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SMSU Receives Four Awards at District Theatre Festival

Published Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thirteen Southwest Minnesota State University students represented the university at the recent District V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held at Normandale Community College in the Twin Cities.

SMSU received four Meritorious Awards during the week-long event, including:

  • Costume Design, for The Heiress
  • Costume Design, for The Comedy of Errors
  • Ensemble Acting, for a scene from The Comedy of Errors
  • Creative Concept, for the melding of The Comedy of Errors with the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night.

In addition, Tony Falk, a December 2014 graduate from Slayton, Minn., was one of just 16 to be selected for the finals of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition. His scene partner was Callie Frank, a senior from Sartell, Minn. There were 314 entered in the competition.

SMSU participants included:

  • Emilie Baartman, junior Communication Studies: Broadcasting & Digital Media and Theatre Arts majors, Luverne, Minn.
  • Anna Eben, senior, Theatre Arts major, George, Iowa.
  • Tony Falk, December 2014 graduate, Speech Communication: Radio-TV major, Slayton, Minn.
  • Callie Frank, senior, Theatre Arts major, Sartell, Minn.
  • Joel Gay, sophomore, Art-Graphic Design major, Lake City, Minn.
  • Kyle Havlicek, senior, Theatre Arts major, Redwood Falls, Minn.
  • Turi Jystad, junior, Communication Studies and Theatre majors, St. Charles, Minn.
  • Thomas Knudson, sophomore, Theatre Arts major, Tracy, Minn.
  • Sara Mills, senior, Theatre Arts major, Thief River Falls, Minn.
  • Alex Pikala, senior, Management major, Columbia Heights, Minn.
  • Anna Polak, freshman, Communication Arts, Secondary Education and Theatre majors, Redwood Falls, Minn.
  • Payton Shively, junior, Theatre major, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • Em Woodrow, senior, Art-Graphic Design major, Spencer, Iowa.

Faculty members Nadine Schmidt, Leazah Behrens and Sheila Tabaka also attended, along with staff member Bob Schwoch.

The SMSU contingent helped host the event. Costumes for the two productions were included in the Costume Parade, as was a selected scene from The Comedy of Errors., which was a part of the Invited Scene Showcase.

Outside judges from District V were invited to the two productions and later met with students and faculty to discuss the shows. Their critiques were then used as the cornerstone for the award judging.

“We really did well,” said Theatre Professor Sheila Tabaka. “There were 1,500 people in attendance — students, faculty and staff, and we held our own against schools like the University of Nebraska, Iowa State and Minnesota State Mankato. I was proud of our students.”

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