Current and former Hope College students won multiple honors during the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, earlier this month, including a chance for one of them to participate in the forthcoming national festival.
Students are nominated to participate in the regional festival based on work created on their campuses during the previous calendar year. This year’s event, held on Tuesday-Sunday, Jan. 6-11, included 1,300 participants from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as more than 50 guest artists from all over the United States and Canada.
Hope theatre faculty member Michelle Bombe chairs the regional organization. A total of 36 Hope students and six members of the college’s theatre faculty and staff attended.
Alexa Duimstra, a December graduate from Appleton, Wisconsin, received top honors in Costume Design for her design for “En Passant II,” a work that had been featured during the Department of Dance’s “Dance 40” concert. Through the win, Duimstra, who had also presented her work as a costume designer for Hope College Theatre’s production of “As You Like It,” has earned a trip to the National KCACTF in Washington, D.C., in April to participate in master classes and have the opportunity to receive further awards.
Also in the area of Costume Design, senior Mary Elizabeth Winther of Canton received honorable mention for her design for “Urinetown.”
Sophomore Lindsay Hall of Grand Blanc received top honors in the area of Dramaturgy Program Note for her work on the play “Incomplete,” written by senior Austen Boer of Holland.
Hope students had their best showing to date in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions, in which students are nominated to participate based on their performance in a production. Sophomore Sean Zorn of Clinton Township won the Best Comedy Award and junior Theo Zucker of Lake Orion won the Best Partner Award, and several other students were among the invited nominees.
Zorn, who was nominated for his performance in “End Days,” participated with sophomore CaliRose DiGuiseppe of Portage as his scene partner. Zucker received her award for her work as scene partner with junior Mollie Murk of Crystal Lake, Illinois, the latter of whom had been nominated for her role in “As You Like It.” The teams of Zorn and DeGuiseppe and Murk and Zucker both advanced through a total of three rounds, from an initial field of 250 participants to a final round featuring the top 16 overall.
Other Ryan scholarship nominees participating from Hope were: senior Taylor Ann Krahn of Mishawaka, Indiana, for her role in “As You Like It”; senior Bridget McCarthy of Grand Haven for her role in “Urinetown”; senior Allison Simmons of North Street for her role in “Urinetown”; and senior Alex Sloan of Ann Arbor for his role in “Middletown.” Receiving the nomination, but unable to attend the conference, was recent graduate Molly Coyle of Holland, for her role in “Middletown.”
Additional students participating in the audition at the conference as scene partners for the Ryan nominees from Hope were: senior Austin Boer of Holland; junior Kendall Cole of Jenison; senior Dylan Connor of Tallahassee, Florida; and senior Tessa Schultz of Kellogg, Iowa.
Also participating in the festival were senior Jacqueline Marshke of Glenview, Illinois, and senior Emily Svendson of Crystal Lake, Illinois, in the student stage management category. Other Hope students attended to participate in workshops, attend productions, and hear presentations by guest artists.