Nick Sargis presents his lighting design from Monmouth College's production of 'A Christmas Carol' to two New York City designers.
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Monmouth College was well represented at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), held Jan. 7-11 at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Mich. Not only did several of the students who attended return to campus with awards, but theatre professor Doug Rankin served as vice chair of Design, Technology and Management, helping to organize and run the festival’s design competition.
“The festival is an opportunity to ‘eat, breathe and sleep’ everything theatre, with a variety of workshops, free shows and competitions,” said Rankin, who reported that the MC students were handpicked and endorsed by professors in order to participate in their respective events
One of the festival’s goals is to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theatre skills and insight and achieve professionalism, making them more attractive candidates for opportunities beyond college.
At the national level, sophomore Natalie Stortoni of Gurnee was runner-up for first place in The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy writing award.
In regional competition, Mike Bennett, a senior from Monmouth, won the award for Best 10-Minute Play Direction. Rachel Whitlock, a senior from Sandwich, received honorable mention for best director in the Design Storm Competition. Monmouth’s region consists of colleges and universities from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.
Also attending the festival were: Corey Campbell, Bourbonnais; Adam Duffield, Fairview; Marissa Franks, Moline; Kelsi Ford, Geneseo; Elizabeth Johnson, Geneseo; Nick Sargis, Aurora; Sarah Schmitt, Marengo; Jill Turley, Greenville; and Johnny Williams, Kewanee.
“It was great to have a chance to attend this festival again,” said Bennett. “I went two years ago as an Irene Ryan (acting scholarship) competitor, and it was one of the most theatrically rewarding experiences of my life. I was cast in the full-length show and spent the week collaborating with some of the best minds the region has to offer. I still keep in touch with those folks even though we hadn’t known each other for more than five days.”
Established in 1969 by Roger Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide, which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theatre in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, through which theatre departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.