For his next act, St. Ambrose Theatre Department graduate Anthony Stratton '12 may be unexpectedly reprising the role of student.
"I was pretty set on being done with school," said Stratton, who moved to Chicago to pursue acting work shortly after commencement ceremonies last May. "I thought 18 straight years was enough."
Stratton's talent has forced him to rethink that position. In January in Lincoln, Neb., he became the third St. Ambrose theatre student to win an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship at the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
In Lincoln, Stratton outperformed 325 current or newly graduated theatre students from a seven-state region. That earned him a chance to compete in April on the Kennedy Center stage in Washington D.C. with 15 other regional winners. Two $3,000 national Ryan scholarship awards will be on the line.
Stratton and acting partner Morgan Griffin '12 will spend the week of April 15-21 participating in master acting classes at the KCACTF National Festival.
On April 19, he and Griffin will reprise their scenes from the plays Betrayal and Hard Candy, followed by a Stratton monologue from The Laramie Project. Beyond the Ryan awards, any number of other Master of Fine Arts scholarship opportunities could arise from Stratton's week at the Kennedy Center.
"This has brought new opportunities," the Oxford, Iowa, native said of his January success. "It opens a lot of doors for graduate schools as well as for networking with people who can really take you places."
Stratton follows previous regional winners Daniel Sheridan '05 and current St. Ambrose Theatre Assistant Professor Daniel Rairdin-Hale '04, MFA. Stratton was one of 18 current or former St. Ambrose students who participated in the regional event in January. Grace Allen '12 and senior Stephanie Seward were semifinalists in the acting competition.
An SAU tech team of seniors Kristen Jett and Daniel Conlin, junior Sidney Junk and first-year student Amanda Zweibohmer took first in the stage crew competition. Senior Kelsey Francis was a runner-up in theatre criticism writing.