By Jeff Murphy, December 9, 2021
WARRENSBURG, MO -- The prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival this fall recognized University of Central Missouri Theatre and Dance faculty and students with National KCACTF Awards in Distinguished Achievement.
During the virtual festival year, productions from universities invited to the eight regional festivals were eligible for recognition for national award commendations celebrating outstanding achievement. Productions and individuals were recognized for outstanding and distinguished achievement in production, direction, choreography, design, performance, and playwriting.
At the Region V Virtual Festival in January, UCM Theatre and Dance had two productions, “Iconic” and “Tilikum,” selected to be presented. While UCM Theatre and Dance received several national recognitions in April, it was recently announced that they received additional awards in November. For the UCM production of “Iconic,” presented outdoors in October 2020 at Audrey J. Walton Stadium, student Valerie Ruggle was recognized for Distinguished Achievement in Performance and student Ally Fields was recognized for Distinguished Achievement in Stage Management. The director of the production, faculty member Ashley Miller-Scully, was awarded Distinguished Achievement in Direction. The entire company of the production was also awarded Distinguished Achievement in Student-Centered Experience.
The Creative Team for the UCM Theatre and Dance production of “Tilikum,” originally presented virtually in October 2020, received Distinguished Achievement in Production Design, and student Caitlin Whitehead received Distinguished Achievement in Stage Management.
In announcing the awards, KCACTF Artistic Director Gregg Henry cited colleges and universities at the vanguard of innovation in the field of theatre amid the pandemic, noting, “In this time of national strife, great losses, and fracture, it’s both gratifying and heartening to see the principles of innovation, ensemble and collaboration deployed to such great effect.”