LU Theatre produces new talent

Tony Gherardini

What would you do if someone told you that you had five minutes to show just how talented you are? Recently, a few Lawrence students had to do just that. Teams of two competed for the Irene Ryan Scholarship at the Regional American College Theatre Festival in Evansville, Ind.

The festival draws college students from five states to participate in the competition. However, the ACTF is not only intended as a competition. While at the festival, students also have a chance to attend extensive workshop classes, or just take in one of the five performances put up by the participating schools each year.

Each student that competed for the Irene Ryan Scholarship had five minutes to perform a song, recite a monologue, and act in a scene with another person. This year, the Participants from Lawrence were: Jacob Allen, Brad Behrman, Emma Sweet, Dan Whitley, Brendan Marshall-Rashid, Mary McNally, Elaine Moran and Anneliese DeDiemar.

Four hundred twenty people audition at the ACTF’s regional festival each year, but only approximately three percent move on past semi-finals into qualifying rounds.

Anyone who makes it past qualifying goes on to the National American College Theatre Festival, which is held each year at the Kennedy Center.

Every competitor from Lawrence was chosen to represent the school this year after receiving high evaluations of their performances during main stage productions. Although no Lawrence student made it to the final round, trip moderator Kathy Privatt said, “I’m proud of everyone who participated. Each student had a strong showing [in competition].”

Privatt is very enthusiastic about Lawrence’s support of the Conference, and, as she says, its “support for the growth of the actor as a whole.”

In addition to performance competitions, the festival also offers a design competition, and has many workshops on theater design.

Lawrence has been competing at the ACTF for four years now. Privatt and theater professor Tim Troy made the program possible.

Each year, the festival chooses five outstanding productions to be performed. In its first year there, Lawrence’s performance of Translations was selected to be one of the main stage productions.

Since then Lawrence has consistently sent young actors and actresses to compete for the coveted scholarship and intends to continue sending students each year.