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Drama ensues at theater festival: Dordt College theater students receive several awards for their work

January 25, 2012

Several Dordt College theatre arts students received awards and special honors from the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) held in Ames, Iowa, from January 16 to 20.

Two Dordt students were selected to compete on a national level. Senior Jonathan Posthuma (Brandon, Wis.) was named a national finalist for his sound design and musical composition created for The Glass Menagerie. This honor has earned him a trip to the National KCACTF Conference in Washington, D.C., in April where he will present his work again. Junior Anna Vanden Aaker (Leota, Minn.) was named a national finalist in allied crafts. Her projection and film work on The Glass Menagerie was selected as the top design work in the region and she has earned a trip to the annual United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) conference in Long Beach, California, in March.

“The national awards are so competitive. I saw the number of entries in the design expo, and it was overwhelming. That two of our students can take advantage of the learning opportunities at the national level is an amazing testimony to their talent, hard work, and creativity,” said Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Dr. Teresa Ter Haar.

A scene from the college’s recent production of Tennessee William’s classic, The Glass Menagerie, was chosen to be performed for competition. Awards received for that production went to senior Jenifer Kanis (Minneapolis, Minn.) for scenic design, Vanden Akker for projections and cinematography, and junior Brian De Young (Sioux Center, Iowa), Posthuma, and freshman Mark Steiger (Hull, Iowa) for sound design.

Senior Ellen De Young (Minneapolis, Minn.) received special recognition when she was selected to be the stage manager for a stage crew competition.

Twelve Dordt students participated in the Irene Ryan acting competition. Dordt graduate Jason Kornelis (Sioux Center, Iowa) and junior Maria Bouwkamp (Pella, Iowa) were selected out of 250 participants to move on to the semi-final round.

Senior Emily Hageman (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Vanden Akker were recognized for their acting talents when they auditioned and were chosen to perform in scenes at the conference.
Senior Clare Laverman (Sully, Iowa) was named runner up for her playwriting composition, Little Letters, a play about two youths who meet on the roof of a hospital who learn each other’s secrets through the course of the production. Following the festival, Laverman was contacted by a college interested in performing her play in the fall.

Ter Haar says that she’s always been impressed with how many Dordt students take advantage of the opportunity to compete and learn at the festival. “From playwriting to stage management, from acting to poster design, our students crave feedback on their work. As a theater professor, I love that our students want to learn, grow, and develop their skills.” 

Dordt College theater arts faculty and staff members also received special recognition. Professor April Hubbard was chosen to direct a scene. Dordt College costume designer Susan Blom was awarded for her costume designs in Tartuffe.

The KCACTF showcases the finest of each region’s entered productions and offers a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs. Since its inception in 1969, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued by judges and receive help to improve their dramatic skills.

Dordt’s active theater program serves the community with two fully mounted main stage shows each year, as well as numerous smaller student-directed or classroom-based projects. The program will have two openings for a faculty member and technical director in fall of 2012. To learn more about theater at Dordt College, visit www.dordt.edu/arts/theatre.

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