Theatre and Film Arts students and faculty earn awards and recognition

MESA, Arizona - March 30, 2022 – Mesa Community College’s Theatre and Film Arts students competed in the Region VIII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), hosted virtually February 7-12.

Girl with mask.
MCC's production of Antigone.

The annual KCACTF recognizes and celebrates the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theatre programs. During the festivals, students test their talents in a vast array of theatre specialties and earn recognition against rigorous competition from other community colleges, four-year institutions and graduate programs. Nationally, 550 colleges compete in KCACTF, with 71 competing in Region VIII. Approximately 45 of the colleges in Region VIII are four-year schools with the remaining being two-year institutions.

MCC Theatre and Film Arts faculty Kara Thomson was recognized with the Gold Medallion for her contributions to the Region VIII festival during the past thirteen years. It is the most prestigious regional award given by KCACTF and is considered one of the great honors in theatre education.

Each year, the eight KCACTF regions honor individuals making extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the development of the KCACTF. Most importantly, recipients demonstrate a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre.

The following MCC students received honors and awards at the Region VIII KCACTF.

  • Angela Kabasan and scene partner Kalie Hagen - semi-finalists, Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship
  • Alexis Trujillo - Regional winner and national representative for Region VIII for Allied Craft and the recipient of the Student Choice Award for her work as mask designer for MCC’s production of Antigone. Trujillo presents her work at nationals with the other seven regional representatives this summer. As part of her award, she will participate in a summer intensive training with Santa Fe Opera artisans and craft-persons.
  • Alyssa Walsh and Megan Lopen - Recipient of the Representation, Equity and Diversity in Design Award for MCC’s production of Gin Mummy
  • Melinda Reyes, Maddie Rowlison and Alexis Trujillo - Don Childs’ Design, Technology & Management Cross-Discipline Collaboration Honorable Mention for their designs for MCC’s production of Antigone
  • Kalie Hagen - Ghost Light Award for her work as stage manager for MCC’s production of Gin Mummy. This award goes to the stage management student who most embodies the ghost light: a symbol in our theatre community that represents the creation of a safe space. The person receiving this award served as a light for their team, encouraging inclusion, participation and compassion for all.

Competing students are coached by MCC faculty and staff who specialize in their field: Mace Archer, Performance Faculty; Kara Thomson, Design Faculty; Adriana Diaz, Adjunct Costume Faculty; Chris Tubilewicz, Performing Arts Facilities Director; Josh Hontz, Adjunct Sound Faculty and Jessie Soper Adjunct Properties Faculty.

Learn more about the MCC Theatre & Film Arts program at

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, or 480-461-7892

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a year-round program in eight geographic regions in the United States. Regional activities are coordinated through eight KCACTF regional chairs and eight KCACTF playwriting awards chairs. With funding and administrative support from the Kennedy Center, the regional chair coordinates with the Co-Managers of KCACTF all aspects of productions on the local and regional level and supervises regional-level KCACTF award competitions. In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the finest of each region’s entered productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia and regional-level award programs. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide. For more Information, visit

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 25,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations through a combination of modalities. MCC is transforming how it champions student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with nearly 50% of its students being the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges; its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes as well as out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

An education in Theatre & Film Arts at MCC provides a valuable base from which to launch careers in film, television, stage, management, marketing, advertising, law, politics, theology, social work, or therapeutic fields. Students are provided opportunities to work with industry professionals from across the country and be successful at national competitions such as the national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. Experience ranges from acting, design, writing, directing and serving as a crew member in a variety of productions. Learn more about the program and upcoming performances at

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) --

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Wednesday, March 30, 2022