Feb 3, 2023

Dordt Theatre Department receives awards and accolades at regional theatre festival

The Dordt University Theatre Department received many accolades and awards at the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, hosted in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 22 – 28.

“There are several competitive dimensions to the festival, but most valuable is that the events offered give our students access to unique learning experiences in the full range of theatre's disciplines, including instruction and feedback from professionals and faculty from other institutions,” says Laurel Koerner, professor of theatre: acting and directing as well as chair of the theatre department. “For students, it's inspiring to gather with thousands of peers who share their love of theatre. As faculty and staff, we get to walk alongside them while they consider the bigger questions of why they do theatre, what excellence looks like, and who it's really for.”

Student Lindsay Kuiper placed first in the sound design category for her work in The Importance of Being Earnest, the spring 2022 mainstage production. Her work, which included original compositions, will go on to compete at the national level at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“I was absolutely not expecting to win the sound design category for the region,” she says. “When they announced I would be progressing to nationals, I’m sure I turned pale. It was such an honor. I remember talking with some of the other regional recipients backstage as we signed some paperwork; we were all afraid our information would be illegible because we were shaking so much from the adrenaline!”

The Importance of Being Earnest was also recognized with a scene selected to be performed in the Invited Scenes Showcase, says Koerner.

“Ten scenes total from our seven-state region were selected to be performed,” she adds.

Members of the show’s production team received special recognitions as well:

  • Ensemble Performance: the cast
  • Hair and Makeup Design: Christianna Marcy
  • Assistant Hair and Makeup Design: Miranda Munson
  • Dramaturgy: Jessica De Jauregui
  • Sound Design: Lindsay Kuiper
  • Costume Design: Becky Donahue, theatre department production manager and costumer
  • Direction, Dialect Coaching: Laurel Koerner

In addition, the fall 2023 mainstage show, Our Town, received recognitions:

  • Publicity Design: Elizabeth Brouwer
  • Projection Design, Assistant Scenic Design: Malorie De Kam
  • Composition, Music Direction: Lindsay Kuiper
  • Costume Design: Becky Donahue
  • Direction: Laurel Koerner

A tap dance number choreographed by student Anna Janssen was selected to be performed in the Musical Theatre Cabaret, where Janssen and other students received feedback and coaching from Broadway professionals. The tap dance number was originally presented as part of “Unfinished; a dance concert,” directed by Theatre Arts Department Assistant Robin Suing in April 2022.

Students Lindsey Kuiper, Elizabeth Brouwer, and Sofia Schaeffer presented their work in the Design Expo, where they received feedback from professionals in their respective design areas.

Brouwer placed first in the poster design category for her work on Our Town.

Student Tommy Shin was one of 10 students selected to direct one of the student-written 10-minute plays that received readings at the festival.

Almost Lifelong, a one-act play by student Sommer Schaap, received the honor of being one of just three one-acts out of more than 50 submitted to receive a reading at the festival. Almost Lifelong will be fully staged as part of the spring theatre season, with performances at the end of February.

Schaap also advanced to the semi-final round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition.

“Notably, KCACTF is not organized by school size,” says Koerner. “We present our work alongside much larger programs in a territory covering seven Midwest states.”

Kuiper says that the theatre community at Dordt has been one of the biggest blessings during her time at Dordt.

“The students and teachers alike are uplifting and brilliant to be around, and I could not be more grateful to feel their constant support,” she says.

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers