Theatre students win at American College Theater festival

By Jesus Figueroa

The Theatre Arts Department returned from the American College Theater Festival Region 8 with several awards won by various students. ACTF was held in St. George, Utah from February 10-14.

Region 8 includes colleges and Universities from Utah, Central and Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada, Guam and Hawaii.

Theatre student Katie Martinez won first place for Theater Applied Arts, which includes props, hair and makeup.

The winner in her division, Allied Crafts, gets an all expense paid trip to the United States Institute for Theater Technologies in Cincinnati, Ohio in March.

Theatre student Sebastian Fernandez was selected by ACTF judges as best actor cast from his group after being cast in one of six one act plays.

Theatre students Kat Ventress was cast in a winning devised piece, Ashley Diaz won second place in sound design and Meghan Ims shared a second place in costume design.

“Kindred,” the theatre arts production from 2014, was invited to perform and compete at The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VIII.

The play was directed by adjunct professor Rodney Scott, written by adjunct professor Dan Keleher and designed by adjunct professor François Pierre Couture.

According to Theatre Department Chair Michael Kaznetsis,  this is the first time  a play from East Los Angeles College has been nominated.

“It’s a long history, 50 or 60 years long, but I don’t believe we had ever been nominated to go to the region,” Kaznetsis said.

Theatre students Mario Soto and Christopher Solis were double cast as Alan and Clifton Smith as Joey.

The play was one of only eight shows invited to perform at the regional festival.

Out of 184 productions, 59 were chosen from the 58 colleges and universities in the region. Of the 59 shows, eight were chosen to perform in Utah.

“The importance of having not only a play nominated to travel to Utah, but also to have individual students nominated to go to Utah, or any festival location in the region eight area, is that students are able to participate with peers from other colleges,” Kaznetsis said.

“They have an opportunity to see how other people are working through the same challenges.”

ELAC’s Theatre Department participated in various competitions such as design technology and management, criticism and playwriting.

Along with competitions, professional theater companies, colleges and universities attend the festival to audition actors, designers and technicians for academics or employment.

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