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SOMERS, Wis. – For the fifth consecutive year, UW-Parkside Theatre Arts won the Lighting Design Excellence Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), Region 3 on January 9.

Theatre student Jessica Baker snagged the award for the second time in three years for her lighting design of Romeo and Juliet. She will be traveling to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April (COVID restrictions permitting) to compete in the national award selection.

The Kennedy Center Festival is a celebration of the future of the American theatre with student artists and faculty from across a five-state region.  This year the festival was all virtual due to the pandemic.

Parkside’s Theatre Arts also showcased a recording of its live-streamed production of Aaron Posner’s play, Stupid F##king Bird at the festival. The production was seen by hundreds of new viewers, and theater professionals gave feedback to the cast and crew about the production, including playwright Posner. Posner was so intrigued by UWP’s hybrid production that he reached out to Director Fabrice Conte-Williamson for permission to view it and agreed to speak with the cast and crew about their vision of his play.

Parkside’s Theatre Arts won another Excellence Award in Sound Design during the competition. Theatre student Jack Purves took first prize for his sound design of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).  He was also awarded the Stagecraft Institute in Las Vegas scholarship and, like Jessica Baker, will compete at the Kennedy Center for the national award.

Along with Baker and Purves, eight additional students made it into the festival’s semi-final or final rounds in Performance and Design, Technology, and Management (DTM) competitions, including:

  • Elise Sparks – Final round in the Music Theatre Intensive
  • Hans Prang – Final round in the Music Theatre Intensive.  Pfrang and Sparks were two of 13 students selected from over 120 entrants.
  • Chalena Williams – Selected to perform an original written piece/a spoken word piece
  • Olivia Springsteen – Semi-finals of the Irene Ryan Acting Competition
  • Mya Figueroa – Costume Design – Stupid F##king Bird
  • Ben Compton – Costume Design – Unrealized project- The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
  • Abby Kubik – Stage Management – Stupid F##king Bird
  • Jenny Bauer – Master Electrician work – Romeo and Juliet

Special recognition goes out to UW-Parkside Theatre Department Associate Professor Misti Bradford, who has been co-chair of the DTM section of the KCACTF Region 3 for the last six years.


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