Students excel at theatre festival

Northwestern College theatre students and staff received 13 Certificates of Commendation for their theatre arts excellence at the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jan. 20–26.

In addition, Shelby Vander Molen, a senior from Pella, Iowa—whose original play “Some Five Women” was selected for presentation at the festival—was the region’s winner in the festival’s National Critics Institute and will compete as a theatre critic at the national event at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April.

Sheric Hull, a junior from Woden, Iowa, designed the lighting for “Some Five Women,” which earned him recognition in a design category labeled “first-time display and most promising lighting designer.” Hull also won an impromptu lighting design competition, held at the KCACTF’s Friday night dance.

Northwestern’s 14 Certificates of Commendation are a record for the college; they are awarded by KCACTF respondents who attend Northwestern productions on campus throughout the season. Vander Molen; Megan Weidner, a junior from Elk Point, S.D.; Alex Wendel, a junior from Charles City, Iowa; and Keely Wright, an Orange City senior, received commendations for “Some Five Women” in playwriting, directing, scene design and projections, respectively.

Vander Molen also received certificates for her costume and mask designs for “Trickster Tales,” the children’s theatre production on stage in October and November, and for dramaturgy for “The Cradle Will Rock,” a musical produced last February.

The cast and crew for “The Cradle Will Rock”—as well as the director, theatre professor Robert Hubbard—also received Certificates of Commendation.

“Mama D,” which was produced last April, led to commendations in sound design for Abby Bierly, a senior from Hull, Iowa, and in projections for theatre staff Jonathan Sabo and Drew Schmidt.

Sabo also received a commendation for his scene design for November’s production of “Ah, Wilderness!” Theatre professor Jeff Taylor was recognized for the show’s lighting design.

Thirty-two Northwestern College theatre students attended the 45th annual regional festival to compete and attend theatre arts workshops alongside undergraduate and graduate students from six Midwestern states.