NDNU Students Nominated for Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship

NDNU Senior to Stage Original Play

Belmont, CA, January 31, 2008 — Five theatre and dance students from Notre Dame de Namur University have been nominated to receive the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship which will be awarded at the 40th Annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), February 11-16 in Los Angeles.

The nominated students are as follows: theatre majors – Laura Hill, Adam Ellison, Kirk Pierron, John Babin, and musical theatre major – Jessica Rine. The aspiring actors will perform a variety of scenes for a panel of expert judges at the February conference held at California State University Los Angeles. NDNU senior Kirk Pierron, was also invited to perform “My Ticket to Hell,” a modern version of “Faust” which Pierron wrote in 2003.

Last spring, Pierron approached the staff and faculty of the NDNU Department of Theatre and Dance to inquire whether he might use the piece to satisfy his senior directing requirement. Given its length, the department suggested that it be produced as part of the University’s annual Fall Theatre Festival. Pierron assembled a student cast, rehearsed, and built the production last summer. NDNU will join other universities such as Stanford, UCLA, CSU LA, Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and CSU Fullerton, in providing a full production of the original two act play, complete with sets, costumes and properties that will be transported to CSU Los Angeles and erected in one of the universities’ theatre venues.

The showcased productions will be considered for an all-expense paid trip to the national festival in Washington D.C., April 14 – 20, 2008 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the chance to perform with peers from across the country in the nation’s capital, the students will also be candidates for a host of scholarships and awards.

“’My Ticket to Hell’ is most exciting because it is 100 percent due to students’ imaginations, talents, theatre skills and efforts,” said Michael Elkins, NDNU’s Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department. “Being invited to present a full production to the annual festival population is a wonderful testament to the quality of our students, their talents, and the vitality of the NDNU Theatre program.”

KCACTF Festival Chair, James Taulli said that the level of work entered into this year’s competition was unparalleled. “This year the work across the region was evocative, diverse, well produced, and artful,” Taulli said. “We had a record number of productions entered and of those productions we had a record number of new works produced. The quality of the work was at a higher level than ever, which made the selection of this year’s invited productions the toughest yet.”

Developed in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman; the KCACTF is dedicated to both improving and recognizing the quality of works, especially those that are either new or written by students, produced by American colleges and universities.  Through the regional competitions and national festival, the KCACTF celebrates the strength of both the theater programs and the students of colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Along with the national festival, the eight regional festivals provide an opportunity for colleges and universities to present their finest works to diverse audiences and to receive feedback from the national panel.  While at the festivals, students and faculty are also able to attend workshops, master classes, seminars, panel discussions and social gatherings so that they may further develop their skills and gain insight into the theater world.

Since its establishment 39 years ago, KCACTF has reached more than 16 million theatergoers and 400,000 college and university theater students nationwide.  The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is sponsored by The U.S. Department of Education; Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; The Kennedy Center Corporate Fund; and The National Committee for the Performing Arts.

For more information regarding the NDNU Department of Theatre and Dance call the NDNU Box Office at (650) 508-3456 or boxoffice@ndnu.edu.