The St. Ambrose University Theater Department has many reasons to celebrate after their week at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Lincoln, Neb., Jan. 20-26.
ACTF gives college theater students across the nation a chance to showcase their talents in any area of theater, from playwrighting to performing. After the regional competition, finalists make the prestigious trip to the national festival in April at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
St. Ambrose took 18 students this year. A total of seven students were nominated to participate in the highly competitive Irene Ryans, an acting scholarship that chose two students out of more than 300 for nationals. Semi-finalists included Grace Allen (’12), Tony Stratton (’12) and Stephanie Seward (’13). Finalist Tony Stratton (’12) was selected as just one of the two participants to go to nationals.
A four-student tech team got back the esteemed “golden wrench” for St. Ambrose in the Stage Crew Showdown, taking first place for outstanding skills in quick but safe backstage work.
Under the direction of professor Dan Rairdin-Hale, six students performed a devised theater piece. Students also competed in a musical theater intensive judged by Broadway professionals, with Stephanie Seward (’13) landing a spot in the final cabaret performance on Thursday night.
Many students participated in professional auditions and Summer Stock auditions. Kelsey Francis (’13) took second place in the National Critics Institute for writing theater criticism.
For last year’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” faculty member Aaron Hook received a certificate of merit for his lighting design, as did professor Kris Eitrheim for his set design.