Thirteen students to participate in regional theater festival

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University Department of Theatre will send 13 students, under the guidance of Assistant Professor Pat Carriere, to Region 5 of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), Jan. 20-26, 2008 in Omaha, Neb. The festival will see approximately 2,000 students and faculty from a five-state region in attendance.

Eight BSU students have been invited to the festival’s Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions, which provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The Irene Ryan Foundation annually awards 16 regional and two national scholarships – $500 scholarships for two representatives from each of the KCACTF’s eight national regions and two $3,500 scholarships for the winners at the national festival in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the student judged the Best Partner in the national auditions is awarded a cash prize of $250. The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships are, indeed, scholarships; the Foundation disburses the award through a school designated by the winner, to pay tuition and fees for further education, not necessarily limited to theatre arts.

The eight performers from Bemidji State who will be participating in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions are:
• “3 by Beckett,” Jon Mansk (Sr.; music and liberal arts; Center City, Minn.) and Sarah Bull (Jr.; theatre; Bemidji, Minn.)
• “Boys Next Door,” Scott Rieffer (Fr.; theatre; Cold Spring, Minn.)
• “The Glass Menagerie,” Tracy Ashman (Sr.; theatre; Carlsbad, Calif.) and Andy Browers (grad; English; Cloquet, Minn.)
• “The Sophie Scholl Project,” Erik Bergsven (Fr.; music; Bemidji, Minn.) and Mallory McKay (So.; elementary education; Rochester, Minn.)
• “Urinetown,” Bretanne Ostberg (So.; design technology; Lakeville, Minn.)

Five BSU students will be traveling to the KCACTF as scene partners: Whitney Stuckey (Sr.; business administration; Bemidji, Minn.); Teresa Rankin (Sr.; theatre; Thief River Falls, Minn.); Danielle Stadick (Sr.; music, Beulah, N.D.); Eric Benson (So.; music and liberal arts; Duluth, Minn.); and Jeff Darchuk (Sr.; computer science; Bemidji, Minn.).

“Our students attending the festival are very special, above and beyond the demands of the classroom they dedicate themselves to hundreds of hours of work putting on each production we do,” Carriere said. “In the midst of finals, they are now preparing for this festival.”

Bemidji State was invited to take scenes from “3 by Beckett” and “The Sophie Scholl Project” for the Invited Scenes Showcase at the festival, and “The Sophie Scholl Project” was under consideration as one of the invited productions to be performed at the festival.

Carriere has been named by Region 5 as the Faculty National KCACTF Festival Fellow. In this capacity, he will be attending the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., April 14-20, 2008.

About the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
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. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.
For more information, visit the festival’s Web site at