Cause for Applause
Theatre Students, Professor Win Awards
GCC Theatre students recently were honored at the regional festival of The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). KCACTF is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from over 600 colleges and universities nationwide. It honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design.
The KCACTF regional festivals showcase the finest of each region's entered productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs. GCC is part of Region 8, which includes southern parts of California, southern Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Hawaii.
In February, faculty emeritus (now adjunct professor) Virginia Ludders and David Seitz, head of the GCC Theatre Arts & Film Department, traveled with students to Los Angeles for the Region 8 festival. The group brought back the following awards:
- Ethan Mitchell was named Best Actor for his performance in "Ten Minute Plays"
- Danielle Lopez received a Design Award in the category of Undergraduate, Non-Realized Makeup Design for "A Winter’s Tale." (Unrealized means that students selected a play from among six designated by KCACTF and designed for it even though there was no production of the show being produced.)
- Nicole Thompson was named Promising Artist in Sound Design. She also won a scholarship from the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.
In 2013 Ludders received the KCACTF Gold Medallion, the highest award in theatre education given by the Kennedy Center and the American College Theatre Festival. The Medallion recognized her “extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre,” and her “strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre.” One of the activities she enjoys is adjudicating and responding to regional plays, a process that helps determine which colleges will be invited to take their entire productions to the regional festival for performance.
“I see a dozen productions a year,” said Ludders, whose travels might take her not only to Phoenix College and the Maricopa Community Colleges, but further afield, to places such as Eastern Arizona Community College in Thatcher, Central Arizona College in Casa Grande, the three Arizona state universities and universities in Southern California. She has also served as a regional officer in KCACTF.
Ludders began teaching theatre full-time at GCC in 1989, after teaching at the high-school level for a number of years. She now teaches Intro to Theatre, Intro to Film, Makeup and Costume Design.
Seitz complimented the students on their wins, Ludders on her Medallion, and all for their participation in KCACTF. “The organization has really helped improve the quality of college theatre in the United States,” he said.
KCACTF offers college students the opportunity to see what’s being done elsewhere, to have their work seen and critiqued, to improve their dramatic skills, and to interact with other artists in the theater. “It also allows work that is being done here at GCC to receive national recognition,” said Seitz.
Ludders sees the GCC theatre program as preparing students for a wealth of opportunities. “Since theatre is a collaborative art, it provides students with skills that are of value in many professions,” she said. “We have had students graduate from our programs and become police officers, librarians, accountants, teachers – and yes, even actors.”