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Keene State Students Capture Kennedy Center Regional Honors

KEENE, N.H. 2/11/05 - Twelve Keene State College students from the Theatre and Dance Department were among more than 500 honored participants at the Region I Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Four KSC theatre faculty members coached students and led programs during the festival, held Jan. 26-30 at Rhode Island College in Providence.

All participants were selected based on the excellence of work they produced in theatre and dance classes or productions. Ten KSC students participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Awards and two presented theatrical design portfolios.

Becky Eyre of Naugatuck, Conn., created a sound design for Wings by Arthur Kopit, presented last spring as an independent study with KSC technical director Craig Lindsay, who acted as Eyre’s sound design coach during the festival. Eyre and co-designer Shaun Burdick of Derry, N.H., a 2004 KSC graduate, won the regional award for sound design. They will go on to compete nationally this April at the KCACTF at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where their design will be on display.

Jeane Shaw of Keene presented her set design for the play How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, which she created in Theatre Professor Céline Perron’s scene design class. Perron acted as Shaw’s design coach during the festival.

The Irene Ryan candidates included Alex Carey of Cummaquid, Mass., Marisa Clement of West Hartford, Conn., Evan Lidestri of Niantic, Conn., Michael Schwartz of New Windsor, N.Y., Shannon Sexton of Merrimack, N.H., and their partners, Bridgette Araujo of Shelton, Conn., Matt Braunsdorf of Sharon, Conn., Meghan Fisher of Hudson, N.H., Dawn Grant of Bristol, N.H., and Steven Gravelle of Merrimack, N.H. All candidates were selected based on their fall- semester performances in either Empires Fall, co-written and directed by PeggyRae Johnson and Steven Gravelle, or Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker and directed by Ron Spangler. From a field of 330 preliminary actors, four of the five KSC candidates advanced as one of the 36 semifinalists.

From there, Alex Carey and his partner Matt Braunsdorf continued on as one of the 16 regional finalists. Carey also received the TVI Actor’s Studio Career Enrichment Award, which carries a full-tuition scholarship to the TVI Summer Professional Acting Program in Los Angeles.

KSC theatre faculty members Daniel Patterson, Céline Perron, and Ronald Spangler led programs during the regional KCACTF. Theatre faculty PeggyRae Johnson attended the festival.

Patterson, who sits as past chair on the executive committee and chair of the National Critics Institute for Region I, led the critics’ workshop.

Perron led a workshop on airbrushing techniques.

Spangler coached Keene State’s Irene Ryan candidates. He and Patterson were co-chairs and co-hosts of the Region I ACTF when it was hosted by Keene State in 2002 and 2003.

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