American Prize national nonprofit competitions in the performing arts awarded the American Prize (Opera/Musical Theatre division) to Test Pilot, an intimate chamber dance opera by choreographer Penelope Freeh and Lutheran Arts member, Jocelyn Hagen.
Test Pilot explores the power and wonder of creativity and invention through the birth of flight and the story of the Wright Brothers. Their sister, Katharine, is an often overlooked member of the Wright family, and her contribution to the family and their success is examined in this work through song and dance. The creators' personal family legends and aviation heroics are also woven into the oblique narrative.
Test Pilot premiered September 12-13, 2014, as part of The O’Shaughnessy Women of Substance Series and utilized a string quartet, six singers, four dancers and a video artist. Two years later we received a Minnesota Arts Touring grant and were able to relaunch the show, making small edits and giving performances in a variety of venues across Minnesota.
In 2015 it received a Sage Dance Award for "Overall Design," and the panel declared the work "a tour-de-force of originality."