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Regional & National Theatre Competitions

The University of Idaho is a participating member of the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), which promotes and recognizes excellence in collegiate drama. As a member of Region VII, Idaho students compete with students attending from other universities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Each year, more than 900 productions and 18,000 students participate in KCACTF nationwide. University of Idaho theatre students have maintained long and strong record of winning top awards at the regional and national competitions.


Results of the 2017 Regional Festival

Faculty and students from the University of Idaho College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences took home 16 awards from the Region 7 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Denver, Colorado, Feb. 20-24, 2017. 

Highlights of the Festival included Professor Kelly Quinnett, head of performance at UI Theatre Arts, being awarded the Golden Medallion, considered one of the greatest honors in theatre education, for her extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and for her significant dedication, artistry and enthusiasm toward the development of KCACTF.

Professor Quinnett has been involved with the Festival for more than 25 years, and in that time held many positions: respondent, Irene Ryan auditor, Vice Chair of Region 7, Chair of Region 7, to most recently serving as Past Chair curating the festival with nationally acclaimed guest artists and performances.

As a college student, Quinnett received the National Irene Ryan Scholarship in 1990 in Washington DC and was put under contract by ABC TV which launched her commercial career. However, as an educator Quinnett has found lasting fulfillment, she said. “But truly, the KCACTF has provided me with my most cherished gift, being a teacher and serving my students with a safe space to discover who they are and develop a confidence to express themselves in any context. It is my great joy to bring opportunities to my students and colleagues in order to enhance and inspire them.”

During the week-long Region 7 event, more than 50 UI students joined colleges and universities from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Northern California and Nevada, competed for scholarships and awards in performance and design, and participating in workshops and seminars in new methods and techniques in theater.
Student Award Recipients:
  • Brynna Soth of Spokane, Washington, earned the Irene Ryan Musical Theatre Award.
  • Sean Hendrickson of Richland, Washington, and Lauren Hirsch of Sacramento, California, earned The George R. Cadwell Undergraduate Scholarly Paper Award for essays on Stanislavsky and their experience training in Russia at the Moscow Art Theatre School.
  • Sam Transleau of Delray Beach, Florida, earned the Scenic Design - Meritorious Achievement Award for “As You Like It.”
  • Keely Wright-Ogren of Orange City, Iowa, earned the Sound Design Meritorious Achievement Award for “Medea, Her Story.”
  • Hanah Toyoda of Hayward, California, earned the Allied Design-Meritorious Achievement Award for “Medea, Her Story.”
  • Michael Brandt of Council Bluffs, Iowa, earned the Stage Management - Meritorious Achievement Award for “A Hedda Gabler.”
  • Jessica Thomas of Coeur d’Alene earned the Stage Management-Meritorious Achievement for “Medea, Her Story.”
  • Hunter Price of Sand Point, earned the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Directing Fellowship Award.
  • Kevin Neighbors of Highlands Ranch, Colorado earned the Irene Ryan New Play Acting Award.
  • Kylee Teal of Mountain Home earned two awards: the Irene Ryan Mark Twain Comedy Acting Award and was named the Irene Ryan Alternate.
  • Quinlan Hanrahan earned the Arts Leadership Meritorious Achievement.
  • UI Theatre Arts received the "Golden Handtruck" award for the smooth load in of “Medea: Her Story.”
  • UI Theatre Arts received a "Participating Production" award for “Medea: Her Story.”

Three students from the University of Idaho Theatre Arts Department were selected to participate in the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Washington, D.C., April 11-15. The trio and more than 55 other UI students represented the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the Region 7 festival in Denver in February.

Participating in the national KCACTF event are:

Kadin McGreevy, a senior from Moscow, earned the Outstanding Director of a Play and Distinguished Performance and Production Ensemble honor for directing “Vigils,” which featured UI students and an alumnus: Maiya Corral, Kevin O’Connell, Michael Brandt and Micheal Smith. McGreevy participated in last year’s national KCACTF festival, as well, with an all-expenses paid apprenticeship.

