Northeast State Theatre caps another impressive season

Northeast State Theatre students continue to win awards and perform as top competitors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).  Student nominees were invited to submit their work to the Festival’s Region IV competition held earlier this spring at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. The adjudicated competition recognizes the best theatre work of two- and four-year colleges across the Southeast.

Courtney Hubbard received an award of General Excellence for Costume Design in the Weiss Design competition for the play Cloud 9 by Carolyn Churchill.  A Theatre major from Bristol, Hubbard created costumes from drawing design to creation onto storyboards detailing the costumes for each character.

cuckoo's nest
A tense scene from Cuckoo’s Nest.

“The judges are detail-oriented about your work so you have to be precise with what you do,” said Hubbard. “It was a long process and a really great learning experience. I was pretty happy about it.”

Hubbard created types of stone to represent each character in the play. The characters exhibited the same characteristics of their stones from rigidness to porousness to malleability. The judges were duly impressed by Hubbard’s creative take on design.

Teach, Bobby, and Don from American Buffalo hatch their plan.
Teach, Bobby, and Don from American Buffalo hatch their plan.

Fellow Northeast State student and first-time KCACTF competitor Charles Clark submitted a set design for Monty Python’s Spamalot, an outrageous musical take on the King Arthur story. From the hands and feet of God to the Holy Grail and Lady of the Lake/Laker Girls cheerleaders, Clark created his concept to match the play’s bizarre, hilarious themes.

“There were a lot of set pieces and flats for Spamalot,” said Clark. “The judges wanted to see your concepts from beginning to middle to end of the design, and they want specificity.”

A respected actor performing in past NST productions of Harvey and American Buffalo, Clark spent several weeks drawing set models to demonstrate the process of his ideas. He credited the high standards set by theatre faculty/directors Elizabeth Sloan and Brad McKenzie for getting the best from students.

“We are students at a community college and we’re going up against designers with master’s degrees and theatre professionals,” said Clark, who will do an internship with Barter Theatre this summer. “It was great to demonstrate and let them see you can do these amazing things at a two-year college because Brad and Elizabeth really know what they are talking about.”

Shelby (Shelby Minogue) and M'Lynn (Caitlin Haltom) earned Irene Ryan award nominations for acting.
Shelby Minogue (left) and Caitlin Haltom earned Irene Ryan award nominations for acting.

Clark also served as acting partner to fellow nominee Shelby Minogue who was nominated for an Irene Ryan Acting award for her role as Shelby in Steel Magnolias. They performed a scene from the play Dog Sees God for the competition.

“We rehearsed and ran our lines until we could run each other’s lines back and forth,” said Minogue, a first-time Kennedy nominee. “We prepared well so once we got there we were able to enjoy the trip and not freak out.”

Minogue said she focused on the technical work of theatre during the spring semester. She served as assistant stage manager for the spring production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and hopes to expand her design skills next year.

“This semester I’ve focused on technical work to learn everything I can so I can continue working in theatre all my life,” said Minogue. “I am going into design and hope to be doing more costume design work when the next semester begins.”

Aaron Musselwhite received a nomination his sound design work in Magnolias. Also an experienced actor in NST productions of I, Ebenezer and The Laramie Project, Musselwhite took on the sound design and sound board operator roles to expand his skill set in theatre.

“There were a lot of scene segues so I had to find a balance to move scenes along and help tell the story,” said Musselwhite. “The design process is a totally different animal from stage performance.”

Other students receiving nominations for Magnolias were: Caitlin Haltom who received her second Irene Ryan acting nomination award for Magnolias; Sommer Hughes in the category of Scenic Design; Ashley Guy and Jessica Richardson for Costume Design; and Dustin Lawson for Stage Management.

Northeast State Theatre’s three productions drew audiences of almost 2,000 people this season. With every performance, Northeast State Theatre students continue to raise the standard of excellence on stage and behind the scenes. The College invites you to enjoy their work when a new fall semester brings a season of imaginative productions.

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