County Seat earns best show honor at state festival


March 31, 2023


Group photo of the cast and crew of "Tracks."

Attending its first statewide one-act play festival since 2019, the County Seat Theater Company took home top honors this past weekend for its performance of "Tracks," by Peter Tarsi.

The Cloquet-based community theater group won Best of Festival at the biannual Minnesota Association of Community Theatres one-act play festival in Glenwood, Minnesota.

The acting troupe also won the following awards: Outstanding Achievement by an acting Ensemble, Outstanding Achievement in Directing to husband and wife duo Jenn and Joel Soukkala, Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design to Joel Soukkala and Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design to Jenn Soukkala.

"It was so gratifying to see all their hard work and talent recognized and rewarded," said the theater's artist director Greg Anderson. "This was yet another example of how much this area and this theater have to offer."

"Tracks" is a 50-minute drama wherein a group of strangers meet in a dirty subway station with no recollection of how they got there or where they are going. Each person has arrived with limited personal belongings and they all claim to be in different cities and have no sense of time. Soon they learn there is no way out of the station, and discover an unfortunate truth, which raises even more questions.

County Seat and its production of "Tracks" will advance to the Region 5 festival hosted by the American Association of Community Theaters in Salina, Kansas, April 20-23.

The two directors called it an "exhilarating experience."

"We couldn't be more proud of our cast and crew. Everybody has put in so much hard work and dedication to make this production great," said Joel and Jenn, adding that it was an honor "to be acknowledged in this way."

If you missed the first weekend of local shows, it's not too late. County Seat will present the final weekend of performances at the Encore Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. March 30-31 and at 2 p.m. April 1 and 2. The show will also be available On Demand March 31-April 2. Reserve tickets by calling the box office at 218-878-0071 or online at

As part of the performance, the cast and crew will follow contest protocol and construct their set within a 10-minute time frame in front of the audience. Prior to the show, audience members can stroll through the art gallery and take part in a silent auction to help raise funds to assist in travel expenses to Salina. The auction will also be posted on the County Seat Theater Facebook page throughout the run of the show.

In 2011, after winning the regional competition, County Seat took its one-act production of "Wiley and the Hairy Man" to nationals and then to Japan.


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