MNSU students excel at regional festival

Seven MNSU theatre students advance to finals at KCACT festival

Alyssa Bunde
Staff Writer

This past month Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Theatre & Dance had seven students advance to finals at Region V Kennedy Center American College 51 Theater Festival. They participated with 1,581 registrants, representing 87 colleges and universities.

The festival was Jan. 20-26 in Sioux Falls and was hosted by South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota, among others. This regional festival is the largest of eight in the country and represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

Senior Minnesota State University, Mankato student Alex Rollins explained she wasn’t expecting to win any awards, “when there’s 20 people in your category your like, ‘there’s no way’.”

However, the senior walked away with 1st place in the national lighting design category for “Talley’s Folly”.

MNSU student Cam Pederson competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship for his work in the campus production of “The Mousetrap”. Pederson explained the process for this scholarship, “we select a scene partner and present a brief acting package.”

Six other MNSU students advanced to the semi-final round and three MNSU students, Martha Juliana Cubillos Caceres, Ashley D’Lyn Gunn and Gary Du Charme II, advanced to the final round. Pederson stated,

“I was proud of the work we did and enjoyed watching a couple of my fellow MNSU friends shine throughout the week!”

In addition to the awards there were also shows and classes going on during the week that individuals could attend.

MNSU first year student David T. Loudermilk stated that while he wasn’t able to attend all of the classes, he had wanted to he enjoyed the feedback that came from the director competition. Loudermilk explained, “we were given 11 scenes to choose from and you were expected to present it for the adjudicators.”

While Loudermilk did not receive any awards, he did tie for second with an Honorable Mention.

Other awards given to our MNSU students included, two singers advancing to the Musical Theater Intensive Showcase and performed on the festival mainstage: Cam Pederson and Lydia Prior. Two dancers also advanced: Mitchel Evans and Zoe Hartigan. Seth Honerman claimed first place for the Society of Directors and Choreographers.

Natasha Singh was the Region V winner in Stage Management and Ben Kramer tied for second place for his scene design of 1984. Jameson Bernhagen won 1st place for the Don Childs Award. Cam Pederson, Erin Wegleitner and Alex Rollins all won the Stagecraft Institute Awards.

Regional awards were given to: Sam Buckley for 1st place in Dramaturgy, Jameson Bernhagen for 1st place for Lighting Design and Cam Pederson 1st place for Make Up Design. The Legacy Award was given to Reegan Tolk.

Certificates of Merit were also awarded to: Ben Kramer for his scene design of 1984, John Paul for his scene design for Ragtime; Natasha Singh for Production Stage Management of Ragtime, Erin Wgleitner for her scene design for “Bye Bye Birdie” and Alyssa Thome for production stage management for “Bye Bye Birdie”.

Feature photo courtesy of the MSU Theatre Department.

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