Theatre students win awards for design elements

SVSU performs its winter show “Home for the Holidays.” Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

SVSU students brought home theatre awards from The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Students traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the festival. It gave people with a passion for theatre a chance to celebrate the arts, compete for awards and experience theatre on an entirely different level.

Jaden O’Berry, a theatre sophomore, won the first-place award for regional design in the lighting category.

“[The award] proves to me that my designs are more than capable of being taken and showcased to other people in my field,” she said. “It gave me the confidence to keep creating and be sure of myself and my capabilities.”

O’Berry also said she learned a lot from being involved in the festival. Showcasing her designs to others gave her a new level of confidence.

“There are a lot of times where theatre designers and technicians will doubt their capabilities or skills by comparing their work to others,” she said. “This trip taught me that comparison is OK so long as you do not use it as a gateway for negativity against yourself. Learning about steps someone else has taken in their own projects can be utilized in the completion and success of your own in the future.”

Jared Kaufman, a communication and theatre sophomore, attended the festival for the first time this year.

“I learned a lot just from watching other performers from other schools,” he said. “The conference is primarily design based, so I saw lots of excellent displays for various theatre designs, such as lights, sound, dramaturgy, set and costume.”

Kaufman said seeing his peers succeed was the most memorable part of the trip.

“My favorite part was watching fellow SVSU students present their work to the judges,” he said. “Everyone worked so hard and did amazing. I was so proud … and we even walked away with two first place awards in lighting design and dramaturgy.”

Hannah Ducolon, an elementary education junior, also participated in the week long festival. This was her first time attending, and she said she learned much about the art.

“I learned a lot about the technical and design side of theater,” she said. “I have been primarily exposed to the acting side, but this festival motivated me to learn more about design.”

Ducolon competed at the festival by performing a two-minute dramatic scene with Kaufman.

“We learned a lot about ourselves,” Ducolon said. “We became disciplined and confident and learned a lot about our motivations and objectives in our talk-back after our round.”

Ducolon said that if she had the opportunity to go to the festival again, she would.

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