Two trophies were recently donated to the Kingsport Archives by the Kingsport Theatre Guild. These trophies, or “Cups” documented the names of the winner of the Best Performer award for each production from 1951-1989.
Employees of Johnson Hilliard created the trophies from scrap copper due to the restricted use of new copper in the post-war era. Each employee, whatever their occupation, participated in some way, whether by re-rolling copper, burnishing the re-fashioned metal, or delivering the finished product.
The recipient got to take the Cup home with them until the winner of the next production in the season was announced. The cups are a wonderful, visual timeline of the Guild’s contribution to Kingsport’s cultural arts. We think the roster of names will prompt many memories for anyone who reads them.
For this post, photographs and programs from the original Kingsport Theatre Guild Collection, KCMC 275, have been paired with images of the trophies to connect the reader with the performance featured.
In 1986, the second cup was lost until 1999, when it was returned after a 13-year absence. We are glad they are safe in the archives, together! Come visit the Johnson Hilliard Cups during Archives hours. W 2-5, W-Thu 9-12, 2-5. It will put a smile on your face.