UW-Parkside Theater Arts Wins Lighting Design Excellence Award for Fifth Year in a Row at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 3 | Local News I Racine County Eye


SOMERS, Wisconsin. – For the fifth year in a row, UW-Parkside Theater Arts won the Lighting Design Excellence Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), Region 3, on January 9.

Theater student Jessica Baker took home the award for the second time in three years for her lighting design for Romeo and Juliet. She will travel to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, in April (if COVID restrictions allow) to participate in the selection of national awards.

The Kennedy Center Festival is a celebration of the future of American theater with student artists and faculty from a region of five states. This year, the festival was all virtual due to the pandemic.

Parkside’s Theater Arts also presented a recording of their live production of Aaron Posner’s play, Stupid F ## king Bird at the festival. The production was seen by hundreds of new viewers, and theater professionals provided feedback to cast and crew on the production, including playwright Posner. Posner was so intrigued by UWP’s hybrid production that he contacted director Fabrice Conte-Williamson for permission to view it and agreed to speak with the cast and crew about their vision for his play.

Parkside’s Theater Arts won another award for excellence in sound design in the competition. Theater student Jack Purves won top prize for sound design from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). He also received the Fellowship from the Stagecraft Institute in Las Vegas and, like Jessica Baker, will compete at the Kennedy Center for the national award.

Along with Baker and Purves, eight additional students competed in the festival semifinals or finals in the Performance and Design, Technology and Management (DTM) competitions, including:

  • Elise Sparks – Music Theater Intensive Finale
  • Hans Prang – Music Theater Intensive Final. Pfrang and Sparks were two of 13 students selected from over 120 participants.
  • Chalena Williams – Selected to perform an original written piece / spoken word piece
  • Olivia Springsteen – Irene Ryan Acting Contest Semifinals
  • Mya Figueroa – Costume Design – Stupid F ## king Bird
  • Ben Compton – Costume Design – Project not completed – The last days of Judas Iscariot
  • Abby Kubik – Staging – Stupid F ## king Bird
  • Jenny Bauer – Work of a master electrician – Romeo and Juliet

Special recognition goes to UW-Parkside Department of Theater Associate Professor Misti Bradford, who has served as KCACTF Region 3 DTM Section Co-Chair for the past six years.

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