|Theatre arts students place in competition|
Jesi Mullins, a senior in the Department of Theatre Arts, with her acting partner, senior Joe Bussey, advanced to the Irene Ryan Scholarship acting finals at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held in Omaha, Neb., earlier this month. Mullins was only one of 16 competitors who advanced to the finals from an overall field of 343 competitors in the initial round, and 32 competitors in the semi-final round. Mullins, who is from Crookston, Minn., was also the recipient of an award honoring best classical scene work in the semi-final round with her partner Bussey who is from Phoenix, Ariz. Their scene was an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing." Both Mullins and Bussey can be seen in the upcoming Department of Theatre Arts production, "Swimming in the Shallows," Feb. 19-23.
The Department of Theatre Arts also received three commendations of meritorious achievement for last spring’s production of "Comedy of Errors," by Shakespeare. Recipients of the certificates were faculty members, Tracey Lyons for costume design, Jim Williams for physical farce and comic movement, and former faculty member Patricia Downey for physicalization and choreography.
The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a national theatre education program that identifies and promotes quality in college-level theatre productions. Over 1,300 productions involving 200,000 students nationwide participate in the festival each year. This year the UND Department of Theatre Arts sent five Irene Ryan Scholarship actor nominees and their partners to compete at the festival in Omaha. Also attending were several design and technical theatre students. The nominees, actors from the department’s 2007 productions, are selected by an outside adjudicator and a faculty member from the department to compete in the regional competition.
The Irene Ryan Scholarship Award is named for the actress best known for playing Granny on the television sit-com, The Beverly Hillbillies. Ryan, an Emmy and Tony Award-nominated actress, died in 1973 and left her $1,000,000 estate to fund the Irene Ryan Foundation.