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Meramec Theatre Program Attends Kennedy Center Festival

January 31, 2012

The St. Louis Community College - Meramec theatre program attended the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival 44, held in Ames, Iowa Jan. 15-21. Region V includes colleges and universities from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Students Derek Robertson and Andrew Bayer competed with 300 others in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition. Bayer, along with acting partner Monica Zidaru, competed at this level from a grouping of 64 students and advanced to the semi-final round of the competition. Their faculty sponsor was Assistant Professor Keith Oliver.

The Meramec production of “The Rocky Horror Show” was recognized by the Kennedy Center, as regional commendations honoring the higher level and quality of work, effort and talent were awarded to Darren Thompson for Production and Lighting Design, Keith Oliver for Direction, and student Kate Schmidt for Stage Management.

Delegates also participated in several events throughout the regional festival, Robertson participated in the Allied Crafts design initiative, receiving feedback on his portfolio from a Broadway makeup designer. Schmidt participated in the Stage Management Initiative and assisted on one of the productions in the Faculty Directors Showcase.

Oliver served as a faculty mentor for “Lily”, which was selected as the Best Concert Reading (10 minute format) and named a National Finalist for the region. The play is eligible for the National Festival, which will be held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in April. “Lily” was written by Caity Shea Valerie from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and directed by Amber Fitzsimmons from Iowa State University.

“For me, it is a privilege to work with students as a collaborative artist and mentor,” said Oliver. “Not only do I see their growth in a short and intense schedule of rehearsals at the festival, but watch as they move out into the community and mature as artists. What a wonderful reward.”

Delegates Lydia Oetker, Haley Kemper and Caroline Steinkamp auditioned for and participated in both the 10-minute Play and the Faculty Directing Showcase. This involved rehearsing the entire week and performing on the last two days of the festival.

Associate Professor Michelle Rebollo, serving as the coordinator for the region, organized the college fair for the festival. Rebollo worked with 20 different colleges and universities to have 3-day recruitment displays and have representatives available to speak with students about transfers.