The University of the Ozarks Theatre company took home 12 awards, including the prestigious Director's Choice Award and Respondent' Choice Award, at the Arkansas Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held over the weekend in Fort Smith.
The University Theatre’s production of "BUG" by Tracy Letts was the Arkansas premiere of the play. By winning the top two honors at the state festival, Ozarks is now eligible for selection for the regional festival, scheduled for Texas in February.
It is the third consecutive year the University Theatre has captured the Director’s Choice Award at the festival. The company won the honor in 2013 with "In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)," and in 2014 with "Rabbit Hole." It is the fifth time since 1987 that Ozarks has won the Director’s Choice Award.
The University Theatre won a total of 12 awards at the Arkansas Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held over the weekend in Fort Smith.
"We have a small but vital theatre company here at Ozarks full of talented, passionate, hard-working individuals," said Bruce B. Brown, Walton Professor of Theatre. "As I’ve said many times over, it is our theatre program philosophy that fuels our continued successes. University Theatre is centered on the core belief that if we work as professionals during our rehearsals, labs, projects, classes, internships, etcetera, we can achieve success both here in our program and through the graduates of our program."
The University Theatre won three Irene Ryan Performance awards (Rhett Sells, Annie Williams, and Haley Hanks) as well as both of the two Outstanding Honor Crew awards (Lynda Browder & Jessica Jobst). Additionally, the company won Excellence in Lighting Design (Lucas Hoiland), Excellence in Stage Management (Meghan Mansur), Excellence in Properties Design (Sandra Davis), and Excellence in Scenic Design (Bruce Brown). The company also won the Best Load-in/Load-Out award of the festival.
"The students in the theatre program work hard to be the best they can be, growing with each challenge a new production brings," Brown said. "Their continued growth and drive is what continues to lead to these wonderful accolades. Lucas and I could not be more proud and look forward to hearing if our production will be invited to participate in the regional festival next spring."
In December, six university theatre companies from Region VI (Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Texas) will be chosen to have a production featured at the 2016 regional festival in San Angelo, Texas, Feb. 24-27.