AnaSofia Villanueva, a senior from Portland, Oregon, earned first place in the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC) Directing Initiative with a scene from "Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot" by Jose Rivera. Cast members were Shalonia Rosen, Bailie Simpson, Tyler Iams and Maiya Corral.

Emily Melgard, a senior from Boise earned first place in Stage Management.

During the weeklong Region 7 event, UI students joined colleges and universities from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Northern California and Nevada competed for scholarships and awards in performance and design, and participated in workshops and seminars in new methods and techniques in theater.

Other UI awards recipients included:

  • Vinecia Coleman, an MFA candidate from Lawton/Fort Sill, Oklahoma: National Partners of the American Theatre - Outstanding Full Length Play and Regional Semi-finalist for the John Cauble Short Play Award.
  • Megan Fevurly, an MFA candidate from Denver, Colorado: Regional Semi-finalist for the John Cauble Short Play Award.
  • Keely Wright-Ogren, an MFA candidate from Orange City, Iowa: Meritorious Achievement in Sound Design and Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Scholarship Recipient.
  • Christina Holaday, an MFA candidate from West Des Moines, Iowa: First Alternate SDC Directing Initiative.
  • Nick Eastman-Pratt, a junior from Coeur d’Alene: First Alternate Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition and Outstanding Performance of Contemporary Material.
  • Sarah Marthinsen, a senior from Novato, California: Outstanding Musical Theatre Performance.
  • David Lenz, a junior from Cinebar, Washington: The Mark Twain Prize for Comic Performance.
  • Maiya Corral, a senior from San Francisco: Irene Ryan Best Partner Award.

UI presentations included:

  • A workshop and performance of “Vigils” by Noah Haidle and directed by McGreevy. McGreevy and his cast led a discussion on how to make theater in non-traditional spaces.
  • A site-specific performance of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. Presented by Vandal Theatre Lab, this featured assistant professor Matt Foss and MFA candidate Matthew Brumlow along with Nancy Lee-Painter and Cora Vander Broek.
  • Performance of a scene from the UI production of “Cymbeline.”

Forty-nine students from the Theatre Arts Department recently participated in the Region VII Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Festival held in Boise, Idaho from February 17 to 21, 2014.

Students had the opportunity to share their work, compete for awards and scholarships and learn from national artists. Students participated in the national Irene Ryan Acting Competition, the Society of Directors and Choreographers Scene Competition, the Barbizon Design Awards and the New Plays Network Playwriting Competition. In addition, other competitions, workshops and presentations provided excellent activities for our students in all areas of performance, design, playwriting and technical theatre.

Several students took home awards, including the prestigious Irene Ryan Award — considered the ultimate college level acting award. This year we sent 12 Irene Ryan candidates and their partners to compete for the award, six pairs advanced to quarter-finals and three advanced to finals. In a field of 121 pairs regionally, this is a very solid showing for our talented students. Master of Fine Arts candidate Emily Nash and her scene partner Master of Fine Arts candidate Brian Demar Jones were named the Irene Ryan regional winners. Both will represent the university, college and department in April at the Kennedy Center national competition.

In addition, Brian Demar Jones won the regional Musical Theatre Scholarship for his rendition of “There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon for New York” from “Porgy & Bess.”

Micheal Smith, a first year transfer student from Community College of Denver, was selected as a cast member for the National New Play Network from July 26 – August 3. Smith is one of only two non-equity artists’ chosen nationally to serve as part of an ensemble of 10 actors and new play readers.

Awards also went to:

  • Master of Fine Arts candidate Courtney Smith — Meritorious Award for his scenic design of “Ordinary Time.”
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate Codey Butler — Meritorious Award for his stage management of “Ordinary Time.”
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate Max Holley — Meritorious Achievement Award in Allied Design and Technologies for his headdress and gown for the “Ghost of Christmas Past” in “A Christmas Carol.”
  • Jeff Peterson’s play, “An Elaborate System Ropes & Pulleys” was presented as a reading at the regional ‘non-produced’ full-length play reading. Peterson is a 2013 Master of Fine Arts winter graduate and his play received a certificate of excellence from the national selection team.

