MCC Theatre & Film Arts Students Honored at Regional Competition

MESA, Ariz. – Mesa Community College Theatre & Film Arts students’ talents were recognized during the 2014 Region VIII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Los Angeles, February 11-15. The festival recognizes outstanding student achievement and fosters continuing growth in acting, playwriting, directing, design and technical theatre, dramaturgy, theatre criticism, stage management, and many other areas of the art form. This year students from 57 community colleges, universities and colleges in KCACTF Region VIII, comprised of colleges in Arizona, Nevada, Southern California, Utah and Hawaii participated in activities and competitions.  

MCC design students Lindsey Halfhill and Jessica Thompson earned the highest recognition and will represent KCACTF Region VIII in a competition against seven finalists selected from the other KCACTF regions in their respective design areas from throughout the U.S.: Lindsey Halfhill was the Costume Design Finalist for her costume designs for East of the Sun and West of the Moon and Jessica Thompson was the National Sound Design Finalist for her sound design for the same production.

Tyler Scrivener, MCC student designer, received two Meritorious Achievement Awards for his work on MCC productions: Props Design for East of the Sun and West of the Moon and Set Design for Boeing Boeing.

Nathaniel Lewis, an MCC actor, received the National Partners Association Classical Acting Award. Lewis was also one of the top 16 actors, out of the 257 competing, for a prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. His acting coach, Kevin Dressler, MCC Theatre & Film Arts Faculty, also received recognition.  

In addition to the festival and its competitions, KCACTF Region VIII offered 46 festival participants Next Step Auditions, opportunities to further their educational and professional goals by presenting before representatives from major universities and theatre companies. MCC students’ Next Step Auditions resulted in many opportunities:

  • Nathaniel Lewis – under consideration for residency with Missoula Children’s Theatre, called back by Neil Simon Theatre, called back by The Old Lyric Repertory Company
  • Roman Sanchez - under consideration for residency with Missoula Children’s Theatre
  • Elizabeth Gunnell - under consideration for residency with Missoula Children’s Theatre, called back by The Old Lyric Repertory Company, called back by Stella Adler Conservatory of New York City
  • Janae Dunn - under consideration for residency with Missoula Children’s Theatre, called back by The Old Lyric Repertory Company, called back by California State University’s Summer Arts Conservatory
  • Melissa Salazar - called back by The Old Lyric Repertory Company
  • Dolores Mendoza - called back by The Old Lyric Repertory Company

MCC Theatre Faculty also participated heavily at the festival. Kara Thomson and Mallory Prucha performed duties as theatre design respondents for the student design competition, and Kevin Dressler performed a similar function for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. Kara Thomson is the incoming Vice Chair of Design for all of Region VIII.

All theatre design and technology students were coached by Kara Thomson, Head of Design & Production; Mallory Prucha, Design Faculty and Costume Shop Supervisor; and, Chris Tubilewicz, Coordinator of Performing Arts. Kevin Dressler, Director of Theatre Activities coached the student actors.

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Media Contacts
Dawn Zimmer, 480-461-7892,
Sally Mesarosh, 602-618-5730, 

About Mesa Community College
Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students who attend annually to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. For additional information please visit

About MCC Theatre & Film Arts
Theatrical education provides a valuable base from which to launch careers in film, television, stage, management, marketing, advertising, law, politics, theology, social work, and therapeutic fields among others. The Department provides its students with opportunities to work with industry professionals from across the country. Students have the opportunities to act, design, write, direct and crew a variety of productions. Please visit MCC’s Theatre & Film Arts online to learn more. Many MCC events are open to the public. Visit the college’s Community Events calendar for additional information.

About Irene Ryan Scholarships
Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty 'Granny Clampett' in The Beverly Hillbillies. All student actors in both Participating and Associate productions are eligible for consideration for these $500 regional scholarships. Additional information is available online.

The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an
equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

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Publication Date: 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014