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March 17, 2015

Avila's Talent Brings Home Kennedy Awards

Theatre design and technology students

Students in Avila University’s College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Department of Theatre recently attended the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival Region V Conference in Bloomington, Mn. and returned with several national awards in tow.

Alex Davila won the Don Childs Award for Excellence in Technology and Design. With the award comes an all-expense paid, week-long immersion at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas. Davila, a senior from Shawnee, focuses his time on completing his degree and working as the sound designer and technician at the Jewish Community Center of Kansas City’s White Theatre.

Eric Robertson, a senior from Hickman Mills, earned second place in Lighting Design for Romeo and Juliet. “I learned different design techniques and how to improve,” said Robertson of the experience.

An Honorable Mention in Sound Design for August: Osage County was awarded to Theresa Hancock. Hancock, a senior and St. Louis native, started her college career in management and quickly switched her concentration to theatre design and directing. “The theater gives me confidence and it is where I feel like I belong,” said Hancock.

Megan Segars earned an Honorable Mention in Prop Design for Romeo and Juliet. Segars, a Raymore senior, describes herself as “a girl who loves the magic of making theatre come to life.” Segars especially liked feedback given to her by professionals and vows to apply that learning in the workplace after graduation.

The students were mentored by Jason Harris, Associate Professor of Theatre and Director of Design and Technology, who is in his 12th year at Avila. “What I enjoy most is watching as the students become engaged in the festival, connecting with mentors and seeking individual feedback. Even after the judging is finished, our students still ask a few extra questions,” Harris said.

Dr. Charlene Gould, Professor of Theatre and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, said, “Professor Harris has led the design/theatre technology students to award-winning levels over the past decade. He and his students consistently demonstrate the highest quality and performance practices in the field. Our professional training program in design/theatre technology has resulted in students continuing their course of study at such prestigious graduate schools as Carnegie Mellon or working at some of the finest professional theatres in Chicago and New York. We are quite proud of our program and the award-winners in this festival.”

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