ST. PAUL (March 19, 2015) — Metropolitan State University’s theater program has received the national award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
The Metro State produced play, “My Soul and other Broken Things”, received the Kennedy Center’s ‘Outstanding Production of a New Work’ award during its national event involving 18,000 students from U.S. colleges and universities. The award will be presented on April 18, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
“My Soul and Other Broken Things” was written by Metropolitan State student playwright Sarah Dewhirst. It is the coming-of-age story of Sephora, a young woman who, guided by a mysterious stranger, returns to her Christian fundamentalist home, searching for her estranged mother. Sephora has been living a life that is repugnant to her family and everything they believe.
Sephora takes us with her on a journey asking the ever-present question: “Is there a God?” This script, along with another original work which also participated in the regional completion, originated from work done in playwriting classes and was developed and premiered by Metropolitan State’s Theater Program and its producing organization, Theater Underground in 2014.
“In playwriting classes, students begin by exploring the solid foundation of personal experience” said Gail Smogard, theater program director, “but as this play was further developed in rewrites and devising workshops, these themes were focused and heightened working hand in hand with faculty directors—which is what our program strongly encourages.”
The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design. This production also placed for “Distinguished” ensemble work, directing, scenic design, lighting and sound with additional “Commendations” in stage management, masks and technical direction.
The KCACTF encourages colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students. Their support of theater has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents in regional festivals. “My Soul…” together with another invited (original) Metropolitan State production “Soderville: Excavation of a Life” were two of seven plays selected for this year’s 47th Region V Festival in January 2015.
Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, is America’s premier university for lifelong learning, providing unsurpassed, competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels while maintaining affordability.