Carmelita Becnel, the production stage manager for the Program in Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts, has received the 2021 Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award. Becnel is honored along with Mona Fixdal, associate director at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.
The award was established to honor Griffin — a 1923 alumnus who served as the longtime secretary and general secretary of Princeton’s Alumni Council — through a gift from his son James, a 1955 alumnus; his granddaughter, Barbara Griffin Cole, a 1982 alumna; and her husband, Chris Cole, a 1981 alumnus. The award is given by the Office of Human Resources to recognize administrators who would like to develop their leadership and management skills. The winners receive a grant of up to $2,500 to participate in professional activities scheduled within the next year to provide new insights and perspectives, renew motivation and/or enhance skills applicable to their current responsibilities.
As production stage manager for the theater program, Becnel was cited as the “linchpin” to all events, rehearsals, and productions in the nomination by Chloe Brown, production manager, and Marion Friedman Young, executive director at the Lewis Center. Carmelita is also a central figure in helping students reach their artistic goals by creating rehearsal and audition rooms where students feel safe to take the emotional risks of performing and creating art together.
In her primary role of training and mentoring student stage managers, Carmelita serves as a safety net, encouraging and teaching students as they learn to support student thesis theater projects. Often, she is the first person students turn to for advice about how to handle a difficult situation in the rehearsal room or theater. As a supportive and motivating creative force, Carmelita enables all students to thrive.
Carmelita is at the forefront of racial justice initiatives and has educated herself through study and training on anti-racism, consent, intimacy, and related topics. The Griffin Award will enable Carmelita to continue being an advocate for vulnerable students and to lead conversations about safe rehearsals and brave spaces with the Princeton student body, faculty and staff. She will attend the 2021 Arts Administrators of Color Network Conference and will take training through “A One-on-One Stage Manager Theater Anti-Racist/Intimacy Workshop” with Anne James, Founder of Intimacy Directors of Color.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of creating a new theater culture within our Lewis Center for the Arts and Princeton University communities. As the LCA states as part of our mission statement “we are committed to being an action-based, anti-racist space” and I am thrilled to be a part of the forefront of that, always looking forward and exploring new ways to change the way we make theater.”
— Carmelita Becnel
Learn more about the Griffin Award and the other Princeton employees honored for special achievement on the Princeton University news page.