R. Kent Chambers-Wilson Elevated to Carbonell Coordinator
Jeff Kiltie, president of the Carbonell Awards, recently announced R. Kent Chambers-Wilson, a long-time Carbonell judge, has been promoted to the position of Carbonell Coordinator for the 2021-2022 theater season.
In his new position, R. Kent Chambers-Wilson will coordinate approximately 30 judges, including many new volunteer judges who have a passion for and openness to all kinds of theater.
“With his impressive combination of project management skills and extensive theatrical background as an actor, stage manager, assistant director, producer, sound designer, dramaturge and playwright, Kent Chambers-Wilson will be an incredible asset for our revitalized organization going forward,” Mr. Kiltie said in a statement. “He is not only a longtime Carbonell judge and will continue to serve as such, he also has been a board member and chairperson of the Theatre League of South Florida from 2016-2019, an awards judge for The Silver Palm Awards, coordinator of the Finstrom Festival of New Work and served on the Ambassadors Council for the National New Play Network.”
Mr. Chambers-Wilson’s new job entails working with theaters to look at their seasons and ensure seven judges are assigned to attend each show.
“Those judges will evaluate that show during its run,” he said, “and submit their evaluations to others who will take in all of those scores and come up with the winners of the 20 categories for eligible theaters during our ceremony, which will probably happen in November of 2022.”
A resident of Lauderdale Lakes, Mr. Chambers-Wilson, 65, has lived in South Florida for 21 years. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and said his love of theatre goes all the way back to his childhood.
“I didn’t major in theatre in college, because I just enjoyed doing it,” he said. “Plus, my parents insisted I major in something ‘real.’ Be a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, they said. Pick a career where you’ll make money.”
Although his parents didn’t support his artistic endeavors, Mr. Chambers-Wilson excelled at them anyway. He was a musician in high school, winning state chair for the instrument he played.
“I also acted in college and sang in the choir,” he said. “I then started working in regional theatre when I moved to Atlanta and did that for several years. When I moved back here, I leaned on my corporate abilities.”
Those abilities served him well as he now brings a great deal of business management/communications experience from working with firms such as Arreva, LLC, Citrix Systems, iCare.com and the Sun Sentinel.
“I’ve always done some form of software or technical support in positions I’ve had,” Mr. Chambers-Wilson said. “And I worked my way up into management. I’ve also done software training, so I stepped away from performing due to the constant traveling involved in my work. But I would always go to the theater when I was home and one of the Carbonell panelists kept seeing me at shows. At one point she asked me if I’d consider applying as a panelist. Twelve years later, I’m still with the Carbonells.”
He added his ability to deal with client demands and different personalities of staff members while meeting a bottom line for a corporate entity will serve him well as Carbonell Coordinator.
“That’s something I’ve done for years,” he said. “And my management skills all go back to the foundation of having worked as assistants to executives in the banking industry. I’m well versed in juggling and coordinating schedules, meeting demands and dealing with various types of personalities. I see this job as doing more of the same, but in an industry where my heart lies and for an organization I know and love.”
The Carbonells have been under fire recently for not being relevant enough and for overlooking many artists of color in the South Florida theatre scene. Mr. Chambers-Wilson said he understands that perception and agrees the Carbonell Awards need some upgrading and changing.
“One of the things I’ve often asked theaters that have brought up the question of why aren’t we nominating more people of color and awarding them is, why aren’t you hiring them?” he said. “If they’re not hiring female directors, say, or people of color to design shows or perform in them, or not bringing in more stories that are relevant to the community to bring in a particular audience, I can only say we can only evaluate what’s put in front of us.”
Mr. Chambers-Wilson added he hopes he can be a person South Florida theaters can engage with and have positive communication with them.
“I think it’s important to be a voice in bringing forth the message of our strive toward inclusion initiative,” he said. “We’ve brought in more people from the board and have changed many of our policies, not just pertaining to the awards aspect, but internal to the organization as well. And already having good relationships I enjoy with many theaters is going to build new bridges and further solidify some of the ones that are already there.”
Mr. Kiltie agreed.
“Over the last year, the Carbonell Awards has revised our entire judging process, making it more county-specific while maintaining our historic focus on recognizing and celebrating theatrical excellence on a regional basis,” he said. “In his new part-time position, Chambers-Wilson will coordinate approximately 30 judges, many of whom have been working with the awards organization for years, but also a lot of new volunteer judges, all very highly qualified, who have a passion for and openness to all kinds of theater, including plays, musicals, new works, classics, immersive and multidisciplinary theater.”
To learn more about the Carbonell Awards, log on to www.carbonellawards.org.