2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in the Arts Education
Joe Maniglia was child performer who would regularly organize talent shows and perform at family gatherings. Maniglia sharpened his talents and earned a B.A in theatre arts at Taylor University and studied at Chicago’s Second City Conservatory. He became involved with the Theatrikos Theatre Company when he and his family moved to Flagstaff. He has performed in numerous productions, including A Christmas Carol, Our Town, and Little Shop of Horrors, winning a Viola Award for his performance in God of Carnage.
Maniglia has shared his passion for theater with hundreds of young performers as Theatrikos’ Education Director. He develops, plans, and teaches (most of) the TheatriKids summer programming, reaching approximately 200 youth each summer. Additionally, he directs hundreds of youth in full productions year round. In addition to teaching acting, Maniglia also teaches TheatriKids youth stage management, running the theater’s light and sound boards, and all jobs backstage. Some of his students have gone on to act and to perform technical jobs in the theater’s MainStage productions.
Under Maniglia’s instruction, young participants learn and practice new skills, gaining poise, self-esteem, and confidence. Since 2010, Maniglia has directed or produced over 25 shows for TheatriKids. In August 2015, TheatriKids produced the popular rock opera, Les Miserables. Under the direction of Maniglia, the performersdemonstrated maturity and strong performance skills, tackling a production that is known for its heavy themes and challenging score. Maniglia demonstrates great respect for the talents and drive of his students and their ability to produce a difficult piece of theater.
Reaching out to actors with disabilities is important to Joe and another notable program of TheatriKids is Stage Buddies, producing annual shows featuring a team of veteran TheatriKids performers and youth with disabilities. The program has produced four shows thus far, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Honk Jr. Maniglia’s instruction, encouragement, and mentoring has encouraged young people, such as Areya Kugler (Viola Award-winner as Emerging Artist), to take leadership roles and direct their own projects. It is through programs like this that the TheatriKids program reaches a diverse group of young people in the community.
In 2016, Maniglia won the Governor’s Award for Arts in Education, Individual, Award. These awards were determined by more than 600 arts supporters, artists, advocates, and business leaders. He was recognized specifically for his ability to challenge his students, give them a thorough theater education, and his ability to use theater as a means of helping youth contemplate social issues.
Maniglia is an asset to the arts in Flagstaff. He works to ensure that every youth’s voice is heard and respected in the theater. His guidance allows students to feel confident and to take on leadership roles in the theater.