Each year, the SAU Theatre Department takes a trip to the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). The festival includes students from colleges in Region V - Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Each year, invited productions from Region V transport their shows to be viewed by festival participants; industry professionals give workshops; and students from all different areas of theatre have the opportunity to participate in competitions and performances. This year, students represented SAU in a wide variety of activities.
Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition
Getting to the festival in January actually begins after each mainstage show during the previous year. Upon each show's completion, a KCACTF respondent provides the cast and crew with constructive feedback and chooses two nominees for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, to be held at the annual festival. Those nominees choose a partner with whom they prepare their audition set: two contrasting scenes and a monologue. SAU's nominees this year were: junior Brooke Schelly (with partner First Year Sam Jones) and senior Molly Conrad (with partner Stephanie Seward '13) nominated from Eurydice, Tim Stompanato '13 (with partner sophomore Chris Galvan) nominated from Chicago, and First Year Jackson Green (with partner sophomore Amelia Fischer) and sophomores Jonathan Johnson (with partner Jordan McGinnis) for Spamalot.
For only the second time, SAU participated in the Devised Theatre showings at KCACTF. Devised theatre is a collaborative work in which a group of actors work together to portray an idea through movement, speech, and music. This year's group consisted of seniors Robert Poston, Schelly; sophomores Zachary Meyer, Paige Allen, and Conor Strandquist; First Year students Kelci Eaton, Liz Phillips, and Rachael Pribulsky, and graduate Austin Eiben '13.
The Musical Theatre Initiative is a competition that began last year, giving students the opportunity to showcase their musical theatre skills and experiences. From schools across the region, 60 acts audition for 20 spots in a cabaret to be performed at the festival - one SAU act was chosen this year, featuring Galvan and McGinnis and, senior Stacy Phipps performing "Make Me Happy" from the musical, The Wild Party.
National Critics' Institute
Sophomore Michael Byrne participated in the National Critics' Institute and wrote reviews of the fully mounted plays performed at the festival as well as participating in group workshops. Junior Meghan McLaughlin participated in the Theatre Management Intensive, a program designed to improve skills in theatre management and administration. Auditions are held at the festival for 10-minute plays; Strandquist represented SAU as a cast member.
Behind the Scenes
Sophomores Amanda Zweibohmer and Zachary Meyer and First Year students Jackson Green and Allie Stecklein participated as SAU's Tech Team in the Tech Team Showdown.
Shannon Rourke '16 took part in the Stage Management Experience, a program designed to evaluate and develop skills in student stage managers. "I learned so much about stage management," Rourke says. "It was an experience I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else."
Outside of the specific competitions and programs, students attended productions and workshops to learn through observation and hands-on experience. Schelly spoke very highly of her time at KCACTF.
"I had a blast," Schelly says. "It's such an exciting experience to be around so many other people who share the same passion as you do."
Thanks for representing SAU well at this year's KCACTF - see you next year!
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