College at theater festival

Saint Michael's makes a mark at Hyannis theater festival

February 7, 2019
John Devlin

John Devlin

Professor John Devlin accompanied 16 Saint Michael’s students to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Hyannis, MA, from January 29-February 3. Everyone kept very busy participating in various aspects of the programming including workshops offered by faculty and professionals from around the region and from across the country.

Attending from St. Mike’s were seniors Molly Lovell, Jenny Burke, Emma Drennan, Owen Freeman, and Jeremy Mikaelson; juniors Kelly Champlain, Sage Fagbohun, Kate Bell, Katie Ort, Sophie Lizotte, Ivory Blanchette, Mary Hay, and Beth Parsons; sophomore Kenzie Wright; and first-year students Keaton Barry and Ava Magoon.

Four pairs of actors participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions: Molly Lovell and Katie Ort were nominated for their work on Fuddy Meers last spring and auditioned with their partners Sophie Lizotte and Keaton Barry; Jenny Burke and Emma Drennan were nominated for their work on Past is Present and chose Ava Magoon and Owen Freeman as their partners. The auditions started with 183 pairs from which only 36 were selected for the semi-final round, including Jenny and Ava.

Three students participated in the Design, Technology and Management presentations: Kelly Champlain brought her stage management book and Ivory Blanchette brought her props presentation from Fuddy Meers, while Kate Bell brought her painting from Past is Present. Kate was recognized with a United States Institute for Theatre Technology scholarship/membership.

KCATF LogoCertificates of merit from Fuddy Meers were issued to Lauren Sousa ’18 for her scenic design, Sage Fagbohun for his sound design, and Ivory Blanchette for her props.

Saint Michael’s fall mainstage theatre production, Past in PresentThe Theatre of Tennessee Williams, compiled and directed by Professor Peter Harrigan, received two honors – a merit certificate for excellence in ensemble acting, and an invitation to perform a scene from the show in an invited-scenes showcase at the Festival. Emma Drennan and Owen Freeman worked with Harrigan to remount a scene from Past is Present; it was one of six scenes selected from across the region.

Sophie Lizotte was cast in a devised piece that focused on human trafficking which was presented in a workshop setting. Jeremy Mikaelson performed a 10-minute selection of his magic show at the Friday Fringe Festival (one of eight performances)

Honoring the late Cathy Hurst

The closing awards ceremony also saw the initiation of a new regional award named in memory of Professor Cathy Hurst and presented by Professor John Devlin with Saint Michael’s alums Peter Sampieri ’99 (now at Salem State) and James McNamara ’00 (now at Westfield State). The Cathy Hurst award for Directing will be presented annually “to a student or early career director who embraces theatricality in their work.” In presenting the award to Isaac Eddy from Northern Vermont University at Johnson, Professor Devlin shared the following remarks with the 650 festival participants in the main stage theatre at the Tilden Arts Center at Cape Cod Community College:

“Take a look around this room. Everyone here has been mentored by someone, and many in the room are mentoring others. All faculty engage in mentoring their own students. Some faculty present workshops at festival and extend their mentorship to students and colleagues from across the region. Some join the regional leadership and extend their service and mentorship further.

Cathy Hurst was such a mentor. She came out of a small liberal arts theatre program and taught for years at UNLV and particularly Saint Michael’s College. Cathy served KCACTF as a leader in SDC and as a respondent to many shows before rising to regional Co-Chair with Raina Ames. Nine years ago Cathy and I drove to Hyannis together for the first time to scout this site and begin planning to bring the festival to four C’s. She is one of the reasons we are all gathered here tonight.

Last summer Cathy fell ill and passed away after a short illness. [At this point James and Peter shared some thoughts and a moment of silence was observed.]

Tonight we honor her memory with a new award the current regional leadership has established. The Cathy Hurst Award for Directing is to be given to a student or early career director who embraces theatricality in their work in the spirit of Cathy.”

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