Last week’s trip to Utah proved very rewarding for a group of more than two dozen Chapman Theatre majors competing in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) – Region VIII. Students representing schools from Arizona, Central and Southern California, Hawaii, Southern Nevada, and Utah came together for the five-day event at Dixie State University that included workshops and symposia covering a range of topics including playwriting, auditioning, voice, movement, stage combat, theater for children, scene painting, and scenery construction.

Accompanied by Professor Tamiko Washington, Chapman’s team won awards for acting, playwriting, and devised theatre categories. “Our students did a fantastic job at the festival, and I am very proud of them,” says Washington. “They truly represented our Department of Theatre and the University with professionalism and exemplary talent.”

The group’s new bragging rights have everyone beaming:


OVERVIEW:  Nearly 250 students competed in this 3-round elimination event. Cristian Guerrero and his scene partner Timothy “Tosh” Turner gave exceptional performances. Guerrero was one of only 16 who were participants as Irene Ryan Finalists at this year’s Region VIII event and ultimately won one award.

AWARD:  New Play Performance Award (includes $250 cash prize)
WINNER:  Cristian Guerrero for portrayal of the character Ezra in Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry


 Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry; characters Ezra (Guerrero) and Brady (Turner)

•  The Liar by Pierre Corneille (adapted by David Ives); characters Dorante (Guerrero) and Cliton (Turner)

SONG:  Run Away With Me by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk


OVERVIEW: Six original works are selected to compete in the 10-Minute Play category and are presented by a student actor in a staged reading performance. Chapman students represented two of the six regional works chosen in this category and were also the two semi-finalists selected for consideration for the National Competition this April in Washington, D.C.

AWARD:  Kennedy Center National Finalist for 10-Minute Play
WINNER:  Ali Weiss for her 10-minute play The Other Field

AWARD:  Kennedy Center Regional Finalist and National Finalist 10-Minute Play
WINNER:  Bettina Mueller Tuesher for her 10-minute play Waves

AWARD:  Actress Who Best Served a New Play in Development
WINNER:  Stephanie Kerbis for The Other Field


OVERVIEW: In this competition, the acting ensemble was given a prompt from which to create and develop an improvised performance. Professor Washington was the director and coordinator of the ensemble as they worked through the devising process. Chapman was one of nine schools competing in this category.

PROMPT:  Sometimes it’s easier to hear if we whisper.

AWARD: The Rima Miller Award for Outstanding Ensemble Work, Demonstrating Compassion & Risk from the National Devised Performance Initiative



Students pose backstage in costumes at festival.

Backstage with the Chapman ensemble before their scene performance of “A Night of Noh Theatre” at KCACTF. L to R: Audrey Thayer, Isabelle Grimm, Cristian Guererro, Katie Laner, Jinny Pollinger, and David Flack.

Trista Bell
Adron Duell
Katherine Dumas
David Flack
Monica Furman
Leean Gill
Talia Goodman
Jeremy Howard
Stephanie Kerbis
Rose MacKenzie
David Patty
Jinny Pollinger
Natasha Sills
Abigail Sims
Audrey Thayer
Anthony Tilli
Timothy Turner
Grace Whitty
Danielle Williams

DIRECTOR:  Professor Tamiko Washington

On a final high-note, Chapman was one of just 10 out of 200 universities/community colleges in KCACTF Region VIII, that were invited to present a scene as part of an evening of Invitational Scenes at the Festival. KC/ACTF, Region VIII chose a scene from Chapman University’s Department of Theatre production of
A Night of Noh Theatre
, an original adaptation of traditional Japanese Noh theatre that was conceived and directed by Professor Washington.