BYU Idaho Actress

Several students from the Department of Theater and Dance participated in the Region 7 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival last month in Denver, Colorado. For the first time three BYU-Idaho students competed in the festival.

The festival provides opportunities for students to view and participate in new dramatic works, compete for scholarships, and audition for graduate school or internships.

"The festival was very beneficial for those students who attended," said Justin Bates, faculty member of the Department of Theater and Dance. "It was a worthwhile and productive week."  

Lani Call, a theater major, advanced to the semifinal round while competing against more than 250 students around the region for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.  

"Lani and her partner Janice Munk represented BYU-Idaho very well," Bates said. 

Call, who was nominated for her characterization of the title role in last semester's production of Mary Stuart, was delighted just at the prospect of being nominated. She compared the prestige of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship to a collegiate version of the Academy Awards.

Call was quick to give credit to the Theater Department for helping her and her partner progress to the semifinals by giving one-on-one critique and suggestions.

"We have great professors here," Call said. "We progressed to the semis because they took the time to work with us."

The festival also provided networking opportunities in the form of workshops and auditions. Five BYU-Idaho students received callbacks from organizations offering summer work and internships, including prestigious institutions such as the Stella Adler Conservatory and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

Bates said these callbacks, as well as the success in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships, show that BYU-Idaho can hold its own against the talent in the region.

"It was great to see the Theater Department is training us well enough to be successful outside of our little bubble," Call said.