Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Names Winners

by Jacob Coakley
The 2016 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival took place April 12-16 in Washington, D.C.
The 2016 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival took place April 12-16 in Washington, D.C.

The 2016 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival took place April 12-16, featuring more than 150 students from eight different regions competing for awards and scholarships. The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship went to Nellie Maple assisted by Daniel Parman, University of Central Missouri. The winners of the KCACTF Awards for Excellence in Scenic, Costume, Lighting and Sound Design received $500 and an expenses-paid trip to a Cirque du Soleil Design Immersion in Las Vegas, Nevada. All winners in a multitude of categories after the jump.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announces Award and Scholarship Recipients of the 2016 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
Honoring Outstanding Student Achievement at the 48th Annual National Festival

(WASHINGTON)--The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced the national awardees of the 48th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which was held April 12–16, 2016. Dozens of students received scholarships, fellowships, and cash awards in recognition of their outstanding work. These student artists presented their work at eight regional festivals January 5 to February 27, 2016, and more than 150 were selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for an all-expenses-paid trip to participate in national festival events taking place at the Kennedy Center.

The national festival included short play readings featuring the finalists of the Gary Garrison National Ten-Minute Play Award as part of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards showcase and the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play; public auditions for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships; the opportunity for participants to take part in master classes and engage with colleagues from across the nation and the Washington, D.C., theater community; and a closing day ceremony for awards in production, directing, choreography, acting, writing, design, stage management, dramaturgy, and theater criticism.

Developed in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding Chairman, the KCACTF encourages and celebrates the finest and most diverse theatrical productions from colleges and universities nationwide. The eight regional festivals and national festival provide an opportunity for college and university theater departments to present their work, especially new or student-written work, and to receive outside assessment. Since its establishment 48 years ago, KCACTF has reached millions of theatergoers and made important contributions to the professional development of countless college and university theater students nationwide.The recipients of the awards, scholarships, and fellowships announced at the national festival are listed below.

THE MICHAEL KANIN PLAYWRITING AWARDS

This program encourages and supports the development of student-written plays through a variety of honors including potential publication contracts, membership in the Dramatists Guild of America, and cash awards. The 2016 recipients were as follows:

The John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play went to Fledgling by Colleen McCandless, California State University, Long Beach. This program recognizes outstanding one-act plays and McCandless received a $500 award.

The Gary Garrison Award for Outstanding Ten-Minute Play went to The Nice View by Cynthia Veal Holm, Lesley University. This award, named after the Executive Director for Creative Affairs of the Dramatist Guild of America, recognizes outstanding ten-minute plays. Holm received a $500 award.

The four national finalists of the award were showcased in the Terrace Theater on April 13 as a Millennium Stage presentation. An archive of the performance can be found here through the Millennium Stage website.

Previously announced awards include:

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award went to Eugenie Carabatsos of Carnegie-Mellon University for We Will Not Describe the Conversation.

The second place recipient was Ara Vito of Belmont University for Alice.

The Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting went to Dan Giles of Carnegie-Mellon University for Breeders.

The KCACTF National Undergraduate Playwriting Award went to Carly Thomas of University of Michigan for Fair.

The Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award went to Lisa Kenner Grissom, Lesley University for Four Chambers and Martyna Majok of The Juilliard School for Ropes in the Well.

The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award went to Tearrance A. Chisholm of Catholic University of America for Br’er Cotton. The second place recipient was Leviticus Jelks of Carnegie-Mellon University for A is for Apron. The Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting went to Will Snider of University of California, San Diego for Strange Men. The second place recipient was Rebecca Sanchez of University of New Mexico for Chatterbox.

The Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award went to Anna Moench of University of California, San Diego for Hunger. The second place recipient was Ming Peiffer of Columbia University for i wrote on ur wall and now i regret it. The Rosa Parks Playwriting Award went to Tearrance A. Chisholm of Catholic University of America for Bhavi the Avenger.

The KCACTF Hip-Hop Creator Awards went to Federico C. Bartolo III of Los Medanos College for My Block. The second place recipient was Tahirih Moeller of California State University, Long Beach for A Live Mixtape.

The KCACTF Latinidad Playwriting Award went to Mercedes Floresislas of University of California at Riverside for Los Moreno. The second place recipient was Marisela Treviño Orta of University of Iowa for The River Bride.

The National Partners of the American Theater Playwriting Award went to Leo McGann of Boston University for In the Moment. The second place recipient was Mercedes Floresislas of University of California at Riverside for Los Moreno.