Region VII encompasses the states of Alaska, Arizona, Northern California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. More than 1,200 students, faculty, national judges and VIP guests attended the event.

Theatre Arts Department sent 37 students to the 2013 Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Sacramento, California. Our full-length production, “Welcome Home Jenny Sutter,” was one of only four shows invited from the region. The University of Idaho students also received a variety of awards:

  • Millie Rose’s play Baby Bird was selected as a national semi-finalist for the John Cauble One Act Play Award.
  • Courtney Smith won the New West Drama Conference Design Award for scenic design.
  • John Remington received a KCACTF Region VII Certificate of Merit for his full length play, “Pick Up Man.”
  • Costume designer Nicholas Giacalone received a KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Award for his work on “Anton in Show Business.”
  • Sound designer Ray Pritchard also received a KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Award for his work on “Anton in Show Business.”
  • Cassandra Johnson received a New West Drama Conference Meritorious Achievement Award for her makeup designs.
  • Sean Altuna was awarded a SCI Las Vegas Summer Institute Scholarship.

In addition to these honors, faculty member Robert Caisley received a certificate of recognition from KCACTF Region VII for Excellence in mentoring young playwrights.

Travel to the conference was funded in part from contributions made to the College Excellence Fund.

Ten University of Idaho Department of Theatre Arts students were recognized at the 2012 Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Six of those students brought their work to Washington, D.C., in April to compete at the national level.

“We are extremely proud of our students and their accomplishments,” said department chair Dean Panttaja. “We take pride in the fact our training is nationally competitive and recognized as such. Our ability to put students in arts leadership positions as designers, actors and directors not only provides them practical experience but will provide a solid platform for their future as leaders in the arts.”

Forty-three UI students and two alumni traveled to Ft. Collins, Colo., to compete in the festival in various theatre events showcasing skills in performance, directing, playwriting and design. The festival is a partnership between the national KCACTF and the Northwest Drama Conference.

Emily McQuarrie, Chris Mueller, Rachel Rosenfeld, Mattie Rydalch, Lauren Simon and Annie Staats were selected to move on to nationals based on their work in scene design, costume design, directing, playwriting and theatre journalism.

Senior Emily McQuarrie was selected for the Focal Press/Rafael Jaen Showcase Award for costume design. The award honors first-time design, technologies and management entrants to the festival.

Mueller, a recent graduate of the department’s Bachelor in Fine Arts program, will compete with his work in scenic design on “Good Person of Szechwan” by Bertolt Brecht. The production was presented by UI Theatre in spring 2011.

Rosenfeld, a Master of Fine Arts student, was selected to move forward with her scene from “Spain” by Jim Knable. The directing portion of the festival is hosted by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical union.

UI alumnae Mattie Rydalch’s “Why’s That Flag Here” will compete for the title of National Playwriting Program Ten-Minute Play. The National Playwriting Program, initiated in 1974, is part of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program. The program is named after distinguished playwright and screenwriter, Kanin, who established the program to encourage student playwriting.

“Adoration of Dora,” by Master of Fine Arts student Lauren Simon, was awarded the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award. The award memorializes Cohen, former professor of playwriting at the University of Texas-Austin. “Adoration of Dora” was UI Theatre’s fall 2011 production chronicling the life of Pablo Picasso’s mistress, Dora Maar.

Senior and National Merit Scholar Annie Staats’ production review was selected for nationals from the Institute of Theatre Journalism and Advocacy. She reviewed the festival production of US, a devised play from Western Washington University performed during the festival.

Students from 51 institutions across the Northwest attended the regional competition. About 200 competed for 16 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships awarded nationwide. Rosenfeld was named a first alternate in the competition. She competed with her partner, junior Max Holley.

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship honors the late actress most known for her role as Granny Clampett in The“Beverly Hillbillies.” The scholarships have been awarded since 1972 to honor student performers looking to further their education.

