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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
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Department of Theatre Claims Top Kennedy Center Regional Honors

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 28, 2009) - Students and faculty from UCM’s Department of Theatre received top honors at the Kennedy Center American College Region V Theatre Festival Jan. 18-25 at the University of Kansas.

Attending were than 1,500 faculty and students representing 96 universities from seven states. The festival showcases performances from the top shows in the region and hosts acting, directing, design, playwriting, stage management, dramatic criticism and dramaturgy competitions.  Five faculty members and 34 UCM students attended the event.

Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition

UCM students received top honors in acting, costume design and theatre management. Peter Macy and his acting partner, Callie Ott, received first place in the Irene Ryan Acting Auditions, competing against 308 actors. They will receive an all expense paid trip to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in April, where they will compete for the national title and audition for numerous acting scholarships and for theatre companies.


Ashley Ayres and her acting partner, Michelle Moll, who received the Best Partner Award, also placed in the finals of the acting competition. Brandon Case and Kendall Ryan also advanced to the semi-final round of the acting competition.

Costume Design, Theatre Management

Karen Page received first place in the Regional Costume Design competition, and Karen Billingsly received honorable mention in the Barbizon Design for Theatrical Excellence in Costume.  Robin Harman earned first place in the Theatre Management Challenge and received an internship with a professional theatre company.


Jeremy Fraizer received third place honors in the One-Act Playwriting Competition for his one-act, We’ll Always Have Paris, one of three productions out of 45 invited to the festival for a staged reading. Kristen Janke served as director for this staged reading, and actors included Jacob Randle, Callie Ott and Elissa Schrader.

Stage Crew Showdown

UCM students also placed in the finals of the Stage Crew Showdown Event. Student team members included Brent Martin, Nate Rose, Karen Billingsly and Elissa Schrader. Karen Billingsly’s costumes for To the Rescue also were showcased in the Region V Costume Parade.

Meritorious Achievement

Receiving Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Meritorious Achievement Awards were Karen Billingsly, costume design for To The Rescue; Brent Martin, sound design for To The Rescue; and  Maggie Nevins, Ashley Ayres and Emily Dean,  front of house and dramaturgy for Fat Pig.

Faculty Members Participate

Richard Herman, professor of theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre, served as the vice chair of the New Plays Program for Region V and was the coordinator of the 10-minute Play Festival. John Wilson, associate professor of theatre, was the Irene Ryan Acting Coach; Jeff Peltz, assistant professor, was the Stage Crew Showdown Coordinator for Region V; and instructors Ronnie Chamberlain and Gregory Owen presented design workshops and served as mentors for UCM design students entered in the festival.