Department of Theatre and Dance receives national recognition for sixth consecutive year

Topic: College of Fine Arts

January 29, 2010

They've done it again.

For the sixth year in a row, the Ball State Department of Theatre and Dance will send at least one — possibly two — of its most talented students to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in April.

Sophomore Laura Pittenger, will attend KCACTF's national conference in recognition of her critiques of theater productions performed at one of KCACTF's regional festival showcases in Saginaw, Mich., in January. Another student, senior Ryan Prendergast might have the opportunity to join Pittenger. Prendergast, recognized in playwriting for his piece "Death at Jefferson," will find out in seven weeks if his play will be performed at the April conference.

Twenty-five students represented Ball State at the regional showcase, one of eight KCACTF state/regional festivals held nationwide in January and February. Those with the best and most diverse productions are selected to have their work showcased at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., each spring.

"I continue to be humbled and honored to work with such dedicated and committed students," said Bill Jenkins, chairperson of the Department of Theatre and Dance. "The students who attended the festival were a tremendous representation of the department."

During her week in the nation's capital this spring, Pittenger will be immersed in theater workshops and will participate in a competition with other KCACTF regional winners in which she'll write reviews of the competition's theater performances. 

"I believe it will be an intensive and thought-provoking week — hard work, but I expect it to be a great time," Pittenger said. "I look forward to meeting some wonderful writers and critics and to seeing shows which are eligible for prestigious awards on a national stage."

In addition to Pittenger receiving national recognition, other students within the Department of Theatre and Dance received high honors. They include:
 
·       Emily Behny — winner of the Regional Musical Theatre Award/finalist in the KCACTF Irene Ryan Acting Competition
 
·       Max Gosman — honorable mention in the national Dramaturgy Competition
 
·       Christopher and Justin Swader — honorable mention at KCACTF's national Scenic Design Competition
 
·       Meg Warner — regional winner of the national Partners of the American Theater Classical Acting Award/ finalist in the KCACTF Irene Ryan Acting Competition
 
·       Maren Ritter and Erin Oechsel — performed a scene from Little Women (directed by theater professor Beth Turcotte), which was invited to be part of the national festival's "Evening of Scenes."

Through state, regional and national festivals, KCACTF allows students nationwide to see one another's work and share experiences and insights in the community of theater artists. The KCACTF honors excellence in production and recognizes individual student achievement through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, direction and design.

For more information about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, visit www.kcacft.org.

By Kenzie Grob

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