Several other acting scholarships were awarded. Master of Fine Arts student Tiffany Flory received a full scholarship worth more than $1,000 to The Actor’s Gang in Los Angeles. Junior Patrick Mulligan received a $625 scholarship also with The Actor’s Gang. The Actor’s Gang is a nonprofit theatre arts organization founded in 1981. The organization offers training opportunities to students.

Other regional honorees include junior Will Tedrow for his Northwest Drama Conference (NWDC) Level 1 winner in scenic design for his work on “Adoration of Dora.” Sophomore Jacque Peres was a NWDC Level 1 winner in make-up design for her class work involving trauma make-up.

The talents of twelve current and former theatre arts students have received national attention. Students were recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region VII Festival for their distinguished achievement in the 2010 production of “Up.”

Written by Bridget Carpenter and directed by UI assistant professor Chris DuVal, “Up” tells the story of Walter Griffen, a man who tied weather balloons to a lawn chair, soared 16,000 feet into the skies above Southern California and hasn’t been able to get his head out of the clouds since. Filled with characters full of passion and drive, the play examines the human capacity to dream and the cost of doing so.

The play was entered into the region VII festival alongside those from other schools in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Northern Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Northern California and Alaska. KCACTF was created in 1969 to encourage quality theater in the U.S. There are currently 18,000 students involved in the program in 600 institutions nationwide.

Honors include:

Kim Bell Hair and makeup design
Laura Berkompas Lighting design
Anthony Brinkley Scenic design
Brittany Brook Ensemble performance
Adrian Crookston Ensemble performance
Lanny Langston Ensemble performance
Mike Locke Sound design
Rachel Rosenfeld Ensemble performance
Adriana Sanchez Costume design
Phoenix Tage Ensemble performance
Angela Vogel Ensemble performance
Nicholas Witham Ensemble performance

Congratulations, students!

Two University of Idaho theatre students will have the opportunity to showcase their work in the nation’s capital city in April, 2010. University of Idaho junior Anthony Palmer of Lewiston, Idaho, and senior David Torres of Walla Walla, Washington, have been invited to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival — the nation's premier collegiate theater’s competition. The festival runs from April 13 - 17, 2010, and features work from regional winners across the nation.

Palmer and Torres are representing Region VII which is comprised of colleges and universities in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming as well as northern California and northern Nevada. The Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) was held in Reno, Nevada on February 15 - 20, where the University of Idaho was well-represented in numerous categories.

Palmer took first place in the lighting category of the Barbizon Design and Technology competition for his work on the 2009 University of Idaho production of “Quake.” Torres took first place in the sound category of the Barbizon competition for his work on the 2008 UI production of “Frozen.” Other winners in the Design and Technology category were graduate students Robby Valliere and Laura Berkompas whose pneumatic doors from the 2009 UI production of “Dracula, The Untold Story” netted the two a cash prize. Valliere also achieved the fastest time in the Stage Management Event of the Tech Olympics held during the festival.

In the category for Dramatic Writing, University of Idaho Master of Fine Arts candidate Lauren Simon’s original ten-minute play, “Care and Feeding of Wild Birds,” was selected as part of the prestigious National Playwriting Program. Additionally, Simon was awarded a cash prize for taking first place in the New West Drama Conference (NWDC) Scholarly Paper Competition for her paper, “Insanity as Social Commentary in the Plays of Tennessee Williams.” Simon, who currently resides in San Diego, is one of the first students to participate in the Theatre Arts Department’s distance-delivered Master of Fine Arts program.

Student actors participating in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition also fared well. Of the 217 acting students in the nine state region who participated in the competition, University of Idaho's — Brittany Brook, Erik Jansen, Mandie Jenson, Lanny Langston, Katie Medford, Crystal Munoz-Tesch, Rachel Rosenfeld, Cady Smola, Megan Tyrrell and Angela Vogel — all passed through to the semifinals round, which was comprised of 32 contestants. Of those, five UI actors advanced to the final round of 16 competitors. University of Idaho senior Brittany Brook from Judith Gap, Montana, was awarded the spot of first alternate (third place overall) and Master of Fine Arts candidate Lanny Langston  from Toquerville, Utah, received the second alternate (fourth place) honors. Brook and Langston would have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. should either of the top two finalists be unable to attend, while all of the finalists (top 16) were awarded scholarships.

