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Spotlight Awards

A program dedicated to honoring the educational endeavors of high school theatres in Tennessee

Students on stage at the Spotlight Awards

A group of students pose on stage after a number during the Spotlight Awards

The Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or the "Spotlight Awards," has been a huge success since its inception in 2013. The mission of this program is to unite high school musical theatre programs in Nashville and its surrounding counties, offering adjudication, special workshops, and an exceptional awards ceremony. In 2016, Lipscomb University's Department of Theatre and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) collaborated to develop and host the event together, securing one of the most unique partnerships in Nashville. Thousands of high school students have participated in the exciting program, and in May 2017, the awards ceremony moved to TPAC's Jackson Hall, the largest performance stage in Tennessee. Thanks to TPAC's membership in the Broadway League, the Spotlight Awards can send the qualifying outstanding lead actor and outstanding lead actress to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards or the "Jimmy Awards." This is a fun-filled and challenging ten day event each June featuring the most talented high school actors from all over the country working with the best of Broadway.

How does the program work?

Area high schools within two hours of driving distance from TPAC are invited to submit one musical per school year. TPAC sends several adjudicators of the finest professional quality to view one of their performances, which receive full adjudication and scores. In September, all participating schools are invited to a day of free workshops on Lipscomb University’s campus, and in May, all are invited to an awards ceremony at TPAC hosted by a special guest from Broadway.

How much does it cost?

Registration for the Spotlight Awards is $300. The price includes the adjudicator visits to your production, feedback from adjudicators, workshops at Lipscomb University, master class opportunities throughout the school year, and up to 40 seats at the awards ceremony at TPAC. 

A woman speaks on stage at the Spotlight Awards

Over 35 adjudicators participate in judging students talents

Award Categories

School Awards: Outstanding Vocals, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Hair and Makeup Design, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Set Design, Outstanding Orchestra, Outstanding Sound Design, Outstanding Technical Execution, Outstanding Design Concept, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Musical

Individual Awards: Outstanding Male Dancer, Outstanding Female Dancer, Outstanding Male Soloist, Outstanding Female Soloist, Outstanding Ensemble Actor, Outstanding Ensemble Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Outstanding Comedic Actor, Outstanding Comedic Actress, Outstanding Dramatic Actor, Outstanding Dramatic Actress, Outstanding Technical Achievement, Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress, All-Star Cast, All-Star Crew


Cost: $300 per school.

All registered schools will be invited to attend the ceremony. Tickets to the ceremony will be provided for up to 40 per school. Any additional seats may be purchased via TPAC's ticketing site.


To enter, please complete the online registration and payment. This is the preferred registration, but if you wish to send a check for payment, please first fill out the registration form online, and then mail a check made out to the following address:

Lipscomb University Department of Theatre

c/o Beki Baker

One University Park Dr., Nashville, TN 37204

High school girls participate in a group number on stage

As a culmination of the program, students participate in a full day of workshops on Lipscomb's campus

Once we receive your completed registration, we will coordinate a team of adjudicators to view one of your performances. All adjudicators receive special training hosted by TPAC to ensure as equitable and balanced a process as possible. They will each have a rubric that will be the scoring for the show. Their completed rubric will be sent to individual school directors after the performance. At the end of the school year, TPAC compiles the critiques and scores from each show to determine the awards, hosting an intensive lead actor/actress audition and grand ceremony in the biggest hall.