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Lost Flamingo awarded for building inclusivity

Ohio University’s Lost Flamingo Theater Company, or LFC, was awarded the Stonewall Leadership Award on Wednesday at the thirty-ninth Annual Leadership Awards Gala for OU students and organizations. 

LFC was honored in a crowded ceremony recognizing outstanding student leaders and organizations. The event was co-hosted by the Divisions of Student Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion. 

The Stonewall Leadership Award is awarded to student organizations for outstanding leadership that has improved the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students on and off OU’s campus. 

OU’s only student-run theater organization, LFC began in 2002 after its founders Hugh McMullen, Jes Daniels, Harland Chambers and Liz Brown created the company as an outlet for non-theater majors who performed recreationally or while in high school. The name stemmed from its founders feeling like “lost flamingos” in a crowd of other majors but using performances to come alive.

Carrie Love, a sophomore studying women's gender and sexuality studies and history pre-law, said she became involved with LFC and what it has to offer other students who are interested in performing. 

“I had heard about an organization that does Rocky Horror Picture Show every year, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it,” Love said. “We (had) our first round of auditions that first week of school, and I had auditioned for Rocky because that was something I was really interested in ...Through that production, I really found my home. I was so amazed at how absolutely loving, accepting and caring everyone was.”

Love said she played Eddie, a traditionally male-presenting role, which she said was a great experience. Rocky Horror Picture Show is just one of many productions Lost Flamingo puts on every year, along with other plays and musicals. 

Nicole Adams, a junior studying integrated mathematics and current treasurer of LFC, said the organization’s schedule includes productions every semester. 

“We do three plays and one musical every semester,” Adams said. “Every fall, our musical is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This semester, we have already performed two of our plays and one of our musicals. We've already performed God of Carnage, Reefer Madness and The Children's Hour, which was this semester's LGBTQ show, and this upcoming weekend, we will be performing the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”

Following several productions throughout the year and an application process for the Stonewall award, Adams was happily shocked to learn Lost Flamingo had won. She had doubts that the organization would win, as Lost Flamingo is the first organization to receive the award that is not explicitly associated with or created for the queer community.

Hailey Linenkugel, a senior studying sociology and media and social change and current president of LFC, said the application process included help from Adams and the rest of the executive board.

“When I found out about the awards, I thought that there are a lot of the descriptions that really fit our company and our mission,” Linenkugel said. “I asked if anyone on our exec board, which is made up of 11 people … would be interested in applying and Nicole's really enthusiastic about it, so she filled out the application."

She also explained how LFC is committed to proper representation in its performances and shows of diverse communities and how this was expressed in the application process for the Stonewall award. 

“It was very easy and concise and we have a lot to talk about within LFC and our commitment to diversity,” Linenkugel said. “We have a lot of that representation in our organization and so it was really easy for her (Nicole Adams) to come up with language to describe that … and I got an email a couple of weeks ago saying that we had won. We're all really excited.”

Adams accepted the Stonewall Leadership Award alongside Linenkugel on behalf of the executive board of LFC Wednesday night. The executive board represents various production and acting staff within the organization.


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