Three theater students from The University of Southern Mississippi will travel to Washington, D.C. this week as national finalists in the 2010 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).
William Hatten of Mobile, Ala., Brad McKenzie of Kingsport, Tenn., and Thomas Sowers of Starkville, Miss., won at the regional KCACTF competitions resulting in an all-expense-paid trip to compete for national recognition. Each student will compete against seven other students from universities across the United States for the national distinction.
More than 1,000 productions are entered each year nationwide. The southeastern region of KCACTF includes powerhouse schools, universities and conservatories from Kentucky, Southern Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. This year, Southern Miss will have more representation at nationals than any other school in the southeastern region, according to professor of theater Monica Hayes.
“To win in all three categories is unprecedented in the state of Mississippi,” Hayes said.
Hatten, a senior theatre major, is nominated for the Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing Award for his work in a scene from “Boys Life.” This is the inaugural year of the directing award.
McKenzie, a design and technology master of fine arts student, is nominated for the Barbizon Design Excellence in Lighting Award for his work in “Pride and Prejudice.” Senior design and technology major Sowers is nominated for the Sound Excellence Award and Fellowship for his work in “Hitchcock Blonde” last semester.
“This is a big thing for us and the university,” said Craig Dettman, assistant professor for lighting and sound design. Dettman also serves as academic adviser for McKenzie and Sowers. “It’s the first time anyone from Southern Miss has advanced in the areas of lighting and sound.”
Other students who were regional KCACTF finalists include the following:
Elizabeth Newton, master of fine arts student in design and technology from Farmville, N.C., for “Urinetown” and “Pride and Prejudice”
Runners-Up in Acting
Callie Stephens, master of fine arts student in theatre performance from Lantant, Texas, for scenes and monologues presented. Stephen Cefalu, sophomore theatre performance major from Lacombe, La., was Stephens’ partner.
In addition to the three 2010 KCACTF national finalists and two regional nominations, several Southern Miss students and faculty earned KCACTF southeastern region awards this year and will travel to the 2011 national competition. Students and faculty who placed regionally are listed as follows:
Cody Stockstill of Gulfport, Miss., master of fine arts in scenic design
Bailey Cole of Lipian, Texas, master of fine arts in costume design
Thomas Sowers of Starkville, Miss., design and technical major
Irene Ryan Performance
Joe Hernandez of Crestview, Fla., master of fine arts in directing
Paul Williams of Mobile, Ala., junior music education major
Michelle Taylor of Slidell, La., theatre major
Faculty Lighting Design
Craig Dettman, assistant professor for lighting and sound
Robin Carr, associate professor for voice and acting
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.