Tabaka Awarded KCACTF Award

Published Thursday, January 04, 2018
Sheila Tabaka
Sheila Tabaka

Southwest Minnesota State University Theatre Professor Sheila Tabaka has been named a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) medallion winner, the most prestigious award given by KCACTF.

There are eight KCACTF regions in the United States. SMSU is in Region 5, which includes North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota.

Medallions honor individuals or organizations “that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the development of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival,” according to the KCACTF website.

Tabaka is in her 20th year at SMSU and is the costumer for the Theatre Program. She will receive her medallion at the KCACTF national festival in Washington, D.C., in April, 2018.

She isn’t sure who nominated her for the award, or who wrote the letter of support. “I’m very humbled by the award,” she said.

She developed her interest in costuming at an early age. “I used to play a lot with Barbies when I was young. And I used to watch the Tony and Grammy award shows. I was a weird kid,” she said with a laugh.

She really enjoys the versatility her position affords within the Theatre Program. “SMSU is a real gem. It’s a small place where you feel you can do some good. The students, too, are so nice, and many are like me —  I came from a small town in Wisconsin, just as many of them come from small towns in Minnesota. The students are held accountable, but at the same time, we ask, ‘Are you OK?’”

Tabaka and her husband, Jim — an adjunct music instructor at SMSU — are the parents of five children: Eukariah, Sally, Margaret, Lillian and Jedidiah.