Barry McNamara  |   Published January 18, 2017

Award-winning designer

Curtis ’18 receives prestigious scholarship at KCACTF conference
  • © David Aaron Troy

A Monmouth College student was honored at a recent regional collegiate theatre event.

Scenic designer Natalie Curtis ’18 of Arlington Heights, Ill., received the prestigious Don Childs Memorial Scholarship at the recent Kennedy Center Region 3 American College Theatre Festival.

Curtis was chosen for the award from among 70 student designers in the five-state region. Curtis also received a certificate of merit for her scenic design of last fall’s production of Oedipus Rex and an honorable mention for her scenic design of a last spring’s production of The Tempest.

“The (Childs Memorial Scholarship) is presented in the area of technical theatre to a student designer who displays exceptional talent in their field, and who exemplifies the qualities of dedication, talent and collaboration that contribute to theatre excellence,” said Monmouth theatre professor Doug Rankin, who is also a member of the KCACTF board. “This scholarship will pay for Natalie to study at this summer’s Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, where she will work with industry leaders in her field.”

Curtis was among a dozen Monmouth students who participated at the week-long theatre festival, held in Indianapolis. The students were accompanied by theatre faculty members Ron Zank and Rankin.

What makes Curtis’ award even more impressive is that she’s not a theatre major or minor. The math major said she appreciates how she has been welcomed by the College’s theatre department. She connected with Rankin while exploring ways to pursue her interest in graphic design.

“I’ve followed his line of design courses, and that’s where I did The Tempest design,” she said. “After that theatre class last spring, the department invited me to design the set for Oedipus Rex.”

Entering Monmouth, Curtis didn’t consider scenic design as a career, but she said that “now it’s on the table,” along with her interests in graphic design, industrial design and architecture.

Curtis said she appreciates the discipline of math because of the way she “learns different ways to approach different problems.”

“It doesn’t always have to relate to something specific like calculus,” she said.

Other students who attended the festival were Cole Downey ’17 of Geneva, Ill., Sam Dummer ’17 of Round Lake Beach, Ill., Jack Godlewski ’18 of Elgin, Ill., AJ Green ’20 of Chicago, Amanda Grissom ’19 of Eldridge, Iowa, Morgan Holle ’17 of Oskalossa, Iowa, Ellen Johnson ’17 of Kewanee, Ill., Carlin Reinig ’18 of Hamilton, Ill., Miles Rose ’19 of Princeton, Ill., Billy Savage ’19 of Hickory Hills, Ill., and Johnny Williams ’17 of Kewanee, Ill.

The students participated in acting, dramaturgy, directing, design storm, and scenery and lighting design competitions. They also attended several workshops and viewed productions from the five-state region.

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