WWU Jesters Participate in RegionalTheatre Festival

William Woods University theatre students showcased their talents at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regional competition Jan. 17-23 in Overland Park, Kan.


“It was a great experience for everyone; we learned a lot,” said Melissa Alpers-Springer, assistant professor of communication and theatre, who accompanied the students.


During the regional festival, members of the William Woods theatre organization known as Jesters performed a 10-minute scene from Daniel MacIvor’s “Never Swim Alone,” which was presented at WWU in the fall of 2009. Performers were Taryn Watts of Nixa, Mo., and Bryan Schmiderer and Cody Olendorff, both of Pacific, Mo.  


Dustin West of Kansas City, Mo., was awarded a certificate of merit for directing “Never Swim Alone,” which was in the invited scenes showcase. Watts auditioned for and was cast in a student-written, faculty-directed 10-minute play showcase.


In addition, Rachel Petricka of Las Vegas, Nev., and Drew Arnett of Columbia, Mo., auditioned for and were cast in a scene in the faculty directing showcase. West was an assistant director for a scene in the faculty directing showcase.


Watts, Schmiderer and Olendorff were also selected to participate in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. These auditions allow actors to display their talents through duet scenes and monologues.


Throughout the festival, the actors presented their scenes in a series of rounds, in the hope of advancing to the national competition at the John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in April.


“These students didn’t just choose to go to the festival,” Joe Potter, assistant professor of theatre, said. “They were nominated back in late September by a jury of regional faculty who visited our campus. They saw our production and were impressed with the level of the student work.”   


He added, “Since this process is highly selective and only a few schools are nominated to go from our region, this was quite an honor for us and a wonderful opportunity for the students.”