The Heller Awards Have Gone Digital and It’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Seen This Year


We think it’s safe to say that this past year has been unlike any other… but Austin’s students, teachers, and arts education programs have persevered! When we started the Heller Awards for Young Artists in 2013 (you know, way back in the GAHSMTA days) our goal was always arts education and community building over competition. What we never imagined, is that it would be the leader in virtual theatrical production.

Now that we’re coming up on the 8th Annual HAYA Awards Ceremony — don’t forget to tune in Sunday night at 7:30pm and cheer on our 2021 Nominees — we thought it was time to make sure everyone knew what this program was all about plus what has made this year so special, above it all.

The 2021 Awards Ceremony is unbelievable, to say the least — with performances featuring over 250 high school students, 40 students filmed at Austin’s Co-Production House using the same virtual production studio technology as The Mandalorian, and boundless amounts of heart and celebration — here’s a little rundown on what you might have missed this year.

So, what are the Heller Awards for Young Artists?

Each year, this program works with 30+ high schools and 4,500+ students from across Central Texas to provide resources and key support systems for musical theatre programs including professional training, mentorship, master classes, performance opportunities, and industry networking.

Culminating in a sold-out annual Awards Ceremony with uproarious cheers and lots of happy tears, these students have the opportunity to come together to perform at the Long Center, learn from one another’s experience, grow their artistic abilities, and build lasting connections.

Although this school year has been more than challenging, our commitment to arts education has not changed. Because the show must go on, and so the HAYAs made it so!

Theatre for the Digital World

Creativity was our priority this year, and to make sure students could continue to create, develop their own creativity, and feel inspired, we completely transformed the HAYAs for 2021. This mean forgoing the usual school-to-school competition that highlighted full-scale musical productions, and shifting our focus to digital theatre that could be created in any learning environment. And we heard it made quite the impact

Providing 12 online workshops in digital theatre production
Creating 7 new digital award categories
Expanding the competition for original content creation and digital entries

Plus, our Education team has made some pretty cool digital productions along the way, like this opening number from the 2021 Nominations Event featuring our Select Ensemble.

We hope you’ll tune in with us and support this incredible program. We’re pretty sure Sunday night’s Awards Ceremony will be the most unique piece of digital filmmaking you’ve ever seen. Show your support for arts education by following @hellerawardsatx on your social media platform of choice, or take it one step further and make a donation to the Heller Awards for Young Artists today. The future of arts education is here, and you can make sure it continues.

Share this Post
Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone


Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!