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Feb. 6, 2018

Theatre students, faculty earn recognition at regional festival

Northwest Missouri State University students and faculty earned high marks at the annual Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), including 11 commendations for their work in direction, design and management.

Twenty-four Northwest students attended the festival Jan. 21-27 in Des Moines, Iowa, where more than 1,500 college students from throughout the region share their work, attend workshops and develop theatre skills.  

Assistant Professor of Theatre Katheryn Bilbo, who serves as associate dramaturgy coordinator for KCACTF Region V, led the University’s festival contingent. Northwest’s participation in the festival, which is funded in part by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences, is an important profession-based activity for students, Bilbo said.

“It is critical in our recruitment and retention efforts and is a valuable teaching and learning experience we are able to offer them to supplement their education, giving them exposure to a wide variety of theory and practice,” she said. “Northwest students earn commendations and high marks at the festival every year, and their success represents not only the importance of our presence at this annual festival, but also our program's success in promoting the University's focus on profession-based learning.”

Five Northwest students received commendations, including four for Theatre Northwest’s November production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors.”


Four Northwest faculty members received commendations.

Additionally, Northwest received a commendation for inclusion in the Invited Scene Showcase. Two student-written short plays from “Landscapes of the Mind” – “Garden of Eden” by Nataleigh Brull, a senior speech and theatre education major from Overland Park, Kansas, and “Worthless” by Ruiz – were featured at the festival showcase.

Jorandby’s costume designs for “The Learned Ladies” also were featured in the KCACTF Costume Parade, earning another commendation. Jorandby also led “Costume Faculty Roundtable,” a workshop with regional costume designers.

Northwest students presented more than 20 projects in a variety of areas, including acting, design, playwriting, directing, and theater technology.

Students have opportunities to compete for scholarships and internships as well as audition and interview for professional work at the festival. In the prestigious Irene Ryan scholarship competition, Northwest students Bree Patterson, a senior theatre performance major from Liberty Missouri, and Shawn Murphy, a junior theatre performance major from Redfield, Iowa, advanced from a pool of 312 nominees and were among 64 students to compete in the semifinal round. Murphy was one of 16 finalists in the Irene Ryan final round presented during the Closing Night ceremonies.

In addition to mentoring Irene Ryan nominees, dramaturgs and directors, Bilbo presented an introduction to restoration comedy workshop, “How Scandalous, Madam!”

The annual festival gives Northwest students opportunities to network with theatre students, instructors, and professional artists from throughout the country while gaining unbiased feedback of their performances and 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 participate in intensive half- and full-day classes and attend workshops taught by theatre faculty and professionals from throughout the region. Students view invited productions presented by peer institutions, and have their own performances critiqued by theatre professionals who work in the industry.

“Our hope for students attending KCACTF is that they will become inspired by the things they do and see, encouraging them to continue their education toward becoming successful theatre artists,” Bilbo said. “It gives them a chance to receive feedback on their work, thoughts on how to improve in the future and learn more about how their work is perceived by an audience. The festival also gives them a chance to network and make lifelong friends similarly devoted to their discipline. A week of total immersion in what they love fuels their creative fire and gives them renewed energy and purpose for their chosen field.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215