Wednesday, January 17, 2018

UIS Theatre honored at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region III

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson (File Photo)
University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of Theatre Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson was honored with the faculty service award for Illinois during the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region III in Indianapolis January 9-14, 2018.

Thibodeaux-Thompson was honored for his outstanding service in providing responses/feedback to various theatre productions around the state of Illinois. Each state chair coordinates sending out faculty from their respective states to attend and respond to productions in the state. The organization (and each state chair) relies on faculty to travel throughout the state to share their expertise with students and colleagues at other institutions in the state.

UIS Theatre has been involved with KCACTF since 2002, and currently enters its mainstage productions as “associate” entries, in order to receive responses/feedback from theatre professors in the state of Illinois. In addition to the verbal response, the respondent and director nominate two students from the production as Irene Ryan Scholarship nominees.

Sherri Mitchell & Krista Massat
UIS students Sherri Mitchell and Krista Massat advanced to the semi-final round in the Irene Ryan Scholarship audition. It’s the first time UIS students have advanced to the semi-final round. They auditioned alongside 239 nominees (and their partners) in the preliminary round from the four state region (which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Out of the 239 nominees, Mitchell was among 48 chosen as semi-finalists. The scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan, who had a successful career as a vaudeville, radio and movie actor, prior to her popular portrayal of the lovable and feisty Granny Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

A total of 11 UIS students took part in the festival, including Beatrice Bonner, Diamond Dixon (an Irene Ryan Scholarship nominee), David Hecht, Kat Pruitt, Kim Riddle, Katie Simpson, Claire Starling (Ms. Dixon’s Ryan partner) and Aaron Thomas. Kat Pruitt participated as an assistant stage manager for the Irene Ryan preliminary and semi-final rounds of the scholarship auditions, under Irene Ryan coordinator for Region 3, UIS Associate Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeuax-Thompson.

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center's founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.

Since Fall Semester 2017, UIS has offered a bachelor’s degree in theatre, in addition to a theatre minor. The major in theatre provides students the opportunity to gain knowledge of human cultures and to practice integrative and applied learning through challenging coursework in performance, design, technology, directing, and playwriting, as well as the opportunity to work in various productions as an actor, a director, a playwright, a stage manager, a dramaturg, a designer, a make-up artist, or as a lighting, sound, or props technician.