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Theatre students win at regionals

April 1, 2018

Time to ‘play’ at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

For 25 Theatre students at Johnson County Community College, a stage in Des Moines, Iowa, was their Broadway (and a lot easier to get to). There, they performed at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and brought home a slew of awards to show for it.

The festival is a yearly occurrence, but as Professor Beate Pettigrew, chair of the Theatre Department, said, “This year we really knocked it out of the park!”

Competing against universities

JCCC attends the KCACTF Region V festival, which includes 88 colleges and universities in a seven-state region. “So, it’s very impressive to note that we are receiving this recognition on the same playing field as the likes of the Universities of Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State University, to name a few,” Pettigrew said.

Rachael Carney, JCCC Theatre student, received the National Barbizon Award for her light design of the play Gruesome Playground Injuries. As part of the award, she receives an all-expense paid trip to the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. While there, she will meet with top professional light designers who can provide mentorship and give feedback on her work.

“This is a huge honor,” Pettigrew said.

Excellent Theatre faculty

Carney said the award gives her confidence. “It gave me hope that – hey, I guess I'm pretty good at this! It means so much to say that JCCC’s Theatre Department is no ordinary department and that we stand out with higher universities,” she said.

She shared credit with her professors. “They consistently went above and beyond, and this award shows just how much they cared about my future. They strive to push us to succeed and stand out on top. I am extremely fortunate to learn from this group of educators.”

These thespians also earned awards at regionals:

  • The partner teams of Hannah Oldham and Jackson Spencer, Hunter Meyer and Jackson Spencer, and Michael Poleleyev and Marcus Adams were semifinalists for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. Only 66 of the 350 participants made it to semifinals.
  • The cast and crew of Assassins received a Certificate of Merit for achievement in an ensemble performance.
  • Pettigrew received a Certificate of Merit for directing Assassins.
  • The company from Gruesome Playground Injuries received the Golden Handtruck Award for outstanding loading and transfer of items needed to stage the show.

JCCC presents play at festival

Festival organizers invited the cast and crew of Gruesome Playground Injuries to perform the play at the festival. Few colleges are given this opportunity, Pettigrew said.

While in Des Moines, students spent a week seeing theater productions from across the Great Plains region, attending workshops and participating in several individual events.

Experience JCCC theatre yourself

If you’d like to know more about JCCC Theatre Department, contact Beate Pettigrew at 913-469-8500, ext. 3245.

Want to see the work of Theatre Department at JCCC? Check the season schedule for performance times and dates.