UI Theatre Students Win at Regionals, Advance to National Competition

Friday, February 28 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – Three students from The University of Idaho Theatre Arts Department have been selected to participate in prestigious national theatre events following their performances at last week’s Region 7 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Boise.

Master of Fine Arts candidate Emily Nash, of La Grande, Ore., was named the Irene Ryan regional winner with the help of her scene partner MFA candidate Brian Demar Jones, of New York City, from a field of 250 preliminary candidates.

The Irene Ryan Acting Competition is considered the ultimate college level acting award. Nash and Jones advance to the National Festival in April, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. There they will showcase their talent and compete against 15 other teams from around the United States.

In addition, 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.“

Denver native 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 – Aug. 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.

Other UI theatre arts students taking home regional prizes include:

• MFA candidate Courtney Smith, of Bellingham, Wash., won a Meritorious Award for his scenic design of “Ordinary Time.”
• Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate Codey Butler, of Boise, Idaho, won a Meritorious Award for his stage management of “Ordinary Time.”
• BFA candidate Max Holley, of Lewiston, Idaho, won a Meritorious Award for his Ghost of Christmas Future “gown & crown” creation in the Allied Crafts / Costumes category for “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. Jeff is a 2013 MFA winter graduate and his play received a certificate of excellence from the national selection team.

A total of 49 UI theatre arts students and three faculty members participated in the KCACTF Region 7 event, which featured workshops, presentations, and performance directing, design and playwriting competitions.

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.

Contact(s): Kelly O’Neill, UI Theatre Arts Department, 208-885-6465 or 208-874-7698,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.