Topics: College of Fine Arts, Awards

February 5, 2019

2019 marks the 15th consecutive year at least one student from Ball State University has been a national qualifier in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, which is the longest ever streak in the history of the KCACTF.

At the regional competition in Madison, Wisconsin, 31 Ball State students were recognized, and Ball State matched a record with five students of the 16 total finalists being from the University.

“I’m immensely proud of our students, especially because we continue to be recognized in multiple areas, not just one area,” said Bill Jenkins, chair of Ball State Department of Theatre and Dance. “For example, our kids win awards in areas of performance, sound design, dramaturgy, scenic and lighting design, costume design, playwriting, and much more. We have had a great deal of success across the board, which I think is an indication of the depth of strength within the program.”

Two first place winners — Wren Rivera (for best actor) and Connor Maloney (for outstanding sound design) — will travel to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April to compete against other regional winners in the national KCACTF competition. Devon Hayakawa (best dramaturg) could have the chance to compete nationally after the finalists are narrowed down further in March. Winner of the Don Childs Award for excellence in technology and design, Nick Shelton, will travel to the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas for a one-week master class.

“We train our students well, and there was some great mentorship between students and faculty at the festival,” Jenkins said. “I think one of the best things about Ball State is that we give our students an environment in which they can successfully fail. In other words, they are given the latitude to try new things and to get up if they don’t succeed. Some places are less likely to encourage that, but for us, we believe that failure leads to success. Because our students have had the opportunity to fail, when they have success, it is that much sweeter.”

By Emily Gralak