ISU Theatre Students Earn Top Honors at KCACTF Region 5 Festival

Taylor Millar

Taylor Millar (senior in Performing Arts from Ankeny) took first place in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), Region 5 Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing fellowship. Millar will represent ISU this April as the top Region 5 student director at the National Festival held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Hannah Rublaitus black and white headshot

Hannah Rublaitus

Hannah Rublaitus (former student in Performing Arts from Coralville) received first place honors in Dramaturgy for her project on ISU’s fall production Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. Rublaitus will submit her project to be considered along with the first place recipients from the other seven regions.  The top four student Dramaturgs will be invited to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in April.

Rublaitus and Millar participated at the regional festival in Des Moines January 22-28 along with over 1500 college and university students and faculty from the Region 5 states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Missouri.  95 different colleges and universities were represented at the 2017 Region 5 festival.

KCACTF is a national organization run out of the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The organization celebrates and encourages excellence in college and university theatre across the country.  Its mission statement is that “through regional and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another’s work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. KCACTF honors the excellence of overall productions and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.”  Region 5’s festival includes competitions, workshops, and exhibitions in all areas of theatre, including acting, directing, playwriting, criticism, design, dramaturgy, and technical theatre.

In addition to Rublaitus and Millar, 44 ISU students and six ISU faculty members attended the Regional Festival in Des Moines.  Many of them also received honors and awards.

Vivian Cook (junior in Performing Arts from Ames) tied for 2nd place in the Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing fellowship. William Bonfiglio’s (a graduate student in English from Geneseo, New York) play Lesser Gods was one of three original one act plays to receive a concert reading at the Regional Festival.  Bonfiglio, along with Taylor Sklenar (who graduated in 2016 with degrees in Performing Arts, English, and Chemistry from Treynor) also received honors for their original full length plays.

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions are one of the largest events at the festival with over 600 student participants.  Three pairs of ISU students advanced to the semi-final round: Adam Kroksh (senior in Performing Arts from Akron) and his partner Taylor Millar (senior in Performing Arts), Bridget Johnston (junior in Music from Waukee) and her partner Olivia Griffith (sophomore in Performing Arts from Cedar Falls), as well as Emmy Cuvelier (senior in Performing Arts from Collins) and her partner Morgan Darrow (junior in Music from Sioux City).

Maddie Olsem (senior in Music from Cedar Rapids) was selected to sing in the finals of the Musical Theater Intensive Cabaret; Emmy Cuvelier was chosen as a dancer.

sarah bennett black and white headshot

Sarah Bennett

The costumes for Mr. Burns: a post-electric play designed by Sarah Bennett (sophomore in Performing Arts from Ankeny) were featured as a part of the festival’s annual Costume Parade.

The following students and faculty were honored for their work on 2016 ISU Theatre productions:

  • Taylor Sklenar for his direction of the student-produced play Three Days of Rain
  • Jim Trenberth (ISU Theatre Production Manager) for the Lighting Design for The Secret Garden
  • Lauren Dursky (2016 graduate with a degree in Performing Arts from Pleasantville) for Stage Management of The Secret Garden
  • Amanda Petefish-Schrag (Assistant Professor of Theatre) and Ben Schrag for adaptation of The Birds
  • Hannah Rublaitus for Dramaturgy for Mr. Burns, a post-electric play
  • Amanda Keesling (senior in Performing Arts from Oskaloosa) for Stage Management of Cabaret
  • Nathaniel Han (senior in Performing Arts from Pella) and Sarah Etheridge (junior in Performing Arts from Chicago) for Dramaturgy for Cabaret

Associate Professor of Theatre Brad Dell is the Chair of KCACTF Region 5.  Kelly Schaefer (Lecturer in Theatre) served as the hospitality coordinator; Amanda Petefish-Schrag was the Volunteer Coordinator; Jim Trenberth was one of the festival technical coordinators; and Charissa Menefee was a 10 Minute Play faculty mentor.

ISU has previously hosted the festival in Ames in 1999, 2007, 2011, and 2012.