Feb 19, 2024

Dordt University senior receives national fellowship from Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

Miranda Munson's exceptional stage management work with “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was selected to move on to the KCACTF National Festival in Washington, D.C.

Not only did Miranda Munson, senior theatre arts: design and technical theatre major, receive a merit award by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 5 in January, but her exceptional stage management work for the fall 2023 mainstage production of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was selected to move on to the KCACTF National Festival in Washington, D.C. in mid-April.

“I was absolutely stunned when they announced my name,” she says. “I ran to go accept my award, and then I called my parents right away. I remember saying, ‘Hi! I just won a national fellowship!’ That felt pretty special.”

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was Munson’s senior capstone project—a requirement for her technical theatre major.

“Theatre majors are encouraged to select something they are passionate about, so I selected stage management because it is one of the positions that I have done the most of during my time here at Dordt,” explains Munson.

Munson wanted to create a sense of community among the cast, especially since nearly 50 percent of the cast was made up of freshmen. “It was important to make sure that expectations for how we work in a college theatre department were clearly communicated,” she says.

Laurel Koerner, Dordt University professor of theatre and chair of the Theatre Arts Department, says that Munson cares deeply about the experience of the broader group and enthusiastically supports the director in creating an environment where all team members are seen and heard.

“She thinks ahead and anticipates obstacles that a project might encounter,” says Koerner.

The National KCACTF award is given to one person in each of the eight regions across the country. To apply, Munson had to submit her prompt book to be reviewed by a panel of career professionals as well as to participate in a group interview.

Because Munson’s work was selected to move on to Nationals, she will attend the festival in Washington, D.C. on April 21-26. She, along with other national fellowship recipients, will be given a personalized schedule of professional networking opportunities, workshops, and lectures. “Something unique about the stage management fellowship opportunity is that we will get the chance to help stage manage the national festival events,” adds Munson.

Munson, who hails from Lakeville, Minnesota, has three regional theatre credits—“that means ‘real jobs,’” she jokes—under her belt. Last summer, she stage-managed productions of “Hank Williams: Lost Highway” and “Murder on the Orient Express” at Fort Peck Summer Theatre in Fort Peck, Montana. Last spring, she worked professionally as an assistant stage manager for the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company in Chicago, Illinois on their production of “HMS Pinafore.”

“Her experiences off campus gave her broader awareness of the stage manager’s role, and she returned to campus with ideas to implement in our own program,” says Koerner.

After she graduates, Munson hopes to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in stage management. She is currently looking for more professional stage management work this summer.

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. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

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