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For more than 50 years, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has sponsored festivals for college theater students across the nation. This year, the Benedictine College Department of Theatre & Dance traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to participate in the 55th annual Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The festival gives college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence.
Benedictine College theater students were able to participate in workshops, did professional interviews, auditioned for scholarships, received assignments in Stage Management, attended multiple productions, and received numerous accolades from the Kennedy Center.
The department’s fall 2022 production of The Mousetrap received six Certificates of Merit. The play was recognized for Direction (Derek Trautwein), Technical Direction (Dr. Nathan Bowman), Costume Design (Anita Buhman-Wiggs), Stage Management (Lillian Manuel), Scenic Design (Guest Designer Joe Burkard), and Ensemble Acting (Entire Cast).
In addition, the department’s fall 2022 production of Eurydice received three Certificates of Merit of Eurydice in Lighting Design (Ben Maruco), Costume Design (John Cybulski), and Dramaturgy (Katee Imlay, Elena Nguyen, Grace Quinn, Grace Griffin). Plus, four Benedictine students were nominated to perform in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition for their work on the Mabee Theatre stage (Elena Nguyen, Valerie Volpe, Scotty Smeltzer and Noah Steenburgen).
Other accolades went to Scotty Smeltzer and Noah Steenburgen for their semifinalist finish in the Musical Theatre Intensive. Katee Imlay and Ben Maruco participated in the Stage Management Challenge.
Several department members also gave presentations during the weeklong festival. Two students offered presentations at the Technical Theatre Design & Technology Expo. Ben Maruco presented in Lighting Design and Lillian Manuel in Costume Design. And Dr. Nathan Bowman instructed a special topics intensive workshop on the Suzuki Viewpoints Acting Method to a full studio of students and faculty.
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.