This past week 35 MSUM theatre arts students and faculty attended the  Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Ames, Iowa. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCATCF) offers a tremendous opportunity for theatre arts students to compete in the areas of acting, directing & theatrical design; to audition for professional theatres; and to partake in workshops with major theatre artists. Students learn more about their craft with some of the most respected names in American Theatre. We have been participating in this regional festival for many years, and many of  our faculty have taken major roles in festival administration.

Highlights of the week:
Sophomore Theatre Arts student Matthew Englund advanced to the final round in the Region V Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition. The competition started with more than 295 competitors; Englund and his partner sophomore Billy Schnase, were one of 16 duos to present in the final round. Their work featured a musical theatre selection called THE TEMP AND THE RECEPTIONIST (accompanied by MSUM Sarah Dewhirst, a junior Theatre Arts major), a scene from the play THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, and a monologue from Sophocles’ ANTIGONE.

Junior Theatre Arts student Kimberly Miller competed in the Stage Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing Competition and took home the top honor. She directed a scene from PROOF by David Aubun with actors Amber Bracken, Ivan Olson, and Kelly Nelson. She will travel to the Kennedy Center in April.  Her all-expense paid trip will also afford her the opportunity to attend world-class master classes with top theatrical artists from around the globe.

Senior Klarissa Pudwill and sophomore Carolyn Schmitz auditioned and were selected for work in a ten-minute play festival. Their work was presented to standing-room-only crowds at the end of the week.

MSUM theatre students Sarah Hysjulien, Nick Kaspari, Ivan Olson, Erin Granger, and Holli Richgels were nominated for and competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition.

MSUM faculty members Ricky Greenwell, Jennifer Tuttle, and Craig Ellingson all were part of regional leadership for the festival and presented several workshops ranging from theatre make-up and design to musical theatre styles dance. Greenwell served as liaison for the technical theatre portfolio review, Tuttle was the coordinator and emcee for the Region V Showcase of Invited Scenes, and Ellingson served as the Associate Irene Ryan Chair for Logistics and Scheduling.

It was a tremendously productive and rewarding week, and we are grateful for the support of SABC, the Office of the President, and the Theatre Arts Department.