From left, top row, are Gabrielle DeSena, Giana DiFebbo, Keli Ganey and Kennedy Heinrichs. From left, bottom row, are Nikolaj Folmer, Paige Suthard, Ryan Young and Shane Stoltz.

NEWTOWN >> This year has presented a historic challenge for many and live theater has been no exception.

With the onset of the COVID 19 Pandemic and government declarations limiting the ability to come together in the usual historic venue, the Newtown Theatre, Newtown Arts Company chose to cancel its 2020 season for the safety of its audiences, casts and production crews.

However, in show business fashion, “the show must go on.”

In this case the show became virtual and the mission to carry through on the company’s promise to award scholarships to high school seniors pursuing higher education in the performing or fine arts was fulfilled during a day of live filming June 15 in front of the Newtown Theatre.

Each of this year’s recipients presented an application, authored an essay and auditioned virtually before a panel of experts.

In eight individual ceremonies each student was presented with a plaque and a check in recognition of their past efforts and their future endeavors. The awards ceremonies will be posted to the Newtown Arts Company website at

This year’s Newtown Arts Company Joe McKernan Scholarship Award recipients are Gianna DiFebbo of Churchville and Ryan Young of Newtown. A graduate of Council Rock High School South, DiFebbo plans to attend Shenandoah Conservatory to major in Musical Theater studies. A graduate of Council Rock High School-North, Young plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh to major in Computer Science & Mathematics with goal of including a community theater component.

The 2020 Newtown Arts Company Ray Fritschy Scholarship Award recipient is Paige Suthard of Newtown. Suthard, a graduate of Council Rock High School North plans to attend the University of Arizona in Tuscon where she aims to attain a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management.

Newtown Arts Company 2020 Scholarships also were awarded to Kennedy Heinrichs of Holland, a graduate of Council Rock High School South who plans to attend Rhode Island School of Design to major in Illustration; Gabrielle DeSena of Newtown, a graduate of Council Rock High School North whose goal is to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York to major in Fine Arts; Nikolaj Folmer of Newtown, a graduate of Council Rock High School North who plans to attend Fordham University to major in New Media & Digital Design and Lighting Design; Shane Stoltz of Holland, a graduate of Council Rock High School South who plans to attend Indiana University to major in Musical Theater; and Keli Ganey of Yardley, a graduate of Calvary Christian Academy who plans to attend Messiah University with a double major in History and Theater.

Since 1983 Newtown Arts Company has been dedicated to supporting the theatre arts in the heart of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This mission is accomplished through the production of family-friendly live theatre, the granting of scholarships and the development of theatre arts education for area residents. During the past four decades Newtown Arts Company has awarded more than $180,000 in scholarship grants.

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