WWU Students Attend American College Theatre Festival

Eight William Woods University theatre students attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 16-22.


“The students did very well at the festival,” Melissa Alpers-Springer, assistant professor, communication and theatre, said. “It was really valuable for the students to meet with fellow students and to get feedback from professors from all the schools in the region.”


Attending were Rachel Petricka of Las Vegas, Nev.; Drew Arnett of Columbia, Mo.; Jason Cavallone of Chicago, Ill.; Paige Runge of St. Louis, Mo.; Ashleigh Emmons of Bothell, Wash.; Sam Binkley of Fulton, Mo., Dustin West of Kansas City, Mo., and Kayla Pulliam of Bloomington-Normal, Ill.


“Most of them were competing in some kind of competition—either directing a scene or acting for scholarships,” Alpers-Springer said. “We went to workshops, saw plays that other schools brought. We really got to immerse ourselves in what other colleges were doing. It’s really great to hang out with colleagues and see if you’re up to par.”


Pulliam received a certificate of merit for directing the Jesters production of “How I Learned to Drive,” which was produced at WWU in September 2010. The KCACTF adjudicators who saw the Jesters show chose Petricka, Cavallone and Emmons to compete at the festival for the Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions. Their acting partners for the Ryan auditions were Arnett, Runge and Binkley, respectively.


Cavallone and Emmons were cast in the 10-minute play competition, working with student playwrights, directors and stage managers. The play in which Emmons acted won the competition.


West took part in the directing competition at the festival. He was one of 12 chosen to bring a rehearsed scene; his cast consisted of Petricka, Arnett and Pulliam. West and his cast successfully made it past the preliminary round to compete against another undergraduate and four graduate directors.


“One of the highlights of the experience was taking part in the judges’ responses to the final round scene performances,” Alpers-Springer said. “The judges, who are Broadway directors, worked with Petricka and Pulliam, and gave helpful suggestions to West and Arnett.”