Theater attends conference

SVSU theatre students presented their technical and performance skills at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 3 Conference from Jan. 5-9.

Held virtually to lessen COVID risks, the regional festival brought together college students from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and western Ohio to showcase their work for a chance to attend the national conference taking place in D.C. this April.

SVSU theatre professor David Rzeszutek said the opportunity to attend such an event is an invaluable experience for students.

“I’m very happy that the festival continued this year and was extremely successful in an online, remote fashion,” Rzeszutek said. “The professional feedback to our student’s work and the opportunities available to them to see other university productions, take workshops, and network with new people is a fantastic opportunity.”

Theatre senior Jaden O’Berry said attending the festival several times while pursuing her degree has helped to hone her craft in a number of ways.

“For me, festival has allowed me the ability to grow as an artist, as a presenter and as a human,” O’Berry said. “There are things that you only learn through showing others the work you have created and that takes an immense amount of vulnerability.”

This year, O’Berry was recognized for her technical work, receiving Runner Up for the KCACTF Award for Theatrical Design Excellence in Lighting Design for her work on “Joan the Girl of Arc,” but she said the awards are not what is most important.

“My main takeaway from KCACTF has always been to personally value my work in its entirety, rather than rely on the awards that may or may not come along with it, which is something that took a really long time for me to accept,” O’Berry said. “As technicians, we are suckers for recognition and admiration of our work, but that isn’t what we do it for, and we need to constantly remind ourselves of that.”

O’Berry and theatre major Lucas Inman also walked away as the winners of The Games of the Technological Olympiad Game show.

Music major Lexie Schultz received recognition as a finalist in the Musical Theatre Intensive.

Theatre senior Kylee Monahan also attended the festival, winning the KCACTF Stage Management Fellowship Award for her work on “Animal Farm” and being invited to attend the national conference.

The win came as a pleasant surprise for Monahan.

“I was excited to get feedback from professional stage managers and learn how to better my work, but I never expected to get anything besides the feedback,” Monahan said. “I am so honored though. Stage managing is what I love to do and hope to make a career out of, so having the opportunity to take what I know, build on it, and grow is all I can ask for at this point in my life.”

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