Multiple Hope College students and faculty received honors during the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday-Sunday, Jan. 8-13.

Cast and crew involved in the Department of Theatre’s production of “Shiloh” received three awards.  Staged at the college in April 2018, the devised work was written by faculty director Richard Perez and Hope theatre students.

Senior Katrina Dykstra of Grand Rapids received a Theatrical Design Excellence award for her costume design for the play.  As a result of the award, she has garnered a fully-funded opportunity to attend the National KCACTF festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in May.

“I had such a great time at ACTF this year presenting my costume design for ‘Shiloh,’” Dykstra said. “I always love getting criticism from other professors and theatre professionals, so getting to present for so many interesting judges was great. I was so surprised to be selected to be in finals, and even more surprised to receive an award. I’m looking forward to going to Washington, D.C., with the national festival. I’m going to learn so much from the seminars and workshops, and meet so many people in the theatre world.”

In addition, the ensemble of “Shiloh” was awarded a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Collaborative Performance, and theatre faculty member Perry Landes was awarded a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Projections Design.

Faculty and students received four Certificates of Merit for the college’s November 2018 production of “Into the Woods”:  music faculty member Sherri Pilon, for Excellence in Music Direction; the ensemble, for Excellence in Vocal Performance; theatre faculty member Michelle Bombe and senior Megan Clark of Milford, New York, for Excellence in Costume Design; and the assistant stage managers and deck crew, for Excellence in Puppeteering.

KCACTF also hosts competitions for students to showcase their work, and several Hope College students received recognition for their artistry.

Junior Gracen Barth of Dallas, Texas, received the Don Childs Award for Excellence in Stagecraft for her work with “Into the Woods,” providing her a fully-funded opportunity to further develop her skills by attending the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, Nevada, in July 2020.  Barth was also awarded a production manager’s toolkit.

“With production management being a relatively new field, especially on a collegiate level, it was truly an honor to be recognized for my work on this level,” Barth said. “I’m looking forward to being able to further my skills at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.”

Megan Clark was recognized for her “Into the Woods” design presentation for properties, as well as her “Arcadia” costume-design presentation.

Three teams of students participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition based on nominations from external evaluators who attended Hope’s theatre productions in conjunction with the college’s involvement in KCACTF.

Junior Katie Joachim of Dearborn was nominated for her performance as The Baker’s Wife in “Into The Woods,” with junior Maxwell Lam of Holland as her partner, and advanced to the competition’s semifinals. Joachim was also one of 15 students from around the region chosen to perform in a Musical Theatre Showcase, selected from among 100 who auditioned.

Freshman Emi Herman of Waukegan, Illinois, was nominated for her portrayal of Laney in the department’s October 2018 production of “Crooked,” with junior Madison Meeron of Oxford as her scene partner. Senior Olivia Lehnertz of Royal Oak was nominated for her interpretation of Cinderella in “Into the Woods,” with Gracen Barth as her scene partner.

The KCACTF is a national program designed to encourage excellence in college and university theatre in the United States.  Started in 1969, the program involves 18,000 students from more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country.  The program is divided into eight regions.

The annual regional festival is a gathering of more than 1,300 theatre students and faculty from 70-plus colleges and universities, who join together to showcase and celebrate the best artistic work of the five-state region of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. The festival provides theatre students with the opportunity to display their work in dramaturgy, acting, stage management, musical theatre, playwriting and design.