While the rest of campus began their spring semester with classes, 15 Goshen College students traveled to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).  A member of region III, Goshen College joined with participating schools from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin for five days of workshops, competitions and productions.

Phil Weaver-Stoesz, Jay Mast, Vanessa Jones and Lewis Caskey were nominated to compete in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions due to their performances in “A View From the Bridge” (Weaver-Stoesz and Mast) and last spring’s “Translations” (Jones and Caskey).  In the first round of competition, each student presented a three minute scene for a panel of judges.

Mast was selected to move on to the semi-final round, where he presented two scenes for a total of five minutes. “It was no small matter that out of 300+ actors, [Mast] made it into the top 35,” said Doug Liechty Caskey, theater department chairman. “Especially when you consider he was in direct competition with graduate students.”

Of his experience, Mast said: “It was great just sitting in the holding rooms, meeting people from other schools who were in the same position as you, getting to hear what their experience is like.”  This is the second year in a row GC has sent a student into the semi-final round (Jenna Grubaugh last year), an almost unheard of achievement for an undergraduate program of GC’s size.

Also participating in competitions were Maryn Munley, with her “Translations” set design, and Sarah Lerch, with her stage management of “A View from the Bridge.”

“A big reason we continue to participate [every year] is not only for the feedback our students get, but it’s probably one of the most education-packed weeks of our semester,” said Caskey. “The intensity of the productions, the workshops and the professional experience they get is incredible.”