"Theatre @ UAFS Performs 'Lysistrata.'"
The University of Arkansas Fort Smith’s theatre program continued its stellar run at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival this year, notching four awards at the state and one at the regional level.
The cast of “Lysistrata” won an Excellence in Ensemble Performance Award, David Harris of Cabot won the Excellence in Student Directing Award, and Molly Tennison of Alma and Randall Marks of Fort Smith were nominated for Irene Ryan Acting Awards from the state’s Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Additionally, Averie Warren of Poteau, Okla., won a Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management at the regional festival for her work on the fall performance of “CORRIGENDA.”
Bob Stevenson, director of Theatre @ UAFS, said the ensemble award pointed to a teamwork mentality within the department.
“I’m especially proud, as I always am, about the ensemble acting award,” Stevenson said. “It’s the kind of philosophy we teach and prize here at UAFS, one in which the cast is only as strong as each member, and the company is what makes the performances great. Each actor helping every other actor is our way.”
The acting awards recognized Marks’ performance as Cinesias and Tennison’s performance of Lysistrata in the play, which was performed on the UAFS campus earlier this year as part of the university’s Season of Entertainment 36. By winning Irene Ryan acting nominations, both Marks and Tennison will be eligible for the regional competition next year.
Harris’s award was the first time a UAFS student has won a recognition for student directing, according to Stevenson.
“I think that’s a real treat, especially after the 10-minute play David directed at the regional festival in 2016 was selected to be part of the national festival last year,” Stevenson said. “David is a fine director and is going to have a stellar career in theatre and in film or television. He has a great eye for storytelling. I can’t wait to see what he tackles as a next project. It’s been great for our other students who might see directing as a potential option for them to watch his success.”
This year marks the third straight year the department has won an award on the regional level, a trend that continues to build the program’s reputation as one of the top theatre departments in the region, according to Stevenson.
“I think the ensemble performance award says it all. We work together very well as a team. The important thing to us is telling a good story and helping the students become better storytellers, whether that be through acting, directing, design, or technical work,” Stevenson said. “That kind of selfless focus on the process makes for a great show, but also develops the kind of artists that people want to work with. It’s no surprise that so many of our graduates are working in theatre, film, and television today.”
Region VI of the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival encompasses six states in the southeast and southwest regions of the United States -- Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Missouri. More than 100 universities from participating states were involved in the festival.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu.