Six University of Oklahoma students in the Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama won top honors at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held Feb. 25 through 30 in Shreveport, La. The competition celebrates the finest and most diverse work produced in college and university drama programs across the country. Several awards included special invitations to compete or train at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions, which provide recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student performers, the top acting award went to drama senior Lindsey Kite and her partner, musical theatre sophomore Andrew Gallop, and to drama senior Brooke Reynolds and her partner, drama sophomore Kamron McClure. All four students won an all-expense-paid trip to compete in the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C., in April.
Additionally, musical theatre sophomore Andrew Gallop won the Irene Ryan Best Partner award.
During the theatre festival, OU students also received top honors in the areas of Design, Technology and Management.
Senior Kyle Bradford, who received the Dramaturgy Award, also will travel to the Kennedy Center for the national competition.
OU students won a total of 11 awards in the area of Design, Technology and Management, including seniors F. Leahe Knott, who received the Award for Theatrical Design Excellence, and Brad Gray, who received Meritorious Achievement in Lighting Design.
Two students, both seniors, received honors from the National Stage Management Fellowship. Rachel Arditi received the Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management, and Madeleine Borg received the Doug Getzoff Award for Undergraduate Design Excellence for her scenic design of Julius Caesar.
Additionally, senior Paul Kim received the Focal Press Rafael Jaen Showcase Award for his costume design work, and junior Ethan Hartman received Allied Design and Technologies Award and the Meritorious Achievement Society of Properties Artisans and Masters Award.
Awards also went to junior Melissa Perkins, Costume Crafts Technology, and senior Mitchell Southerland, Scenic Technology. The United States Institute for Theatre Technology – Southwest Region Section Technology Award was awarded to senior Caitlin Yost for her 1940s suit.
“We are so proud of all the School of Drama students and faculty,” said OU School of Drama director Tom Huston Orr. “It takes the effort of every one of us for our students to succeed in this way. A win for any of us is a win for all of us. We are grateful to the American College Theatre Festival for providing our students with such a wide range of opportunities for growth.”
The students who advance to the Kennedy Center competitions not only compete for scholarships and internship opportunities but also participate in workshops taught by master teachers and professional artists working in theatre. KCACTF’s mission is to nurture and mentor young talent and prepare them for success in the theatre.