The David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award went to Keith Huff, produced by Carthage College for Up the Hill. The second place recipient was Richard A. Kalinoski, produced by University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for The Boy Inside.

The National Finalists of the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play
Fledgling by Colleen McCandless, California State University, Long Beach
Biodegradable Seagulls by Alexander Hehr, University of Central Florida
Boxed In by Mora Harris, Carnegie-Mellon University
Doctor Scott by Aaron Scully, University of Missouri
The National Finalists of the Gary Garrison National Ten-Minute Play Award
Nan by Mark Noa Gardner, Loyola Marymount University
The Nice View by Cynthia Veal Holm, Lesley University
In the Direction of the Sun by Sierra Carlson, James Madison University
Jigsaw Cactus by Caitlin Turnage, University of Houston

The Milan Stitt Award for Outstanding Teacher of Playwriting

The award was presented to Gary Garrison, Executive Director for Creative Affairs of the Dramatists Guild of America, who will retire from the Dramatists Guild in Fall 2016 to resume teaching.

THE IRENE RYAN ACTING SCHOLARSHIPS

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education and professional development. Sixteen regional finalists received a $500 scholarship. Eight of those regional finalists and their partners were selected to be in residence for week-long, expenses-paid trip to the national festival for professional development sessions and master classes, and to present their scholarship audition for a panel of artistic directors, actors, producers, and casting agents view the audition presentations of monologues, scenes, and songs.

This year, The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship went to Nellie Maple assisted by Daniel Parman, University of Central Missouri. Maple received a $5,000 scholarship and Parman received a $1,000 scholarship.

The second place recipient was Fé Torres assisted by Edgard Toro, Lehman College. Torres received a $2,500 scholarship and Toro received a $500 scholarship.The regional finalists and their acting partners were eligible for additional scholarships, fellowships, and awards.  The 2016 recipients were:

The College of Fellows of the American Theatre’s Jane Alexander Award for Acting went to Chayning Jenkins, Alabama State University. Jenkins received a $2,500 cash award.

The Mark Twain Scholarship for Comic Performance went to Morgan Gunter, partner to Johnny Wilson, Brigham Young University and Nellie Maple, University of Central Missouri. Both Gunter and Maple received a $1,000 scholarship.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival Everett Cushing Scholarship went to Keirsten Hodgens, Ball State University. Hodgens will attend a ten-week acting residency at Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Scholarship includes full room, board, and travel.

The Society of American Fight Directors Scholarship went to Johnny Wilson, Brigham Young University. Wilson will receive a full scholarship [travel, room and board] to attend the National Stage Combat Workshop at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for three weeks during the summer of 2016.

The VASTA [Voice and Speech Trainers Association] Award for Vocal Excellence went to Lawrence James Hickmon, Ramapo College of New Jersey. Hickmon received membership in VASTA and a $500 cash award.

The National New Play Network (NNPN) Award for Outstanding Performance in a Contemporary Work went to Keirsten Hodgens, Ball State University. Hodgens received an offer to be a member of the Acting Company of the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center, produced in association with NNPN, and a $500 cash award.

The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre Scholarship went to Fé Torres, Lehman College. Torres received a full scholarship [travel, housing, and meal allowance] to the Dell’Arte Summer Intensive in Blue Lake, California studying with the leading faculty of the Dell’Arte School, in an immersion in mask, clown, physical theater, and circus training.

The National Partners of the American Theatre Classical Acting Award, presented in association with the Shaw Festival, went to Lawrence James Hickmon assisted by Samantha Simone, Ramapo College of New Jersey. Hickmon will study for three weeks [award includes travel, lodging, and meals] at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company Acting Fellowship went to Callie Luman, University of Oklahoma. The Fellowship includes a weekly stipend, housing, and a role in Romeo and Juliet directed by Associate Artistic Director, Alan Paul.

The Kingsley Colton Award for Outstanding Partner went to Morgan Gunter, partner to Johnny Wilson, Brigham Young University. Sponsored by Actors’ Equity Association, Gunter received a $500 cash prize for his outstanding support of Mr. Wilson’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship audition.

THE BLANCHE AND IRVING LAURIE MUSICAL THEATRE FELLOWSHIPS

Each of the following Musical Theatre Fellows received a $1,200 scholarship from Artistic Director Jeff Whiting to attend the Open Jar Institute Summer Residency in New York.

