Three Goshen College students participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region III Festival over winter break.

Dontaye Albert and Fatima Rhana, two first-year theater majors, participated in an acting competition while Sarah Bailey, a sophomore theater and sign language interpreting double major, entered a directing competition.

Albert was awarded the Irene Ryan Selection Drama Award, while Bailey directed the winning team in the Design Storm competition.

The acting competition included many steps. 

“You audition with a monologue, and if you make it to the semifinals, you have to do a different monologue and a scene,” Rhana said. “If you make it to the finals like Dontaye did, you have to do all three of them.”

Living in different time zones over winter break presented unique difficulties for the duo who practiced and recorded together.

“Fatima was in California, and I was in Florida,” Albert said. “So the only time she could practice was her time midnight, which was my time 3:00 a.m. We’re recording for two hours after that, just practicing. I’d fall asleep and then wake up at 10 [a.m.] when they announced I’d moved on to the next round. And then I’d do it again.”

Bailey was involved in a different portion of the competition. With her theater major, she would love to eventually go into directing. The Design Storm competition gave her the opportunity to direct a group of four other people from different colleges in the region.

“I was able to lead the group and come up with some ideas,” she said. “I had chosen ‘Fun Home’ the musical; I was lucky to have that be the show that we worked on. I came in with an idea, and they ran with the concept.”

Bailey’s job was not to put on an actual production of the show; instead, she and collaborators oversaw a mock-up of artistic ideas.

“Over the three days of the festival, our group was just coming up with a design concept for the show,” she said. “All the designers had done sketches, and we had put some evocative research in a slideshow. We were doing the preliminary design work.”

All in all, the contest was a great opportunity for students to hone their skills, receive feedback from professionals and obtain recognition for their talent.

“That’s going on the resume,” said Albert.