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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Feb. 17, 2017

Northwest students earn high marks at annual theater festival

Twenty Northwest Missouri State University theater students spent the week of Jan. 22-28 demonstrating their skills and competing with peers at the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Des Moines, Iowa.

More than 1,500 college students presented work at the festival. Northwest students presented more than 25 projects in a variety of areas, including acting, design, playwriting, stage management and theater technology.

Bree Patterson, a senior theatre performance major from Liberty, Missouri, came away from the festival with a partial scholarship to attend the Open Jar Institute in New York City this summer. She also was selected to perform at the festival as a member of the Musical Theatre Intensive, and she advanced to the semifinal round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition.

To audition for the Open Jar Institute scholarship, Patterson first sang a three-minute piece. She waited three days before learning she had advanced to the next round and then joined the remaining finalists for intensive rehearsals and a performance of a musical cabaret.

Open Jar selected five students to receive the scholarship. Patterson will travel in July to New York, where she will attend Broadway shows, live on Times Square and perform in a showcase.

“I am so excited to participate in master classes and work with Broadway professionals,” Patterson said. “This experience has taught me that I can sing in front of people, and it is easier than I thought it would be. It also taught me that I can have confidence and stay humble as well as make my art for me and not for anyone else.”

Ashley Reynolds, a senior theatre major from St. Charles, Missouri, advanced to the final round of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society competition. Reynolds directed a scene from Stephen Karam’s “Speech and Debate,” a play about three high school students participating in a new speech and debate club and the adolescent issues they confront.

It was Reynolds’ third trip to KCACTF.

“I have learned so much about my directorial style through this competition, which is definitely going to help me out in the future as I pursue a career,” she said. “Through attending workshops and different productions that other institutions bring to the conference, we as students of theater learn about so many different styles and ways to do theater. By attending this conference we’re able to bring back new ideas and refresh our thoughts regarding our art, which allows us to create even better work at Northwest.”

The annual festival gives Northwest students opportunities to network with theater students and professionals from throughout the country while gaining unbiased feedback of their performances and set designs. Students are chosen to compete and participate in events at the festival based on application materials they submit during a competitive selection process.

In addition to presenting work and competing, festival participants have opportunities to take classes and workshops taught by theater faculty and professionals from throughout the country. Students view productions presented by their peers and have their own performances critiqued by industry professionals who work in the stage, television and film industry.

Faculty members Katheryn Bilbo, Patrick Immel and Stephanie Jorandby in Northwest’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts led the University’s festival contingent. In addition to mentoring students throughout the year, they presented and were panelists during workshops and design intensives. Bilbo served as dramaturgy associate coordinator for the festival.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468