Students receive honors at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival


Courtesy: Marywood Marketing and Communications Department

Margaret Scott

Students from Marywood’s music, theater and dance department participated and received honors in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The festival took place in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Students who earned honors from Marywood included Ken Doyle and Sarah Wagner, both senior theater majors, as they competed as a team in the Irene Scholarship Awards. They competed against 200 other students initially, making it to the final rounds with 16 other teams who competed for the scholarship.

According to the festival’s official website, the festival has been a part of improving college theater in the United States by encouraging students to learn and be involved in theater. In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the best of college theater productions entered in the competition.

The week-long festival includes a series of events like workshops led by professionals and people in the field. Productions from schools in the region also receive invitations to perform at the festival.

The schools in the regional competition include schools from Pennsylvania, Western New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Northern Virginia and Ohio.

Sarah Wagner talked about her experience competing against schools around the region.

“This allowed us to focus more on each other and ourselves. We used the experience to challenge and redefine our own personals bests,” said Senior Theater Major Sarah Wagner.

Melina Barry, a sophomore theater major, received a Certificate of Excellence for her audition for the national Playwriting Program staged reading auditions. Barry was the only student to receive this recognition in the region.

Tiffany Atkins, a senior theater major, was given an Honorable Mention from the Regional Design Committee for her lighting design for the production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Professor Charles Gorden, director of the theater program, said he was happy students were able to take part in the competition.

“Given the fact that our students were able to achieve recognition at a festival of this size, it’s really incredible and speaks well to their talent and abilities,” said Gorden.

Doyle, who competed as a team with Wagner in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Awards at the Festival, said he learned a lot through he process.

“I accomplished a lot more than I thought I was going to. We didn’t win overall, but it felt like a huge win as a department and as a school,” said Doyle.

He added that he learned a lot about taking chances in life.

“Biggest thing learned was to take more risks, and obviously that meant in my acting, but that applies to life too,” Doyle said.

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