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Named One of the South Dakota Arts Council's:

50 Artists to Watch in South Dakota



"Heather Pickering knows how to fill a stage with magic. The UW-Madison MFA candidate proved that in her beautifully orchestrated "The Odyssey" at University Theatre. " -  The Isthmus



           "But we guarantee you’ve never, ever seen it told quite like this.

In director Heather Pickering’s hands, University Theater’s production of The Odyssey, Homer’s tale of Odysseus’s danger-filled, decade-long detour home from the Trojan War, has become a whirlwind of theatricality, with sights, sounds and spectacles that often dazzle the eyes." - Madison Magazine



"As a piece developed for young audiences, it uses musical stagecraft to hold the audience's attention throughout the performance. Actors scamper and serpentine through the space with colorful, flowing strips of silk, attaching adventures and emotions to the words "blue," "green," "purple" and "yellow." Fabric falls from the ceiling and is used to draw shapes in the air and even to create pirate ships. Red umbrellas open and close to symbolize the pain of injections. Enlarged, two-dimensional drawings populate Benjamin's reality as well as the fantasy. This mixture of creative movement vignettes with realistic, comic and surreal scenes is realized, literally, on a blank canvas.

The Yellow Boat is an inspiring evening that clearly shows the power of art to transform,and even celebrate the most devastating losses." - The Isthmus


"And finally, UW-Madison's theater department should be recognized for consistently pushing the envelope this year, with Christa Lewandowski's incredible costume designs for a kabuki Richard III, Heather Pickering's colorful and imaginative The Yellow Boat..."   - 2014 Isthmus Critics Rate the Art Performances of the Year


"Joy of performance knows no boundaries in "Ascent." "

                                                  - Sioux Falls Argus Leader


"Likewise, in several other pieces, an unexpected setting brought Poe's work into a modern context. The Bells (Part I) benefited from an introduction focusing on modern commuters, each attached to a computer, phone or MP3 player making various beeps and ringing sounds. When the devices suddenly stopped working, the poetry began." - Isthmus (An Evening With Poe)


"Other more obscure selections, like “A Sonnet to Science,” in which lab-coated researchers go all CSI on a classical statue, are the product of smooth modernization that adds new dimensions to the source material. That’s not true in any of the four stanzas of Poe’s classic poem, “The Bells” the cast serves up—whether it’s tech-obsessed people abandoning their Macs to burst into verse, or a clumsy attempt at a marriage ceremony, these feel like a mix of classic lit and slam poetry.  By the time the quarantine lifts and you’re ushered out, you’ll know that An Evening with Poe is a terrific showcase of young artistic creativity, and a new look at a classic author. If you’re not a fan of (or familiar with) Poe, you will be by the night’s end; if you are, you may never look at him the same way again."

  " - Madison Magazine (An Evening With Poe)


"The innocent energy and pure joy of the workshop performers added a depth to the piece that made the audience laugh, cheer and for a few moments even cry. Pickering's attempt to highlight diversity was achieved in a beautiful way in "Flutter." - Rapid City Journal


"For the first time in my life…I watched disabilities completely disappear…and now more beautiful through moving art…"

- Reistroffer Design




"Several performers do make real emotional connections with their fellow actors and with the audience. Standouts in the large cast include Heather Pickering as Queen Elizabeth..." - Isthmus





2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Recipient

         Flutter Productions - Creating Humanities Communities Challenge Grant

2017 - South Dakota Arts Council: 50 Artists to Watch in South Dakota

2016 Buffalo Gals - Community Commitment & Appreciation Recipient

2014 Margaret Emma Williams Scholarship Award for Excellence in Theatre, University of Wisconsin


2013 Daniel J. Travanti Scholarship, Outstanding Performance by a                  Graduate  Student, University of Wisconsin


2012 Rapid City Area School District Evening of Excellence,

          Educator Honoree


          Flutter Productions/Outright Dance Theatre


2011 Colorado State University Communication Arts Alumni Film Festival

           Honorable Mention,  Flutter  Documentary


2011 Alice in Wonderland State Superior Award – South Dakota State One Act Play Festival, Director, Adaptor, Designer, Choreographer


2010 R.I.P VanWinkle State Superior Award – South Dakota State One Act Play Festival, Technical Director/Designer/Choreographer


2008 Flutter Community Connections Award, Black Hills Workshop Foundation


2008 Epiphany for Most Supportive Faculty/Community Member of the CHS Theatre Dept.


2006 Volunteer of the Year, Museum of the Fur Trade


2002 Best Actress, High Plains Theatre, Nebraska


1998 ACTF (American College Theatre Festival/Irene Ryan Scholarship Semi-Finalist and Final Round  at the Regional Competition (top 16 out of 235 regional actors).


1998 ACTF/Irene Ryan Scholarship Nominee, Costanza in Amadeus


1998 Nominee Undergraduate Creative Arts Symposium Award, Colorado State University


1997 Opus Award for Best Understudy, Open Stage Theatre Company, Fort Collins, Colorado


1992 State One Act Play Competition, Best Actress, Fargo, North Dakota

1987 4-H Colorado State Champion for Team Speech

1986 4-H Larimer County, Colorado, Champion for Team Speech





"Your class was the best experience I have had at the UW by a mile." - Brian R.


"Heather was great: (she was) super approachable, gave us great and useful feedback, helped us get out of our comfort zones, and helped us think how to change things ourselves."


"Not only did I enjoy the content, but this has been one of the few instances in college where I have thoroughly enjoyed taking in everything as a whole experience.  Through the brief time that we have interacted and through watching your direction, I know that you have a passion for the arts that extends much beyond a classroom, and it is infectious.  I truly believe that school should be more than just learning curriculum, and this experience has been just as fun and interesting as it has been educational. " - Brad U.


"I gained some confidence in this course, even if it doesn't necessarily pertain to my major."


"Theatre is really important. Heather made it fun, and also showed the class why it is valuable."


"Heather makes theatre very applicable to every career."


"One of the most influential courses I've ever taken! Helped me get over my fear of public speaking!"


"Heather is one of the best instructors I have ever had.  I loved the personal caring nature she has and I have certainly learned more than theatre skills."


"Heather is super enthusiastic and willing to work outside of class with students."


"Being a student and a can't-sit-still sort of person, I honestly enjoyed coming to theatre class every day, largely because of your enthusiasm.  At first you definitely challenged us to get out of our comfort zones in front of each other. I was very impressed with not only myself towards the end of our performances, and how much I thought I grew as an actor trying to completely be someone I'm not, but I was impressed with everyone else in our class as well.  That is a credit to the teacher.  I really enjoyed having one of my five classes that was physically and emotionally active, and allowed me to get to know my classmates and teacher instead of sitting by them and not saying a word to them throughout the semester."  – Jason C.


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