The Hope College Theatre has earned multiple national production awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for the “The Boy Who Hates Everything,” an original work that was devised and premiered at Hope.

The production as well as individual students, members of the faculty and staff, and guest artists have received a total of 11 awards, including Outstanding Production of a New, Devised or Company-Generated Work.  Announced earlier this month, the awards are given by the National KCACTF Committee and the selection team after seeing all of the productions that were highlighted at the eight regional KCACTF festivals, which were held around the country between January 9 and February 29.

A total of 33 productions were invited to the eight regional festivals this year.  “The Boy Who Hates Everything” was one of only three invited to the five-state Region III KCACTF Festival hosted by the University of Michigan-Flint this past January.

“The Boy Who Hates Everything” was created last spring by Hope theatre students and guest artist Chris Garcia Peak and debuted on April 14, 2023, in the DeWitt Center main theatre.  The production, which also includes original music by Nathan Streifel, follows 22-year-old Desmond, who is kicked out of his home for not finishing his dinner and hating everything.  He embarks on a whimsical journey with Amelie, an adventurous singing librarian, on a mission from the Magical Soup Lady to find a cat that can read, to pluck three whiskers from a lion, and to make it snow.  The campus production was directed by Chris Garcia Peak, and the remount during the Region III Festival was directed by Daina Robins, who had retired from the theatre faculty in December.

In addition to Outstanding Production of a New, Devised or Company-Generated Work, “The Boy Who Hates Everything” received an award for Distinguished Achievement in Production Design.

Garcia Peak and Robins were both honored for Distinguished Achievement in Direction of a New, Devised or Company-Generated Work.

The cast and production team were honored for Distinguished Achievement in Performance and Production Ensemble.

Hope sophomore Audrey Kunce of Carmel, Indiana, was recognized for Special Achievement in Script Supervision and Devising Management.

Hope senior Danai Mandebvu of Harare, Zimbabwe, was honored for Distinguished Achievement in Performance.

Michelle Bombe, who is a professor of theatre and chair of the department as well as executive artistic director of Hope Repertory Theatre, was honored for Distinguished Achievement in Costume Design.

Ken Chamberlain, who is dance and theatre lighting and sound technician, and Eric Van Tassell, who is an assistant professor of lighting and sound design, were together each honored with two awards:  Distinguished Achievement in Lighting Design, and Distinguished Achievement in Sound Design.

Sotirios Livaditis, who as a guest artist was scenic and properties designer, was honored for Distinguished Achievement in Scenic Design.

The KCACTF is a national program designed to encourage excellence in college and university theater in the United States.  Started in 1969, the program involves some 18,000 students annually from more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country. Region III includes theatre programs in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.