Theatre Festival and National Auditions Honor Talented Students

NGU Theatre students participate in two of the country’s largest theatre conferences: Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region Four and Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC).

KCACTF encourages, recognizes, and celebrates the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theatre programs. They provide opportunities for participants to develop their theatre skills and insight, achieve professionalism, and seek to improve the quality of college and university theatre in America. They also encourage college and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students.

Throughout the year, NGU Theatre participates in this program by submitting shows from its mainstage season to the organization. KCACTF sends a respondent to each production to give the cast and crew live feedback following the show and then may nominate students and faculty for special recognition.

In 2018, NGU students received recognition for excellence in stage management, sound design, and props. NGU faculty members received recognition for excellence in directing and costume design.

In 2017, NGU Theatre’s production of Nora’s House was nominated to travel to the festival and perform in front of the region. At the festival, students have the opportunity to win cash awards, internships, fellowships, and recognition by industry professionals.

In February, ten NGU students attended the festival in Americus, GA, and participated in workshops, master classes, student design exhibitions, and attended dozens of theatrical performances, from 10-minute plays to full-length musicals.

Two NGU design/tech track students, Tori Sheriff and Taylor Whitmire, participated in the Stage Management Fellowship Competition, where their work was reviewed and adjudicated by professionals in the field. Whitmire advanced into the final round of this competition and was also chosen as a director for the 10-minute play competition.

Six students, Tanner Dean, Emily Smith, Ashlynn Butrovich, Evan Hamlin, Allison Yeater and Marlee Daniel, competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition, having been nominated based on their performances in NGU productions Macbeth and The

Importance of Being Earnest. Dean and Smith advanced to the semi-final round of this prestigious competition.

SETC is held each spring and is the largest theatre convention in the United States.

This past March in Mobile, AL, more than 5,000 actors, designers, technicians, students, educators, and professionals gathered for three and a half days of workshops, keynote speeches, community and high school performances, college recruiting, job and internship interviews, and professional audition opportunities.

Eight NGU students attended, and had a whirlwind of exposure to the professional theatre scene. Tanner Dean and Ashlynn Butrovich passed the fall screening auditions (required for student actors to be eligible to attend the professional auditions) and auditioned in front of about 70 professionally hiring companies.

Dean received multiple callbacks from his audition and was able to meet and interview with four professional companies. Whitmire attended the job fair, and received multiple offers for internships after graduation.

In her words, “As a graduating senior, SETC was so important for me. The job fair offered over 50 theatre companies that were hiring for multiple jobs. I was able to interview with multiple theatres in New York, Universal Studios, and about 15 other theatres across the U.S. Without this job fair, I would be limited to the interviews I could get after graduation, because of being from such a small hometown,” she said. “However, having all these theatres in one room gave me the opportunity to meet them and show them the talent and work that a university like NGU has equipped me with. As a result, I received multiple job offers and had a broad pick of where I want to move after graduation.”

In addition to the auditions and interviews, students have the opportunity to attend workshops on a variety of topics ranging from voice, movement, and acting techniques to digital prompt books, costume design, lighting technology and career management, to integrating faith and art, surviving as a Christian in the world of theatre, and redemptive storytelling.

According to Dean, “SETC is the perfect place to network, the audition experience was wonderful, and the workshops I attended answered questions I had never even asked before. It surpassed all my expectations and was unbelievably educational. I am already excited for next year and am planning to attend every year I can.”

Discover more activities for theatre majors.

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