Design Team for Proving Up Receives Award at the KCACTF Regional
On January 10, four Design & Production students received the Don Childs’ Award for Cross Discipline Collaboration from the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 3 Festival [KCACTF 3].
Lighting Designer Harrison Hoffert (BFA ʼ22, design & production), Scenic Designer Henry Pedersen (BFA ʼ21, design & production), Costume Designer Peri Macinic (BFA ʼ21, design & production), and Production Stage Manager Alexandra Wolfthal (BTA ʼ22, Theatre) presented their realized designs and production work for the fall opera Proving Up, which was performed live in the Power Center in November of 2020.
In addition to the collective award, Pedersen was also honored with the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award for Technology, and as the Runner-Up for the KCACTF Award for Theatrical Design Excellence in Scenic Design.
This marks the first time a complete design & production team from SMTD has been selected to present all aspects of fully realized stage production before the judges at KCACTF.
“Historically, we’ve done quite well [at KCACTF 3], most recently in Playwriting,” said Christianne Myers, Associate Professor of Theatre (Costume Design) and Head of Design & Production. “This year we weren’t going to include paper projects—timing was off, bandwidth was stretched—but we realized with the shift in deadlines we had an opportunity to have an entire student team present an entire produced show. The students hustled, and they’re right up there with this produced work. It was sort of this wonderful silver lining.”
It is unusual for an SMTD production to have a design team consisting entirely of students; Myers credits director Abbigail Coté for offering students this unique opportunity. “Abbigail was absolutely game for working with the students—warm, understanding of challenges, what the resources are, great and collaborative. It was really amazing to experience.”
For their part, Hoffert, Pedersen, and Macinic (who all advanced to the finals in their individual categories) credit their collaborative relationship for their success.
“The close collaboration that Henry, Peri, and I had was instrumental to creating a cohesive design that I’m excited to share with other designers from our region,” Hoffert said.
Hoffert, Pedersen, Macinic, and Wolfthal were four of seven SMTD students participating in the festival, which ran from January 6-10.
Also presenting at the KCACTF 3 were Carly Cooper (BTA ʼ23, Theatre), who took part in the National Playwright Program with her play, The Sea Eats the Sun, and first-year students Matthew Eggers (BFA ʼ24, design & production) and Audrey Tieman (BFA ʼ24, design & production), who participated in the “Design Storm” section of the festival. Eggers and Tieman were paired with students from other programs to create a design concept for an assigned play over the course of the festival. Eggers and his team received recognition for their design concept for Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.
Eggers also received a theatrical criticism award from the Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy; he will attend the national festival in April.
“KCACTF was the perfect way to start out the year. I was really missing that feeling of [the] theatre community,” said Eggers. “KCACTF was the perfect chance to meet new people and get me excited about the artform. It was really an eye-opening festival that felt like equal parts intercollegiate, informative, and inspirational.”
Eggers and Tieman’s participation in the festival was yet another silver lining in a strange year. With no travel costs to consider, the D&P department was able to offer the opportunity to participate to all students, including first-year students like Eggers and Tieman.
The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival showcases the finest in university theatre across the nation. Through eight regional festivals plus the national festival in Washington, D.C., the festival celebrates artistic excellence and offers students individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, dramatic criticism, theatre management, directing, and design.