers in Sanford.
John Didonna is full-time Program Chair and Artistic Director of Theater at Valencia College. He received his BS in Theater from Syracuse University and MFA from UNC-Greensboro. Didonna founded the critically acclaimed Steampunk/Gothic Victorian troupe, Phantasmagoria, a creative fusion of storytelling, music, dance and aerial and large-scale puppetry which performs throughout the area.
Mr. Didonna has played diverse leading roles ranging from Frank N. Furter in “The Rocky Horror Show” to Lord Byron in “Blood Poetry”, from Sir Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons” to George in “Virginia Woolf”. As a produced playwright, he has written such works as “33rd”, “Nothing Happened”, “Stripped” and “Bathory-The Blood Countess” for example, and a tribute to Samuel Beckett on that playwright’s 102nd birthday. He has distinguished himself as director in a variety of stage offerings such as “12 Angry Men”, “Quills”, “The Tempest”, “Hair”, “9 Parts of Desire”, “Frozen”, Assassins”, and “Frost/Nixon”. His industrial directing credits include events for Dick Clark Corporate Productions.
He was recognized as Best Thespian 2008, received the John Goring Playwrights’ Round Table Achievement and Actor of the Year/People’s Choice awards in 2011, Best Director and Best Playwright Awards for 2013, honored as 2014’s Best Local Actor, and ranked among the Top 25 Junior & Community College Professors in 2014-15 (rated by students). He serves as a social media ambassador for the City of Sanford, sits on the Arts & Cultural Alliance Board of Directors, chaired the Red Chair Affair at the Bob Carr Theatre, holds the position of Co-Artistic Director of Empty Spaces, and works on local art projects with Sanford businesses.
Funded in part by Seminole County Government-BCC, the SCAC is a registered public 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. SCAC is an advocate for the preservation of local cultural and historic heritage, including performing, literary, visual arts and sciences and serves to sustain, develop and advance the cultural life of Seminole County.
Seminole Cultural Arts Council
SCAC is a catalyst for the preservation of local cultural and historic heritage, including performing, literary, visual arts and sciences; serving to sustain, develop and advance the cultural life of Seminole County.