Ashland University Theatre Students and Faculty Make Successful Trip to Kennedy Center Theatre Festival

1/18/12 ASHLAND, OH -- Accompanied by faculty members Scott Chapman, Pamela Workman and Fabio Polanco, several students from the Ashland University Department of Theatre attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for Region II at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa., last week.

After KCACTF realigned their regions in 2009, the 44th annual regional festival marked Ashland's third trip to the Region II festival, which provided opportunities for students and faculty in all aspects of theatre through participation, networking and scholarship.

Ashland's fall production of Annie Baker's "Circle Mirror Transformation" was invited to bring a scene from the show to the festival as part of the Evening of Scenes. The director of the show, Fabio Polanco, cast members Johanna Regan, Erin Lingenfelter, Nathaniel Sayatovich, Tara Kodosky and Aaron Arnold, along with stage manager Bekah Frient and assistant stage manager Michael Cook, presented a scene from the show on Friday at the conference. This show also was selected as an alternate invited production. Although the full production was not performed at the festival, it was acknowledged in all materials and the festival program as an alternate bringing recognition to Ashland University's theatre program.

Ten students participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition including nominees Austin Arnold, Emily Jeppesen, Erin Lingenfelter, Johanna Regan, Drew Rothhaar and Nathaniel Sayatovich with support from their scene partners Benjamin Black, Katie Mounts, Jacob Poiner, Jacob Haury, Becca Ribley and Taylor Stepp. Nominee Austin Arnold and his partner Benjamin Black made it to the semi-final round of the competition.

Other Ashland students who competed at the Region II conference were Jensen Glick with his costume design for "Circle Mirror Transformation," Hilary Rheinheimer for her work as stage manager for "Whistle Down the Wind" and Benjamin Black in playwriting. Junior theatre major David Wagar also was a festival participant.

The students who entered the competitions benefited from the feedback they received about their work from faculty and professionals not affiliated with Ashland University. All students who attended the festival had the opportunity to see the work of other universities in terms of performance as well as the displays of other student designers, stage managers and dramaturges.

Students also attended workshops in all areas of theatre while Ashland's Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Scenic Designer Scott Chapman led some of the workshops. The entire experience offered students the opportunity to see how theatre is created outside of Ashland University.

Started in 1969, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theatre in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theatre departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents. Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design. KCACTF is a year-round program in eight geographic regions in the United States.

For more information about Ashland University Theatre, visit the Web site at, find us on Facebook or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report's National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.