Northwestern College’s Theatre Department took their annual trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in Burnsville, Minn. on Jan. 17-23. nineteen students, two of the departments’ faculty and over 1500 students and professors from six Midwestern states were in attendance.
KCACTF is a week filled with all things theater. Students and faculty attending the regional festival were able to attend workshops on different topics and see invited productions and scenes. Students were able to bring their designs and compete in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition.
NW had a number of students bringing their designs to KCACTF and competing in the Irene Ryans. Junior theater major Caroline Trewet brought the projections design she created for NW’s fall production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Trewet walked away with an award that will help pave her way to become a professional theatre artist in the future.
As a part of the award she won, Trewet will have the opportunity to study at the Stagecraft Institute in Las Vegas At the regional festival this summer. Trewet was one of only three people at the festival to win this award.
“They pick three designs that exhibit exemplary stagecraft and want to foster that drive,” Trewet said.
Trewet compared her upcoming experience to a professional theatre summer camp where she will be studying with experts in a field she chooses to study. The most intriguing session to her that will be offered this summer is titled, “Movers, Media, and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which will be held for three weeks in July.
“I’m super pumped,” Trewet said. “But also terrified that I won’t know the technical language when I get there.”
The award will help pay for an intensive Trewet selects, including tuition and the chance to see a show in the chosen field of study.
NW theater professor Karen Barker was one of the faculty members who attend KCACTF with the students and has great pride in Trewet’s work.
“Designers can’t do their one little sliver well and then not get the whole of it,” Barker said. “Caroline gets the whole of it. She purposely puts herself in situations to learn more.”
Trewet wasn’t the only one who brought designs to KCACTF. Senior Rowan Sullivan displayed her sound work for Macbeth and Visiting. Junior Carolyn Hopkins and senior, Amber Beyer both brought their costume designs, Hopkins for “Macbeth” and Beyer for “Princess Amanda and the Dragon.”
In addition to bringing designs to be displayed, six students also participated in the Irene Ryans, a scholarship competitions students can be nominated for when acting in a production. With this nomination, students select a scene partner and prepare two separate scenes and a monologue to compete at the regional level for a chance to move on to the national level.
“They changed the process this year,” Barker said. “Two people in each of the two rooms sat through the entire day. From 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. How can you stay alert for that long?”
While none of the six nominees moved on to the semi-final round, getting nominated was still an honor. The six students were seniors Abby McCubbin and Hana Spangler, juniors Logan Wright, AJ Stoscher and Caroline Trewet and sophomore Warren Duncan.
NW did well at KCACTF this year, and students were excited to see their work alongside the work of other college theater programs.
“Northwestern can do cool things that other state schools are doing,” Trewet said. “We are learning things!”
KCACTF was also an opportunity for NW to show some of the values of the theater department.
“We don’t want to be people who only care about one thing,” Barker said. “Knowing something about everything matters and is important for everybody.”