SERVICES > Governor's Arts Awards > 2012 GAA Award Winners
2012 GAA Excellence in Arts Education Award
Connie Dillow (Wahoo)
For those who know Connie Dillow, it’s hard to mention her name without automatically picturing a dramatic pose. In her career, Connie lived and breathed theatre. She was born on September 30th, 1931. Connie was “born and raised in North Dakota” as she will proudly tell you, with her parents, Frank and Helen Isaacson, and brother Bill. Her passion for drama began at the Black Hills Community Playhouse in 1950. She received her B.A. in 1953 and M.A. in 1954 both in Dramatic Arts from the University of Minnesota. She went to New York and did post graduate work in Religious Drama at Columbia University and Method Acting Study at the Actors Studio. While in New York, she performed in three off Broadway productions. Throughout her career, she acted in 72 roles in 480 performances. However, many would say her true gift in theatre was directing. In 50 years she directed 151 full-scale productions for college, community, high school, children’s and professional theatres.
On February 1st, 1960, Connie was wed to the tall, dark and handsome man of her dreams, Ted Dillow, whom she met while they were working at Parson’s College in IA. Together they raised four children - Eric, Tanya, Tamra and Tori. After Parson’s, she was the Drama Professor at John F. Kennedy College in Wahoo, NE for 10 years. Following that, she became the Drama Teacher for Wahoo Public Schools for 20 years. During that time, she also began the Advanced Theatre Company for Lincoln Public Schools. This program for high school students met at the Lincoln Community Playhouse for 25 years under her leadership. It’s hard for Connie to go anywhere that she doesn’t run into someone whose life she’s touched with her dedication to theatre over the years.
Connie also cherished working with children. Many children who first came to know her through the Kids Summer Institute in Wahoo, NE, during a 15 year span, or through the Nebraska Arts Council Artist-In-Schools/Communities program over a 25 year span, later became her high school drama students, including her own children. She inspired them all to love and appreciate different aspects of the theatre.
Tragically, Connie lost her beloved husband in a car accident in July of 1992. Her life has never been the same, but she continued pursuing her passion in the theatre as “the show must go on.”
Connie’s talents have also been seen in commercial work for Channel 10-11 in
Lincoln, heard on Nebraska Public Radio, and read when she reviewed plays for the Lincoln Journal Star. Later in her career, she enjoyed doing advertisements for Senior Technologies in Lincoln.
While Connie has previously received many awards for her acting and directing, two are standouts. In 1998 Connie was inducted into the Educational Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame for Educational Theatre in San Diego, CA. In 2002 she received the Mayor’s Arts Award in Lincoln for her Dedication to Arts Education. Connie has devoted her life as a beacon for others.