Theatre students earn honors on the virtual stage

Theatre students win honors at KCACTF

(L-R) Alexandria Hunter, Hailee Foster and Alea Tran.

Linfield theatre students earned multiple honors at the 2021 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), held February 17-20. The acclaimed regional event, which recognizes top theatre programs in nine states, was held virtually in 2021 due to COVID-19 capacity and travel limitations. Competing on a remote stage did not stop four Linfield students from placing in the competition.

Alea Tran, a junior from Shoreline, Washington, earned first place in the Undergraduate Scholarly Paper competition. Her winning paper titled, “The Onnagata: A Reflection of Edo Period Views of Femininity,” explored Japanese kabuki theatre during from 1600 to the mid-1800s.

“It was very surprising to find out that I won,” Tran said. “When I submitted my paper, I didn’t expect anything to come from it, but it is nice to see my work appreciated.”

In addition, three Linfield actors were named finalists for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship – Hailee Foster, a senior majoring in theatre arts from Hillsboro; Alexandria Hunter, a senior majoring in theatre arts from Poway, California; and Joy Dean, a first-year student from Baltimore, Maryland. The students were three of 32 finalists named from the 220 students who competed for this highly sought-after scholarship. Foster was also a finalist for the KCACTF/League of Resident Theatres ASPIRE Leadership Fellows Program, taking third in the final competition, and she and Hunter were finalists for the Musical Theater Scholarship audition, being two of 16 finalists named from a pool of over 200 students.

“It was odd participating in a festival that is normally highly dependent on communicating in person,” Hunter said. “The ability to perform under pressure in front of a crowd of people is normally a part of the evaluation and judgment during the competition, so it was comforting, and weird, to not have to worry about that factor. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m grateful for how well I’ve done.”

The students’ accomplishments at the festival yielded each of these students paid internship offers at various theatre companies across the country and callbacks for summer productions.

“I am extremely proud of the creativity and success of our theatre students,” said Joe Wilferth, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This recognition is significant, and their creativity and success reflect the outstanding teaching and mentorship of our faculty.”

Linfield theatre students return to the stage for an April 23 streaming premiere of  “A Night in New Orleans,” written and directed by Associate Professor Janet Gupton. The play will debut at 7 p.m. on the Linfield Theatre Program’s YouTube channel.