SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The inaugural Sioux Falls Stage Awards are set for Thursday night. With COVID-19 impacting the performance art season, this ceremony looks to shine a spotlight on performers and their hard work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it a tough year for local performing arts.

“It definitely has put a damper on performances and being able to do that and do it the way we always want to do it; we always thrive after having a live audience,” Performer Alex Weiland said.

Weiland is heavily involved in the Sioux Falls community theatre scene.

“Every time I’m in Sioux Falls – I’m never here for a super long time, but every time I am in town I’m in a show,” Weiland said.

She and fellow performers will be taking center stage once more during the first annual Sioux Falls Stage Awards.

“Hopefully it’ll be like the Sioux Falls Tony’s,” Luke Tatge said.

Tatge is the producer of the award show. He says it’s going to be a celebration and community building event for the local performing arts scene.

“I think it’s high time with how much the performing arts has grown here in Sioux Falls for there to be something like this,” Tatge said.

Weiland is nominated for Best Actress in a Play or Musical. She’s one of several nominees who could receive a statue by the end of the night.

“There are 16 awards that will be given out. They are actual trophies and everything. We’re going to accept acceptance speeches and everything,” Tatge said.

Those aren’t the only statues looming over the evening. Due to the pandemic, the ceremony will be held in the Washington Pavilion Sculpture Garden.

“We’re asking all of the attendees to wear masks, we’ll be physically distancing the seating, and, obviously, being outdoors is one of those measures,” Tatge said.

While only a few will walk away with a coveted award, Weiland says the real honor is getting to share the spotlight with her community.

“Honestly, it’s kind of a reliever, like, we’ve all been struggling artistically being able to exercise that, so even just coming together and celebrating the work that we’ve done in the past year is so exciting and so deserving of all the people in this community,” Weiland said.

The ceremony is being held at the Washington Pavilion Sculpture Garden. It begins at 7 p.m. You can find tickets information on the Washington Pavilion’s website.