Students in Northwest Mississippi Community College's theater pathway and their instructors attended the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Feb. 5-9 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Northwest competes in KCACTF Region IV, which encompasses colleges and universities from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Southern Virginia. Northwest was one of five community colleges that participated in this year's festival, according to Sadie Shannon, speech and theater chair.
"The number of community colleges varies from year to year depending on where the festival is held, but we have been the only community college from Mississippi to attend since we starting going in 2011," Shannon said.
Brynden Foster of Senatobia participated in the Musical Theater Initiative and advanced to the semifinals (top 14) for the second year in a row. He passed to the Final Round (top seven) and was chosen to sing at the ending Gala (top four). He was also a nominated as an Irene Ryan Acting Award student and competed at the festival.
Brietta Goodman of Horn Lake participated in the Musical Theater Initiative, advanced to the semifinals (top 14), and passed to the Final Round (top seven).
Kate Walker of Hernando participated in the Musical Theater Initiative and advanced to the semifinals (top 14). She also was partnered with both Foster and Steile Warren of Lake Cormorant in the Irene Ryan Acting Award competition. Warren was a nominated Irene Ryan Acting Award student and competed at the festival. She also participated in the Musical Theater Initiative.
Foster, Goodman and Walker were also recently accepted for a week-long summer program at the Open Jar Institute, New York City's most Broadway-integrated actor training program which provides select students intensive one-on-one training with Broadway's biggest stars, performers, directors, choreographers, agents and casting directors.
Nelson Meredith of Olive Branch auditioned and was cast in the 10-minute play festival. He was a nominated Irene Ryan Acting Award student and competed at the festival. Meredith also participated in the Musical Theater Initiative.
Victoria Newton of Nesbit competed the Design Competition with her realized sound design from Calvin Berger, was a nominated Irene Ryan Acting Award student and competed at the festival. Joshua Luther of Senatobia partnered with Newton in the Irene Ryan Acting Award competition.
Matt Williams of Hernando and Alberto Durate-Genelle of Water Valley competed in the Design Competition with a set design. Duarte-Genelle partnered with Meredith in the Irene Ryan Acting Award competition. Abby Morton of Hernando and Mya Murrell competed in the Design Competition with a costume design.
Shannon received a Meritorious Achievement Award for Excellence in Direction for Calvin Berger.
In addition to their KCACTF accolades, the theater department garnered 15 "Allie Award" nominations for the 2018 season from the North Mississippi Theater Alliance and won four. Northwest Technical Director Alyssa Algee won "Best Director of a Comedy" for Waiting for Godot; alumnus Jon Tackett "Best Leading Actor in a Play" for A Delicate Ship. Alumna Preslie Cowley garnered "Best Leading Actress in a Play" for Waiting for Godot and Waiting for Godot won "Best Comedy."
The theater department is currently in rehearsals for its spring production, Play On! which will run April 11-14 in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Senatobia campus.