Twelve students competing at regional theatre festival this week

Twelve students from the Ripon College theatre department are competing at the Region 3 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival beginning today. The annual festival runs through Sunday, Jan. 12, in Madison, Wisconsin. Organizers hail the festival as a celebration of the future of the American theatre with student artists and faculty from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Ripon has 10 students competing for Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships. Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty “Granny Clampett” in the television sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

The Irene Ryan Scholarships provide recognition, honor and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The foundation disburses the financial awards through a school designated by the winner, to pay tuition and fees for further education, not necessarily limited to theatre arts. Sixteen regional awards of $500 each are available.

Ripon students competing are Wil Bridenhagen ’21 of Neenah, Wisconsin; Madeleine Craig ’20 of West Bend, Wisconsin; Katelyn Dano ’22 of Hubertus, Wisconsin; Bailey Jerrick ’20 of Stoughton, Wisconsin; Race Rohde ’20 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Matttie Ryback ’22 of New Berlin, Wisconsin; Mackenzie Swart ’20 of Brookfield, Wisconsin; Deshawn Thomas ’20 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nicholas Tonn ’21 of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and Logan Zeinert ’22 of Wittenberg, Wisconsin.

Additionally, three Ripon students are competing in the festival’s Design, Technology and Management Competition. They are Heidi DeCaluwe ’20 of West Bend, Wisconsin (costume design); Jerrick (makeup design); and Lindsey Wigand ’22 of West Allis, Wisconsin (stage management). The purpose of the KCACTF Awards for Theatrical Design Excellence is to provide student designers with feedback from professionals working in the field; to give national recognition to outstanding student designers; and to allow student designers to exhibit their work at the Kennedy Center.

Students recognized with awards in either the acting or design competitions may be selected to advance to the national festival held in Washington, D.C., in April.


(Photo: Mackenzie Swart and Logan Zeinert perform a scene from the 2019 production of “Play Nice!” Photo by Sarah Brown ’09.)

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