The University of Idaho was represented by a total of 68 students at the regional conference in Reno where they participated in workshops and presentations as well as the competitions in acting, design and technology, directing, playwriting, and dramaturgy. The department was also represented by four faculty members — Dean Panttaja, David Lee-Painter, Kelly Quinnett and Cheri Vasek — who served as workshop presenters, respondents, and adjudicators while in Reno. Additionally, professor David Lee-Painter was presented with a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion during the festival. The medallion is a national honor bestowed on faculty who have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and to the development and quality of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival.

Two University of Idaho theatre students will have the opportunity to showcase their work in the nation’s capital city in April, 2010. University of Idaho junior Anthony Palmer of Lewiston, Idaho, and senior David Torres of Walla Walla, Washington, have been invited to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival — the nation's premier collegiate theater’s competition. The festival runs from April 13 - 17, 2010, and features work from regional winners across the nation.

Palmer and Torres are representing Region VII which is comprised of colleges and universities in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming as well as northern California and northern Nevada. The Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) was held in Reno, Nevada on February 15 - 20, where the University of Idaho was well-represented in numerous categories.

Palmer took first place in the lighting category of the Barbizon Design and Technology competition for his work on the 2009 University of Idaho production of “Quake.” Torres took first place in the sound category of the Barbizon competition for his work on the 2008 UI production of “Frozen.” Other winners in the Design and Technology category were graduate students Robby Valliere and Laura Berkompas whose pneumatic doors from the 2009 UI production of “Dracula, The Untold Story” netted the two a cash prize. Valliere also achieved the fastest time in the Stage Management Event of the Tech Olympics held during the festival.

In the category for Dramatic Writing, University of Idaho Master of Fine Arts candidate Lauren Simon’s original ten-minute play, “Care and Feeding of Wild Birds,” was selected as part of the prestigious National Playwriting Program. Additionally, Simon was awarded a cash prize for taking first place in the New West Drama Conference (NWDC) Scholarly Paper Competition for her paper, “Insanity as Social Commentary in the Plays of Tennessee Williams.” Simon, who currently resides in San Diego, is one of the first students to participate in the Theatre Arts Department’s distance-delivered Master of Fine Arts program.

Student actors participating in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition also fared well. Of the 217 acting students in the nine state region who participated in the competition, University of Idaho's — Brittany Brook, Erik Jansen, Mandie Jenson, Lanny Langston, Katie Medford, Crystal Munoz-Tesch, Rachel Rosenfeld, Cady Smola, Megan Tyrrell and Angela Vogel — all passed through to the semifinals round, which was comprised of 32 contestants. Of those, five UI actors advanced to the final round of 16 competitors. University of Idaho senior Brittany Brook from Judith Gap, Montana, was awarded the spot of first alternate (third place overall) and Master of Fine Arts candidate Lanny Langston  from Toquerville, Utah, received the second alternate (fourth place) honors. Brook and Langston would have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. should either of the top two finalists be unable to attend, while all of the finalists (top 16) were awarded scholarships.

The University of Idaho was represented by a total of 68 students at the regional conference in Reno where they participated in workshops and presentations as well as the competitions in acting, design and technology, directing, playwriting, and dramaturgy. The department was also represented by four faculty members — Dean Panttaja, David Lee-Painter, Kelly Quinnett and Cheri Vasek — who served as workshop presenters, respondents, and adjudicators while in Reno. Additionally, professor David Lee-Painter was presented with a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion during the festival. The medallion is a national honor bestowed on faculty who have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and to the development and quality of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival.

Physical Address:
Corner of 6th and Rayburn Shoup Hall - 2nd Floor

Mailing Address:
Theatre Arts Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2008
Moscow, ID 83844-2008

Phone: 208-885-6465

Fax: 208-885-2558

Email: theatre@uidaho.edu

Web: Theatre Arts Department

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