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DES MOINES, Iowa – As part of the 2019-20 Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA), Des Moines Performing Arts announces the recipient of the 2020 Technical Theater Scholarship that recognizes one graduating Iowa senior pursuing a technical theater major or minor at an accredited college or university. The $10,000 scholarship, introduced in 2018 due to the generous support of Central Iowa community members Doug and Debbie West, will be awarded to Sarah Witmer, Dallas Center-Grimes High School. EMC Insurance Companies in the Presenting Sponsor of the IHSMTA program.

“Since the launch of the IHSMTA program in 2012, there have been many opportunities to recognize and uplift Iowa high school students – both on stage and off. This scholarship underscores the value and need for highly trained technical theater experts and will provide a lasting impact to a deserving student as they continue their training at a university level,” said Sarah Florian, Des Moines Performing Arts Education Program Coordinator. “We are honored by the generous leadership gift from Doug and Debbie West for making this scholarship, one of the largest scholarships of its kind, possible and their commitment to the program into the future.”

More details regarding the 2020 Technical Theater Scholarship recipient can be found below.


Sarah Witmer

Dallas Center-Grimes High School, Class of 2020

“Participating in the theater arts challenges me every single day to be better than I was yesterday,” shares Sarah Witmer about what she has learned as a stage manager. Sarah has stage managed multiple theatrical productions at her high school and within the community, while also exploring other aspects of technical theater to become a well-rounded practitioner. Sarah looks forward to majoring in Technical Theater Design at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota starting this fall.

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is a yearlong education program launched by Des Moines Performing Arts. Throughout the year, performing arts professionals and educators serve as adjudicators to review musical productions and offer constructive feedback to each of the participating high schools. The program has continued to grow by leaps and bounds since its inaugural year in 2012. A statewide initiative, the 2019-2020 school year has welcomed 86 participating schools with more than 5,000 students into the program.

For additional information regarding the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, please visit

About Des Moines Performing Arts

Des Moines Performing Arts is a private not-for-profit organization celebrating 41 seasons of presenting the performing arts to Iowa and the surrounding states on four stages in Des Moines – the Civic Center, the Stoner Theater, the Temple Theater and the newly renovated outdoor space, Cowles Commons. Des Moines Performing Arts is a presenter of major Broadway and educational touring companies, performers and groups, and is home to many local and regional groups, including the Des Moines Symphony. All performances of the Broadway Series are supported by Willis Auto Campus. All performances at the Temple Theater are supported by Prairie Meadows. All performances of the Family Series are supported by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. For more information, visit