Keene State Shines (Again) at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
Members of Keene State’s Theatre and Dance Department traveled to Western Connecticut State University for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region I event in late January. As usual, they came home with several impressive awards, and a lot of professional experience and networking to boot.
“The goal of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and College Theater programs,” explained Céline Perron, professor of theatre and dance. “The conference provides the opportunities for our students to develop their skills and insights into theatre, and to achieve a higher level of professionalism.”
Emily Allinson won the Design, Technology, and Management competition Allied Craft Award for her work as scenic artist on the production, Little Women: The Musical. She received a full scholarship to present her work at the Kennedy Center during the National conference. She was also awarded a second scholarship to attend the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) 2016 Conference & Stage Expo in Salt Lake City.
“The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is an amazing opportunity,” Allinson said. “It is nice to be around a larger group of people that share a passion for theatre. The audience at performances at the festival are more responsive. They laugh louder, cheer louder, and cry harder. There are many different workshops to choose from, taught by a variety of professionals and teachers. KCACTF provides students with the chance to try new things and delve deeper into the topics of our choice. … I also made great connections. One of the design judges happens to work for the Public Theatre in New York. He asked my best friend and I to send him our resumes. He also wants us to apply for internships at the Public.”
The Irene Ryan scholarship competition included over 250 participants presenting scenes work in front of professional artists. Mitch Hodge with partner Billy Harmann were among this year’s semi-finalists, and Cara Gerardi with partner Megan Pereira were not only among the 16 finalists, but were second runner up.
“Over 250 candidates participate in the Irene Ryan competition, so to make it in the top three gave me a lot of confidence as an actor going into this business because there will be so so many people just like me all trying for the same goal,” Gerardi said.
Senior Jenna Ives was a semi-finalist at Design, Technology, and Management competition for her lighting design on the production of The Shape of Things.
Begin pull-quote…To make it in the top three gave me a lot of confidence as an actor going into this business because there will be so so many people just like me all trying for the same goal. …end pull-quote
Senior Lissy Barnes-Flint received a merit award of Excellence for Outstanding Stage Management to for her work on Little Women: The Musical.
Junior Emily Allinson and senior Lissy Barnes-Flint both received a merit award of Excellence for Outstanding Work on Props to for their props design on Phantom Tollbooth.
Senior Tyler Bean received a merit award of Excellence for Outstanding Sound Engineering for his work on Little Women, The Musical.
The scenic painting production team of Proof received a merit award of Excellence for Outstanding Charge Artistry.
The following 14 students presented their work in the areas of acting, design, stage management: Emily Alinson, Lissy Barnes-Flint, Tyler Bean, Matt Geary, Cara Gerardi, Mitch Hodge, Heather Hunt, Jenna Ives, Meg Lacey, Amy Lesieur, Kristen Licht, Megan Pereira, Billy Harmann, and Kenon Veno. Students participated in workshops, attended performances, performed in stage reading of new plays, interned in the technology program, stage managed productions and festival events.
During the festival, Assistant Professor in acting Kirstin Hensley and Design Professor Elisabeth Roos mentored the students. Prior to the Festival, Professor Daniel Patterson, Assistant Professor Jeannie-Marie Brown, Assistant Professor Kirstin Hensley, Adjunct Professor PeggyRae Johnson, and Adjunct Professor Doug Wilcox helped the 10 Irene Ryan candidates and partners prepare their scene work. Professor Roos, Skills Application Teacher Craig Lindsay, and Professor Perron reviewed the design student’s presentations. Administrative Assistant Marcia Barrett was invaluable in managing all the travel details for this event.