Students, faculty earn honors at theater festival

January 27, 2016

ESU Theatre was well represented at the regional festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) last week in Bloomington, MN. Hosted by Normandale Community College, ESU was represented by 25 students and several members of the faculty.

The March 2015 production of “The Treehouse Effect” by ESU Alums Mark Warner and Brandon Jensen was the featured production at the festival, performing for an audience of almost 800 at the Ames Center for the Performing Arts in Burnsville on Thursday January 21. Before heading up north, a fundraising performance was presented at the Bruder Theatre.  We had 227 audience supporters and raised $3,827 for the trip to Minnesota! A generous contribution from Thomas Transfer and Storage helped to make the trip possible.

Several other award were presented to ESU Theatre at the festival. Chris Lohkamp, theatre technical director received a Certificate of Merit for his scenic design for “The Treehouse Effect.” Faculty costumer Susan Mai was awarded a commendation for her costume designs for “As You Like It.” And Lisa Tinker (senior, Derby) received a Certificate of Merit for her stage management of “South Pacific

The ESU Stage Crew Showdown team (Ethan Crapser, Elizabeth Kennell, Tyler Lang and Andrew McCutcheon) were in the finals for the third straight year, but wound up in second place among the 21 teams. Three-hundred-fifty-one student actors in region V (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) auditioned for the Irene Ryan scholarship and competed early in the week. Sixty-four semifinalists emerged including four from ESU: Elliott Brest (Senior, Tonganoxie), Brandon Jensen (BFA, 2015, Salina), Nathan Dale Short (Senior, Paola) and Justin Tinker (BFA, 2015). They participated in the semifinals on Wednesday with their partners Abbi Timmermeyer (Sophomore, Wichita), Senior Miranda Nation (Winfield), Fran Opheim (Sophomore, Olathe) and Logan Wohlford (Senior, Valley Center).

In awards presented at the end of the week, the company of THE TREEHOUSE EFFECT received a plaque. Evan Eisenbarth (Senior, Cassoday) won the regional set design award for his drawing and model for “The Playboy of the Western World.” Nathan Dale Short was selected to perform in the Music Theatre Intensive and Lisa Tinker was the runner-up in the Stage Management initiative.

After a busy and productive week, the students returned to Emporia on Saturday January 23.

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