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January 26, 2023

SVSU students make a splash at regional theatre festival

two actors on dark, moody stage

Saginaw Valley State University students took their talents on the road to compete at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), hosted by the University of Michigan-Flint, Jan. 11-15. Continuing a proud tradition of excellence at the festival, four students earned recognition:

  • Abbey Kuhns, a theatre major from North Street, placed first in the Design, Technology, and Management category Projection Design with her design from the SVSU mainstage production of “Silent Sky,” which was presented in the winter 2022 semester.
  • Drea Brown, a theatre major from Saginaw, received one of two Rising Star: First Time Stage Manager Awards for her work on the SVSU mainstage production of “Tiny Beautiful Things,” presented in fall of 2022.
  • Lexie Schultz, a music major from Saginaw, was one of 14 finalists for the Musical Theatre Intensive and performed in the MTI Cabaret at the festival.
  • Lucas Inman, a theatre major from Saginaw, won a prize for the fastest set-up of a sound system during the KCACTF Tech Olympics.

Other students who attended were:

  • Katelynn Bell, a creative writing major from Cheboygan.
  • Austin Butterfield, a communication and theatre education major from Bay City.
  • Eric Durette, a chemistry major from East China, in St. Clair County.
  • Alex Dubowski, a theatre major from Big Rapids.
  • Zoe Gilbert, a theatre major from Hemlock.
  • Emma Koch of Mt. Pleasant.
  • Scout McCulloch, a teacher education major from Port Huron.
  • Brielle Myles-Williams, a Spanish major from Saginaw.
  • Rebecca "CC" O'Brien, a theatre major from Midland.
  • Dana Samalik, a communication and theatre education major from Essexville.

The week was filled with workshops, activities, competitions and performances. Many students presented their work prior to and at the festival, including Gilbert, Ryan and Schultz, who were nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship.

Peggy Mead-Finizio, SVSU associate professor of theatre, serves as a co-vice chair for the Design, Technology and Management Program at KCACTF. She and Tommy Wedge, SVSU assistant professor of theatre, accompanied the students to Flint. Wedge presented a hands-on stage combat workshop, “Consent in a Knife Fight,” which proved to be one of the most popular events at the festival.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national theater program that encourages, recognizes and celebrates work produced in university and college theatre programs. KCACTF participants develop their theater skills and professionalism. Annually, 18,000 students attend regional and national festivals as well as summer intensives. KCACTF   involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country.