The theatre program at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith took home two national and three regional awards from The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, accolades which solidify the department’s reputation as one of the best theatre programs in the region.
Theatre@UAFS’ devised production of “Delta-v” earned national recognition as a Distinguished Production of a New or Devised Work, and an award for Distinguished Lighting Design went to UAFS student Lee Hartsock of Fort Smith.
The theatre program received the awards following their performance of “Delta-v” at the Kennedy Center’s Region VI Festival, where they were one of six productions chosen to perform from more than 150 submitted works. Forty-eight productions were performed at Kennedy Center festivals nationwide, from which a team of judges selected the national awards.
The recognition reflects the high quality of work from the theatre department, according to Theatre@UAFS Director Bob Stevenson.
“UAFS continues to be a leader in devised ensemble work, and our continued success in the technical elements shows that our students are being trained the right way for theatre in the 21st century,” Stevenson said. “Our motto in the program is ‘show first,’ and to win not only an ensemble award, but also what is basically the ‘Best Picture’ category of the festival, is a testament to our students putting the play ahead of their own individual success.”
In addition to the national awards, UAFS theatre students received accolades from the Region VI Festival. Erin Decker of North Little Rock was named a finalist in the Musical Theatre Initiative, and Leah Wineland and Christian Meurer, both of Fort Smith, were semi-finalists in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Acting Competition.
Stevenson said the department is continuing to do some of the best work in the area.
“To be one of the six chosen to perform at the regional festival demonstrates that we are producing the best theatre in the region at the university level -- undergraduate or graduate,” Stevenson said. “This is our fifth year to be chosen to perform in the last nine years, making it even more of a feather in our cap.”
“No other school in Arkansas has been chosen more than once during that period,” Stevenson said. “This solidifies our reputation as the leading theatrical training program in the state and one of the best in the region.”
Theatre@UAFS first performed “Delta-v” last October as part of the university’s Season of Entertainment 34. The drama explores the journey towards happiness and fulfillment and the sacrifices people make to achieve those ideals.
Region VI of the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival encompasses six states in the southeast and southwest regions of the United States -- Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Missouri. More than 100 universities from participating states were involved in the festival.