Theater students from College of the Mainland received Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival awards and will compete with students from a five-state region later this month in Abilene.

Liz Lacey, a respondent with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, gave rave reviews of COM students during their production of Noises Off! in November. The students’ performance was recognized as worthy of competing during the Kennedy Center regional festival on Feb. 25-28.

“She gave us very high praise for its design/execution; particularly impressed with the talent of our students (particularly their polish and professionalism) and was completely blown away by the amazing training opportunities that our ‘age appropriate only’ casting policy affords our students,” said H. Russ Brown, head of the COM Theatre.

Students who will be competing at the festival include:

  • David Wheelis, KCACTF Irene Ryan Award
  • Maggie Bledsoe, KCACTF Irene Ryan Award
  • Max Bailey, KCACTF Irene Ryan Award
  • Mackenzie Land, KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Award in Stage Management
  • Jacob Jaime, KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Award in Assistant Stage Management
  • Auben Brown, KCACTF  Musical Theatre Initiative Award
  • Jake Wadkins, KCACTF  Musical Theatre Initiative Award

These students along with their scene partners and fellow COM students - Issac Lopez and Gerik Lyssy – will compete against other students for scholarships and other awards.

“We look to continue the strong impression we made at last year’s festival,” Brown said. “Our students’ made quite a splash as some of the few community college students who made it to festival and, then, doubly impressed everyone by having one acting team place in the semi-finals for the Irene Ryan Awards and in finals of the Musical Theater Initiatives.”

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers. The Irene Ryan Foundation awards sixteen regional and two national scholarships annually. Sixteen of the awards consist of a $500 scholarship for each regional representative.

Schools from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana are expected to compete.

The Kennedy Center theater festival is a national organization that gives students and faculty with opportunities to bridge the academic and professional worlds.