Mathew Stanley, Salem State University

Daniel DeCranie-Pierre, SUNY Plattsburg

Cara Clase, Millersville University

Emily Hadick, Oakland University

Christian Magby, Savannah College of Art and Design

Da’Merius Ford, Wichita State University

Nicholas J. Main, Central Washington University

Kinsey Peotter, Mesa Community College

Rebekah Robles, College of the Sequoias

Shaylen Harger and Matthew Grasso, Western Connecticut State University

Additionally, Ashlyn H. Uribe of Anderson University and Ryne Nardecchia of Texas State University received full scholarships, including travel, lodging and meals, to attend the program in New York.

Daniel DeCranie-Pierre of SUNY Plattsburg was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Broadway Theatre Project Summer Institute in Tampa, Florida by Artistic Director

Debra McWaters.

THE SDC NATIONAL FELLOWSHIPS

In association with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

The SDC National Directing Fellowships went to Liz Fisher, Texas State University; Rommel Arellan Marinas, Florida International University; and Nathaniel Niemi, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Fisher, Marinas, and Niemi received a $300 cash award.

The O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference Directing Fellowship went to Liz Fisher, Texas State University. Fisher will be assisting one of the directors at the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, led by artistic director Wendy Goldberg.

The Kennedy Center and National New Play Network MFA Playwrights’ Workshop/Directing Intensive Fellowship went to Rommel Arellan Marinas, Florida International University; and Nathaniel Niemi, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Marinas and Niemi will receive a full fellowship [travel, lodging and per diem] to participate in the Kennedy Center’s summer intensive program on “Developing the New Play,” led by Mark Routhier, and will assist one of the directors from National New Play Network member theaters-in-residence to develop one of the invited plays.

THE KCACTF AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN SCENIC, COSTUME, LIGHTING, AND SOUND DESIGN

Designs of the regional finalists were displayed during the national festival and the National Design Respondents, distinguished artists in theatrical design, have selected award recipients in each category. All National KCACTF Design Award recipients received $500 cash and an expenses-paid, Cirque du Soleil Design Immersion in Las Vegas, Nevada. Special thanks Barbizon, Inc. for their support of the Lighting and Sound Design Project in the Kennedy Center Theater Lab, April 12-14, 2016.

The KCACTF Award for Excellence in Scenic Design went to Ashley Strain, California State University-Fullerton. Honorable Mentions included Jason Maracani, Oakland University and Corey Umlauf, Emerson College. Special Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Design was awarded to Donghwan Wang, Korean National University of the Arts.

The KCACTF Award for Excellence in Costume Design went to Julianna Reese, Oklahoma City University. Honorable mentions included April Gormley, Montclair State University and Melissa Valdez, University of Nebraska at Omaha.

The KCACTF Award for Excellence in Sound Design went to Avery Orvis, Suffolk County Community College. Honorable Mention for Original Music Composition was awarded to Lydia Oliverson. First Runner-up went to Jacob Margolis, Colorado State University and Second Runner-up went to Lindsay Worthington, Kalamazoo College.

The Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design went to William Peterson, Weber State University.

Regional finalists were also eligible for the additional design awards and fellowships. The 2016 recipients were:

The National Partners of the American Theatre Design Award went to Emmalaine Wright, Scottsdale Community College. The alternate was Justin Beets, Texas State University. Rudolph will spend an expenses-paid week in Seoul, South Korea, visiting theater design and traditional arts classes, various design studios, and attending performances. This award is presented to one of the Design Award finalists, and is funded by members of the National Partners. The Design Excellence Award is in association with the Korean National University of the Arts (KNUA).

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Design Fellowships

Recipients of the O’Neill Design Fellowships have been awarded a residency in their respective design fields at the O’Neill National Puppetry, Music Theater, Playwrights’, and Cabaret Conferences in Waterford, Connecticut.

The Fellowship for scenic design went to Corey Umlauf, Emerson College.

The Fellowship for lighting design went to Matthew Morris, University of Southern Mississippi.

The Fellowship for sound design went to Avery Orvis, Suffolk County Community College.

The Fellowship for stage management went to Jaclyn Drummond, Fort Lewis College.

THE DRAMATURGY FELLOWSHIPS

In association with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA).

Gemma F. De Leon of the University of Oregon will attend the O’Neill National Playwrights’ Conference as a member of the literary staff.

Lauren Chapman of James Madison University will attend the New Play Dramaturgy Intensive and National New Play Network MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center.

