Topics: Academic Programs, Arts and Culture, Awards, College of Fine Arts, Student Activities, Students

February 7, 2023

Imani Bassett, Ball State University
Imani Brissett (right)

Several students from Ball State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance earned recognition at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre’s regional festival, held Jan. 11-15 in Flint, Mich.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) is a national program that honors artistic excellence and provides students with individualized recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, dramatic criticism, theatre management, directing, and design through eight regional festivals. KCACTF holds its national festival in Washington, D.C., each April. In January, Ball State students participated in the festival for Region III, which includes Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and portions of Ohio.

Among the Ball State students who received noteworthy recognition at the Region III festival is Imani Brissett, a senior. Mr. Brissett was named the Irene Ryan Award winner, earning a $500 scholarship and a trip to the Kennedy Center National Festival in April. Mr. Brissett won this award after competing against nearly 250 students across the region. As his stage partner, senior Sawyer True will also get to participate in the national competition.

This marks the 19th year a Ball State Theatre and Dance student has been selected as a regional winner or national qualifier.

“The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our University’s best and brightest Theatre and Dance students,” said William Jenkins, department chair of Ball State’s Department of Theatre and Dance and a professor of Theatre. “I am proud of Imani for this much-deserved recognition, and I am excited for the opportunity in front of Imani and Sawyer in the upcoming national festival.”

Other Ball State students who excelled at this year’s Region III festival include:

  • Han Coffman, senior — Stage Management Finalist
  • Nor White, senior — Directing Competition Finalist
  • Gray Mueller, senior— Directing Competition Finalist
  • Lavender Abston, sophomore— Design Storm Award Costuming Winner 
  • Caroline Gilley, senior — Irene Ryan Finalist
  • Ian Cobb, senior— Irene Ryan Semifinalist
  • CeCe Donathan, senior — Irene Ryan Semifinalist
  • Ingrid Lowery, senior— Irene Ryan Semifinalist
Housed within Ball State’s College of Fine Arts, the Department of Theatre and Dance offers exceptional pre-professional training in a liberal arts setting. Students have opportunities to study abroad, take workshops with internationally renowned guest artists and industry professionals, and get involved in projects that have a real-world impact. For more information, call 765-285-8740 or email