The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith theatre program earned a wealth of accolades at the Arkansas State Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival earlier this month. Held at the University of the Ozarks Seay Theatre, the Theatre@UAFS company and crew for the shows "Side Man" and "Ghost Sonata" took home a whopping 14 awards, including excellence awards in virtually every facet of production and a half-dozen individual actor awards.
The show “Side Man," performed this fall as part of the UAFS Season of Entertainment 39, also earned the Festival Director’s Choice Award and the Festival Respondent’s Choice Award.
The slate of wins qualifies Theatre@UAFS for consideration for the Regional Festival in the spring. "The awards themselves are testaments to the hard work of the cast and crew, and being considered for regionals is a huge step and a great honor," said Professor Bob Stevenson, Communication and Theatre Arts Department head at UAFS.
“I had a great experience at the state festival. I met new people and got a new sense of community working with my castmates. Whether they were from Clarksville or Fort Smith, everyone was very supportive of each other,” said Margie Barragan, who played Terry Glimmer in “Sideman" and earned an Irene Ryan Award for Acting.
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) was founded in 1969 by Chairman Roger L. Stevens and has grown to involve more than 20,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. For more than 50 years, the organization’s annual festivals – hosted by state and region leading up to the national event – have catalyzed a movement toward professional excellence among college theater companies.
According to the KCACTF, their collegiate network includes more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country, who celebrate the creative process and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.
The Arkansas Festival of the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 6 awards earned by Theatre@UAFS are as follows:
Excellence in Stage Management, Sam Benton
Excellence in Sound Design, Tristan Benton
Excellence in Artistic Collaboration, Cole Sanders
Excellence in Acting, Devin Phongsavanh
Excellence in Directing, Samson Sorluangsana
Excellence in Costume Design, Carlee Davis
Irene Ryan Awards for Acting:
Director’s Choice of the Festival:
"Side Man" by Theatre@UAFS
Respondent’s Choice of the Festival:
"Side Man" by Theatre@UAFS
Of the award-winning performance “Sideman," Stevenson said, “It’s the story of how music, or any art or discipline, can be all consuming and how the world of reality can sometimes tear all that beauty apart and tear the artist apart at the same time. It’s about parents and children trying as hard as they can to connect with each other and not always succeeding. And it’s about how life isn’t always clean and tidy, but it’s always leading us to somewhere we need to be. Great music, great story, great time!”
“This show moves at a breakneck pace, jumping through time and space, reality and memory. It touches on hard topics of dysfunctional families, the fall of an industry, and the ability, or inability, to adapt to the changes in times while taking a humorous reflection on the choices we make throughout our lives,” added Andrew Snyder, visiting instructor of theater from Texarkana, Texas.