Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT Theatre to Stage Drama at Regional Festival; Week of Previews Planned in Canyon


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University Theatre’s production of “Bull in a China Shop” is one of five plays chosen to be staged at an upcoming regional festival.

Ahead of a trip to the Region 6 festival for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, a one-night-only performance of “Bull” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Branding Iron Theatre in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex on WT’s Canyon campus.

In addition, WT students will show their design and performance skills in a series of presentations from Feb. 19 to 22, also in the Fine Arts Complex.

KCACTF is dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the amazing work of college theatre students across the nation, said Callie Hisek, associate professor of theatre and theatre program coordinator.

“The students going this year will be putting themselves out there at a level that they haven’t experienced before. Regardless of how they do at the festival, I am so proud of what they have already accomplished, even while preparing for our upcoming productions of ‘She Loves Me’ and ‘Rumors’,” Hisek said. “They are doing all of this on top of being students and working. Our students are amazing, and no matter what happens at festival they are going to learn so much about themselves as artists in this industry.”

Also traveling to KCACTF are several design, technology and management students, as well as several student actors.

Taking part in Irene Ryan Scholarship auditions will be Leighson Selman, a senior theatre major from Amarillo; Brooklin Herring, a senior theatre major from Lubbock; Anjelica Pantoja, a junior theatre major from Lubbock; Savannah Bohl, a senior theatre major from Muenster; Kyndal Knapp, a junior theater major from Pampa; Victoria Reyes, a junior musical theatre major from Inez, and Edgar Camarena, a December graduate in theatre from Amarillo.

Selman earned an Irene Ryan acting nomination from “Sweeney Todd,” which was staged Feb. 10 to 18, 2023. Herring and Pantoja were nominated for “Bull,” which was staged March 29 to April 2. Bohl and Knapp earned nominations for “She Kills Monsters,” which was staged Oct. 26 to Nov. 5. Reyes and Camarena were nominated for “Once Upon a Mattress,” which was staged Sept. 28 to Oct. 8.

Several student designers and stage managers also are expected to present their work at the festival.

Ten-minute plays written by Bohl and Pantoja were selected for staged readings at KCACTF, as well. The playwrights will work with a student director and cast the plays at the festival.

Over the course of the week-long Region 6 festival, students also will attend workshops and audition for scholarships, summer-stock theatre employment and more.

During the run-up to KCACTF, design, technology and management students will present their works from productions between February and January at 3 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Fine Arts Complex Grand Lobby.

The Irene Ryan nominees will present their final packages, which include two monologues and a scene, at 3 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Branding Iron Theatre.

Students taking part in the KCACTF musical theatre intensive will sing musical selections at 3 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Fine Arts Complex Recital Hall.

“Bull” cast members include Herring as Mary Woolley; Pantoja as Jeannette Marks; Selman as Felicity; Sanai Lowe, a senior musical theatre major from McKinney, as Dean Welsh; and Signe Elder, a December graduate in musical theatre from Lubbock, as Pearl.

Crew members include Oliver Folger, a sophomore theatre design and technology major from Levelland; Fayth Thompson, a junior theatre education major from Crane; Brooklynn Johnson, a junior design and technology major from Lubbock; Leigh Womack, a senior performance major from Hereford and Adrian Boyles, a junior design and technology major from Decatur.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country. According to its website, it “has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence.”

Fostering an appreciation of the arts is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.

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