In Ball State’s 10th year at national theater festival, students win top honors

Topic: College of Fine Arts

May 14, 2014

It was another big year of wins on the national stage for Ball State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).

Ball State has sent its top students to the Washington, D.C., event for 10 years and had seven national qualifiers for the 2014 festival, more than any other participating college or university. Two students, junior Colin Hart and senior Tristan James, received top individual honors.

Hart, a theater studies major from Bloomington, Indiana, received the National Eugene O’Neil Dramaturgy Fellowship and will travel to the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, over the summer for a prestigious internship with the not-for-profit theater company.

During Hart’s week at KCACTF, he joined other dramaturgy finalists in workshops, lectures and talkbacks with some of the most prominent theater artists in the nation. Hart credits Tyler Smith, assistant professor of theater, for serving as a mentor through his theatrical endeavors at Ball State.

Tristan James, a design and technology major in the department, received the National Kennedy Center New Play/Design Dramaturgy Fellowship. Like Hart, James attributes his KCACTF success to his professors, mentors and friends within the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“The support from not only the faculty and staff here, but the students as well, is overwhelming — from the classroom to constantly working on productions,” he said. “Without Ball State, I know I would not be the person, designer and student I am today.”

Along with two national winners, other Ball State students and faculty recognized at KCACTF included:

• senior theatre production major Alicia Herder, who was awarded membership into the Stage Directors and Choreography Society

• senior theatrical studies major Kirsten Fentz, who was awarded membership into the Dramatists Guild of America

• Michael Elliott, assistant professor of theater, who was recognized for his distinguished achievement in music composition for work on Ball State's production of “Frankenstein.”

KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities across the country with the aim of improving the quality of college theater in the United States. It honors excellence in production and recognizes individual student achievement through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, direction and design.

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