Doane Theatre students and faculty returned to Des Moines, Iowa for the 56th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) the first week of the spring semester.
The week-long festival celebrates collegiate theatre students, departments and productions from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Schools of all sizes, from fellow GPAC schools to NCAA Big 10 schools, bringing students from graduate and undergraduate programs, participate alongside one another during the events of the week.
Doane students and faculty received 10 Meritorious Achievement Awards, along with additional honors.
“This is one of the best regional accomplishments for this incredible department over the past 18 years,” said Rob McKercher, professor of theatre and co-director of the Theatre Department. “Well done all!”
Seniors Jules McDowell and Logan Capek also both advanced to the semifinal round of the Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition, of nearly 300 regional actors who participated. McDowell (as well as Capek, their partner for the competition) went on to perform in the final round of just 16 actors in front of 1300 peers and theatre faculty on January 19.
They placed second overall and will be an alternate candidate for the national KCACTF held in Washington, D.C. this spring. Capek was also awarded Best Scene Partner in the final round.
“KCACTF was an amazing opportunity to showcase everything I’ve learned at Doane. I was very lucky to be competing against the best of the best, and I felt like I had a competitive edge because of Doane,” McDowell said.
Two students were additionally invited to participate in select intensive workshops. Junior Jax Stander auditioned for a directing intensive and won a spot in the two-day workshop, where students explored what it takes to direct a play. Senior Percy Earle auditioned for a musical theatre intensive and won a spot in the week-long intensive. Earle performed in a cabaret held at the end of the regional festival.
The regional festival also offers students opportunities to audition with professional theatre companies. Three — Earle, and sophomores Katie Craig and Jules Harlow — participated in a giant open call audition and secured callbacks.
Meritorious Achievement Awards were presented to casts and individuals by production:
The Cherry Orchard
- Guest Director Jamie Bullins, associate professor of theatre for the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, was awarded for Outstanding Direction
- Emma Woods ’24, Fremont, was awarded for Outstanding Stage Management
Amelie the Musical
- The full cast was awarded Outstanding Ensemble Performance
- Jules McDowell ’24, Lincoln, and Jax Stander ’25, Waverly, were awarded for Outstanding Puppet Design
- Alexis McDaniel-Gates ’25, Lakeside, Calif., was awarded for Outstanding Stage Management
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Jax Stander was awarded for Outstanding Stage Management
A Bright New Boise
- Received an Outstanding Scene for the Region V festival, and participated in the Invited Scene Showcase — one of the top 10 scenes representing the entire region. However, the public performance was canceled due to COVID-19.
- Sam Feng ’27, Centennial, Colo., was awarded for Outstanding Sound Design, Outstanding Assistant Scenic Design and Outstanding Assistant Tech Direction