Having recently become involved with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), the Cowley College Theatre Department was notified that theatre students Caleb Parish and Cassidy Harriger have been nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Competition.

The KCACTF is a national association of collegiate theatre programs that come together once a year at regional conferences. Cowley is a member of Region 5 which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. 

“At the regional conference we celebrate the year in production and our students can compete as part of the Irene Ryan Acting Competition (if nominated), the Design Expo, take masterclasses and workshops, see theatrical performances by other colleges, audition and interview for summer work, and meet theatre students and professionals from all over the region,” Cowley College theatre director Nick Albrecht said.

As part of the Irene Ryan Acting Competition and the Design Expo, students are selected from performances to compete at the regional level and are then possibly selected after multiple sessions to compete at the national convention in Washington D.C. 

The students are competing for scholarships and national/international recognition. Two students are nominated for the Irene Ryan competition from every production at an Associate school. Cowley’s two students nominated for Night Must Fall were Caleb Parish and Cassidy Harriger. 

Parish and Harriger will go to the regional conference and compete with hundreds of other college students in up to three performances to possibly be moved on to compete at the national convention. 

“This is the first time Cowley has been involved with KCACTF and we had a fantastic response from the respondent, Paula Makar from Wichita State University, on Friday night after the show,” Albrecht said.   

All respondents are faculty from other colleges/universities in the competing region. 

“This is a great learning opportunity for our students as well not only because of the conference but also for the respondent’s comments,” Albrecht said.  

The Region 5 Conference takes place January 20-26 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.