U theater department takes awards at college festival

By and

A student and faculty member from the U theater department returned to Salt Lake City last week with awards from the regional American College Theatre Festival in Cedar City.

During the weeklong festival, attendees competed for recognition on the levels of nation, regional and honorable mention.

Theater Department Chairman Bob Nelson won an award for his direction of a new play that was workshopped at the festival. The play, titled, “18,” was written by a student from the University of California at Santa Barbara. A two-person one-act, “18” featured Robert Shand, a senior in the U’s Actor Training Program.

Nelson was competing against nine other short plays in the new play development category.

“I was named the director who best served a new play at the festival,” Nelson said. “It was a great honor to be recognized in that capacity.”

Also competing at the festival was senior theater major Jennifer Johnson, who presented her sound design work for last November’s production of “Urinetown.”

“It’s kind of hard because all of the other design fields are very visual and the panel that I had to present in front of was also a panel of visual artists, except for one,” said Johnson, who was faced with a unique challenge.

“I had to take a design that’s not at all visual-that just kind of adds the missing piece to what you’re seeing-and translate it for people who only understood what they could see,” she said.

In her presentation among seven other sound design competitors, Johnson used screen shots from the sound-editing program she uses-Sony AcidPro-that showcased the multiple layers of sound tracks she created.

Johnson received the regional award for excellence in design, placing second among the eight competitors.

“I was kind of in shock about the whole thing-getting design finals and winning-and I think by now I’m finally actually kind of excited about it,” Johnson said. “I’ll keep working the way that I always do, but I know that next year ACTF will be at Cal State, L.A., and I am definitely going to that competition.”