Two University of Idaho theatre students will have the opportunity to showcase their work in the nation’s capital city in April. 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 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 M.F.A. candidate Lauren Simon’s original 10-minute play, Care and Feeding of Wild Birds
, was selected as part of the prestigious National Playwriting Program. Additionally, Lauren 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.” Lauren, who currently resides in San Diego, is one of the first students to participate in the Theatre Arts Department’s distance-delivered M.F.A. program.
Student actors participating in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition also faired 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 (3rd place overall) and M.F.A. candidate Lanny Langston – from Toquerville, Utah – received the second alternate (4th 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 – Department Chair 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.
For additional information on the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the American College Theater Festival to be held in mid-April, visit http://www.kennedy-center.org/education/actf.