February 10, 2020

Sedalia, Missouri – State Fair Community College Theatre Arts students and instructors received commendations, scholarships and more at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) for Region 5 that was held Jan. 19-25 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

For the first time in the school’s history, SFCC was honored to be one of seven colleges chosen to perform one of its plays at the festival. The Theatre Arts’ production of “Be More Chill” was selected for its spring 2019 performance. Most of the original cast and crew reprised their roles for the play on Jan. 22 before an audience of more than 1,500.

Nine students were nominated by respondents from other Missouri colleges and universities for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition that was held during the festival. They performed with an acting partner of their choice.

Holden Childress, Urbana (partner Aren Goodwin, Warrensburg)
Garrett Hight, Oak Grove (partner Kim Ransdell, Lincoln)
Tessa Luechtefeld, Warrensburg (partner Goodwin)
Torrie Shelly, Warrensburg (partner Ransdell)
Ben Brewer, Strafford (partner Taylor Winfrey, Marshall)
Tehya Robinson, Kansas City (partner Winfrey)
Cody Jones, Harrisonville (partner Joshua Barner, Lee’s Summit)
Alyce Wilson, Eldon (partner Barner)
Hannahmaye Doster, Odessa, nominated but did not perform

The Irene Ryan Acting Foundation scholarships provide recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. Eight $500 regional scholarships and one national scholarship are awarded annually. Ryan, an American actor, had a successful career in vaudeville, radio and film before taking on the role of Daisy “Granny” Moses on the hit TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies” in 1962 at age 59. She died in 1973.

SFCC students and faculty who received Region 5 festival Certificates of Merit are as follows:

“Be More Chill,” –Holden Childress, Urbana, dramaturgy; Design Team, artistic collaboration; Lauren Dowell, SFCC alumna, stage management; the Cast for ensemble performance; Kristen Henning, SFCC faculty, direction

“Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” – Latasha Herron, Marshall, and Tessa Luechtefeld, Warrensburg, mask design and construction; the Cast and Crew, ensemble performance.

”She Kills Monsters” – Wade Hughes, SFCC staff, fight choreography; Eric Yazell, SFCC Theatre Arts coordinator and faculty, dragon design

SFCC students who received scholarships and other recognition are as follows:

Noah Summitt, Warrensburg, received a $1,500 Theatre Talent Scholarship and Dorm Scholarship to the University of South Dakota. At the festival, he participated in the Design, Technology and Management Expo with his scenic designs for “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed” and “The Brothers Grim Spectaculation” as well as his allied craft with “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play.” He also participated in the Professional Tech Interviews and received offers from Black Hills Playhouse in South Dakota and Medora Musical in North Dakota.

Kim Ransdell, Lincoln, participated in the National Stage Management Fellowship at the Design, Technology and Management Expo with her work on “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.”

Torrie Shelly, Warrensburg, participated in the Musical Theatre Intensive auditions and was selected to perform in the Musical Theatre Cabaret Performance in the Dance Showcase. She also auditioned for Open Jar Institute Broadway Intensive that is New York City’s most Broadway-integrated actor training program. Shelly won a scholarship and will be attending the institute this summer.

Aren Goodwin, Warrensburg, participated in Professional Auditions and received callbacks from Brownville Village Theatre in Nebraska and Emporia State University’s Summer Theatre in Kansas. He received an invitation from The Art of Acting Studio in Los Angeles, California, to participate in its summer acting intensive.

Denver Montgomery, Knob Noster, was selected for the Long Form Improv Intensive, and his improv troupe, “The Last Thin Mint in Detroit,” won the improv battle at the final performance at the conclusion of the festival.

SFCC alumna Lauren Dowell participated in the National Stage Management Fellowship at the Design, Technology and Management Expo and won honorable mention for her work on “Be More Chill.”

KCACTF is a network of more than 700 academic institutions. Since its inception, KCACTF has given college theatre students the opportunity to have their work critiqued and to receive national recognition for excellence. The festivals feature the finest of each region’s entered productions and offer a wide range of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level scholarship and award programs. Region 5 includes colleges and universities in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

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