UCM theater wins several awards at regional festival

February 3, 2013

The University of Central Missouri Department of Theatre and Dance won several honors at the Kennedy Center American College Region V Theatre Festival Jan. 20-26 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The festival included 80 universities and more than 1,300 faculty and students from theater departments in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. The festival presented performances and scenes from invited productions from the top shows in the region and hosted acting, directing, design, playwriting, stage management, dramatic criticism and dramaturgy competitions.  

Six UCM faculty members and 56 students attended the event.

UCM’s “Blue Window” was performed to more than 1,200 faculty and students on Jan. 24 and it received the Regional Golden Hand Truck Award for having the most efficient and safest load-in, set-up and load-out of scenery, lighting and costumes.

Audra Viele, a State Fair Community College graduate, and Haley Hrabe won first place in the National/Regional Directing and Stage Management competition and will receive all-expense paid trips to the Kennedy Center in April for the national festival.

Erin Townsend won Best Director of a Ten-Minute Play, Jennifer Van Buskirk won first place in Regional Costume Design and Mark Jacobsen won second place in Regional Technical Projects.   

Playwright Donna Latham was named a national finalist for the David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award for “And We Will Share the Sky,” which was the Theatre for Young Audience National Playwriting Competition winner at UCM this year.

The preliminary rounds of the Irene Ryan Acting Auditions included 325 students from the region. This was paired down to 64 students, from which four Central students advanced to the semifinal round — Jonathan Peck; Katie Turnbow; SFCC graduate Meg Aleshire; and Joe Reece.

David LeVota received the Best Acting Partner award for the semifinal round.

Students and faculty also received Meritorious Achievement awards — Julie Mollenkamp for Outstanding Artistic Collaboration on “How I Learned to Drive”; Michael Benson for Outstanding Artistic Collaboration on “How I Learned to Drive”; the entire company for Outstanding Artistic Collaboration on “How I Learned to Drive”; Ronnie Chamberlain for Costume Design on “How I Learned to Drive”; Jeff Peltz for Lighting Design on “How I Learned to Drive”; Michael Benson, Jeff Peltz and Ronnie Chamberlain for Design Collaboration on “The Tempest”; Jennifer Van Buskirk for Costume Design on “And We Will Share the Sky”; and Alisha Morris for Milliner on “And We Will Share the Sky.”

Richard Herman, Professor of Theatre and Department Chair, serves on the KCACTF National Executive Committee as Member At Large for the National Playwriting Program. Julie Mollenkamp, Professor of Theatre, serves as the Vice Chair of Region V National Playwriting Program. Assistant Professor Ronnie Chamberlain presented Design Intensive Workshops and was the Portfolio Review Coordinator. Associate Professor of Theatre Jeff Peltz and Assistant Professor of Theatre Michael Benson served as a Stage Crew Showdown Judges and

Assistant Professor of Theatre Ashley Miller presented dance workshops.