Avila Now

February 12, 2021

Avila Theatre Earns Honors at Kennedy Center Regional Festival

Collage of students with overlay

The Avila University Theatre production of Twenty20s—written and produced by nearly two dozen current undergraduate students—received multiple honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region V Festival, as announced February 1.

The following Avila students and faculty received a certificate of merit:

  • Cast, Crew, Creatives – Ensemble Devised Performance – Twenty20s
  • Dylan G Bollinger – Technical Direction – Twenty20s
  • Eli Peach – Dramaturgy – Twenty20s
  • Hannah Zimmerman, Katie Hammell – Digital Media Design – Twenty20s

“Performers, designers, technicians, stage managers and directors all participated in the shaping of the language and how the narratives were presented,” said Matt Schwader Harbor, Twenty20s director and assistant professor of theatre. “It required thinking outside of one’s usual concentration and collaborating in a much more nuanced manner than is traditionally done. Students learned very quickly how to set aside agendas and egos to allow a true collaborative work of art to manifest.

“The result was something unique to these young theatre makers in this specific time and this place. I could not have been more proud of how much raw heart and hard work our Avila students put into every minute of this endeavor.”

Comprised of schools from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, the KCACTF Region V Festival was the 53rd iteration of the event. Avila Theatre students and faculty consistently earn honors at the competition, including recent graduate Jerry Manan, who was a finalist for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship prize and won Best Classical Actor in 2019.

Written, developed and produced entirely by students, Twenty20s provides a glimpse into the lives of students as they attempt to navigate adulthood in a period of great change. The production ran from November 19-22 with a series of remote, socially distanced performances. According Schwader Harbor, this is a unique time for young adults, and especially undergraduate students.

“We all wrangle with relationships, finances, education, employment, mental and physical health, even our own identities during this exciting and often challenging period of our lives,” Schwader Harbor said in his director’s notes. “With mammoth cultural shifts brought on by social media, greater exposure of social injustices, an environmental breaking point, political tensions at an epic level, and a global pandemic, there has never quite been a moment like this for college students in America.”

Click here for more information about the Twenty20 Cast, Crew and Creatives.

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