Black Hills State University theatre students received high praise on their performances at the Region Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) held at Iowa State University.

Maxwell Downs, speech communication major from Rapid City, and his partner Alexa Syverson, speech communication major from Rapid City, as well as Tiffany Carter, speech communication major from Newcastle, Wyo., and her partner Jesse Hamer, recent education graduate from Rapid City, were selected to participate in the Irene Ryan acting competition and they were selected advanced to the semi-finals out of more than 290 students.

Mauli Delaney, recent speech communication major from Mitchell, competed in the stage management competition and won praise from the judges for her efficiency in helping run the professional theatre auditions.

Hannah Kloiber, speech communication major from Parker, Colo.; Theo Schmidt, speech communication major from Hot Springs; Phil Braun, recent theatre and mass communication graduate from Gregory; and Jake Roman, instrumental music major from Rapid City; took part in professional auditions, and they all received at least one call-back, indicating that the theatres were seriously considering them for internships or professional jobs. Jessica Juhrend, speech communication from Spearfish, so impressed Actors Theatre of Louisville that she was asked to a call-back and an additional interview.

Students also had the opportunity to attend the conference-wide auditions for roles in student and faculty directed scenes that were developed and presented over the course of the festival. Kloiber and Juhrend performed in two of these scenes. Carter was asked to serve as co-emcee for the costume parade, a huge event presented in front of the entire festival audience.

Students attended numerous workshops covering all aspects of theatre from acting to stage management to makeup design to nutrition for performers. According to Pam Wegner, BHSU professor of fine and applied arts, “A conference such as this allows our curriculum to be expanded in ways that would be impossible to manage if our faculty were providing all the information.”