ESU theater program earns awards at regional festival

February 21, 2012

An Emporia State University theater professor earned an excellence award on the same state on which he performed as a high school student during a regional theater festival last month.

Jim Bartruff , director of ESU Theatre, was awrded the 2012 Golden Medallion during the Region V annual meeting of the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival at Iowa State University Jan. 15 through 21. The award is presented to those “who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre.”  It is the most prestigious award presented by KCACTF. 

The presentation ceremony was on the stage of the Ames City Auditorium. Bartruff, who graduates from Ames High School, performed on the same stage as a high school student. In his acceptance speech, he spoke of his appreciation for the training he received there

A total of 20 ESU students were among the nearly 1,600 students and faculty from more than 50 colleges and universities in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota to attend the weeklong festival.

The festival opened with accolades for three Hornets:

  • Brianne Simon, a 2011 graduate from Rosalie, Kan., received a commendation for her set design for “Barefoot in the Park” presented by ESU Summer Theatre. 
  • Senior Ross Rundell of Salina was cited for his sound design for last spring’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “
  • Amanda Dura, costume shop manager from Emporia, received commendations for two of her designs, “Barefoot in the Park” and “Eurydice.”

Nine ESU students participated in the Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions:

  • Noah Mefford, junior from Burlington
  • Lindsay Ward, alum from Gardner
  • Kangwon Song, senior from Pusan, South Korea
  • Casey McCabe, senior from Gardner
  • Annie Rosenbrook, junior from Merriam
  • Trinity Standrige, junior from Olathe
  • Marah Melvin, junior from Iola
  • Elise Blann, senior from Newton,
  • Andrew Walker, junior from Wichita

A total of 299 students from the region participated in the auditions. All were nominated for their outstanding work during productions in 2011. Song was one of 64 students who made it to the second round of competition. He performed his selection with Daniel Reardon, sophomore from Overland Park.

Song also earned best in the region for his design of the poster for “Eurydice.” Simon’s set design for “Barefoot” earned a second place award. Also entered in the design competitions were Yui Watanabe, senior from Chiba, Japan, for costume design; Josh Taylor, senior from Salina in lighting design; and Chris Peterson, senior from Rose Hill, who also presented his portfolio along with Rundell. Rundell’s portfolio and presentation earned first place.

During the festival, students have various opportunities to participate in stage performances. Bartruff, who is a member of the regional selection team, was chosen to direct a concert reading of “The Book of Adam” by Matt Fotis. The play, a national award-winning comedy, was the featured performance of the festival on Monday night.  ESU’s McCabe was one of the cast members.

Natalie King, a junior from Wichita, and Ward also performed in roles for the Faculty Directing Showcase.

Two from ESU, senior Gabe Moyer of Olathe and alum Laura Dossett of Jenks, Okla., competed in the outstanding student director competitions.

Finally, five students competed in the Stage Crew Showdown, a competition with 15 teams who demonstrated skills in knot tying, stage lighting, prop settin and costume quick changes. The team, which made it to the top four, was Cara Lohkamp, junior from Maize; Mefford; Aubrey Near, sophomore from Independence; Rundell; and Taylor.



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