THE INSTITUTE FOR THEATRE JOURNALISM AND ADVOCACY SCHOLARSHIP TO THE O’NEILL NATIONAL CRITICS INSTITUTE

Alix Rosenfield of Villanova Univeristy received a full scholarship [travel, lodging, and meals] to attend the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Critics’ Institute during its National Playwrights’ Conference in July 2016, working with leading professional newspaper and magazine critics from across theU.S.THE ARTISTS STRIVING AGAINIST POVERTY SCHOLARSHIPS

Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) is a New York-based non-profit organization that connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty. ASTEP believes that the arts are essential to children’s academic and social success. One of ASTEP’s long-standing partners is the Shanti Bhavan Children’s project, an exceptional residential school for children in the lowest caste in South India. ASTEP provides year-round arts programming for these young, enthusiastic learners who are the future leaders of their communities and of their country. With the support and in partnership with the Kennedy Center, this year ASTEP awards a full scholarship to an outstanding student to visit New York City and attend the Artist-As-Citizen Conference in June. The 2016 scholarship went to:

Sapphire Johnson, West Chester University

“The Artist-As-Citizen” Conference Scholarships

In partnership with the Kennedy Center, ASTEP awards the following students partial scholarships to the Artist-As-Citizen Conference this June 2016:

Alexander Zacarias, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

Desiree Bartels, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dierdree Glassford, Southern Maine Community College

Fé Torres, Lehman College

Josiah Hernandaz, Angelo State University

The mission of ASTEP’s “The Artist-As-Citizen” Conference is to celebrate, connect, and develop young leaders in the arts by providing them with a transformative artistic and educational experience in the heart of New York City. The scholarship includes all conference activities, including keynote speeches, discussions, interactive workshops, and tickets for evening performances around New York, and full room and board at the Juilliard School for five nights and six days.

EDUCATION AT THE KENNEDY CENTER

The Kennedy Center retains its commitment as the nation’s cultural center to educating and enlightening children and adults in Washington and around the country. The Center’s national education programs include: Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child, which works with 14 municipalities and their school districts around the country to develop a long-range strategic plan for arts education; ARTSEDGE, a website that offers standards-based materials for use in and out of the classroom; Partners in Education, which forges relationships between an arts organization and its neighboring school systems to build effective arts education programs for teachers and teaching artists; Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, which works with 33 state organizations on arts education policy issues; Explore the Arts, which provides insight into the cultural and historical context of the works presented on stage and sparks dialogue between audiences and the artists who have created the performances through participatory workshops, demonstrations, panels, master classes, and open rehearsals; and the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, which acknowledge teachers of grades K-12 whose efforts have made a significant impact on their students.

        In and around D.C., the Kennedy Center’s programs include Changing Education Through the Arts, a program that works with 15 schools in the area to affect long-term change in school culture through professional learning in arts integration; Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers, which trains Washington-area educators to teach the arts or other subject areas through the arts; and Washington, D.C. Partnership Schools, where the Center provides resources and teaching artist residencies to 20 elementary, junior, and senior high schools in Washington, D.C. The Center also mounts more than 100 events and performances of theater, music, dance, and opera throughout the season for more than 100,000 local school-aged children.

        In addition, the Center offers multiple skill development programs for young artists and professionals both locally and nationally, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Fellowship Program, Summer Music Institute, and High School Competition; Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Opera Institute at American University, and Kids Create Opera Partnership; the biennial New Visions/ New Voices forum for development of new plays for young people; Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell; Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead; VSA’s Playwright Discovery Program, Young Soloists, and Visual Arts Programs; arts administration internships; and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, which directly impacts thousands of university and college theater students and faculty.

FUNDING CREDITS:

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein. Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts’ Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Additional support is provided by The Honorable Stuart Bernstein and Wilma E. Bernstein; the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation; the Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; Beatrice and Anthony Welters and the AnBryce Foundation.

The Millennium Stage is brought to you by Target and the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

The Millennium Stage was created and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs to make the performing arts accessible to everyone in fulfillment of the Kennedy Center's mission to its community and the nation.

Additional funding for the Millennium Stage is provided by Bernstein Family Foundation, The Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc., The Meredith Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A.J. Stolwijk, U.S. Department of Education, and the Millennium Stage Endowment Fund.

The Millennium Stage Endowment Fund was made possible by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, Fannie Mae Foundation, the Kimsey Endowment, Gilbert† and Jaylee† Mead, Mortgage Bankers Association of America and other anonymous gifts to secure the future of the Millennium Stage.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

For more information, please visit

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

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