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Students Participated in Regional Theatre Festival

Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Seven Westminster College students participated in the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Jan. 10-15 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Five Westminster students competed or were partners for Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships for their work in Theatre Westminster productions: Tara Holl, Courtney Jackson, Morgan McNeal, Danielle Newport, and Maddison Welton.

Tegan McCune and Carol Sulla were nominated for the Design Technology Management competition.

Sulla received a certificate of merit for Super Volunteer Work as a volunteer stage manager for two events in the Fringe@Festival section.

"It was wonderful to have the chance to work in a semi-professional environment and be trusted with large responsibilities," Sulla said.

"The faculty members organizing the fringe events, both from other colleges, were very impressed with Carol's abilities," said Dr. Scott Mackenzie, Westminster associate professor of theatre who accompanied the group.

Jackson and Newport, both festival veterans, partnered for a scene from Certain Injustice.  They did not progress beyond the first round, but felt they received a lot of useful feedback to improve the performance for Westminster's Undergraduate Research and Arts Celebration in April.

"Last year, I attended the festival as an assistant to Scott Mackenzie," Jackson said.  "It was fun, but to be able to experience the festival from the other side was amazing.  I was able to attend five of eight main stage performances and attend four workshops on costuming that will be very useful at Theatre Westminster."

Newport's work on The Children's Hour was entered in the design competition last year.  "Participating in the Irene Ryans gave me a chance to see a different side of the festival and the inner workings of the acting competition," Newport said.  "I attended workshops for designers and directors and had the chance to see several performances produced by colleges in the region.  I'm very thankful for the opportunity to attend the KCACTF this year."

McNeal, a first-time KCACTF participant, was nominated for her role in Theatre Westminster's Red Herring.  At the festival, she partnered with Welton for a scene from The Blueberry Hill Accord.

"I was ecstatic after getting the nomination," McNeal said.  "Dr. Mackenzie helped me find scenes and Maddison and I started rehearsing them right away.  We went over them again and again because I was so nervous.  The performance experience was incredible.  We felt we did our best and enjoyed it, but did not move to the next round."

Contact Mackenzie at (724) 946-6238 or email for additional information.  Click here for more information about Westminster's theatre program.

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Visit the Drinko website for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Center front: Tara Holl. Middle row (l-r): Tegan McCune, Courtney Jackson, Carol Sulla. Back row (l-r): Morgan McNeal, Maddison Welton, Danielle Newport.