Student�'s play wins regional competition, �heads to nationals
Posted on January 31, 2013
A play written by Grand Valley student Andrew Wernette, “A Whale in Hilton Head,” won the top spot in the ten-minute playwriting category at the 2013 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Region III, held in January at Saginaw Valley State University. His script moved to the national level to be judged along with other regions’ winners being considered for performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Wernette, a senior from Northville, is majoring in both writing and advertising/public relations. He said his involvement in campus groups like the STAGE theatre club and the Writer’s Guild aided him in his success. Wernette had once previously submitted a play to the conference after taking dramatic writing courses.
“When they brought in famous playwrights, I realized this is way more serious than I thought and I totally wasn’t prepared,” said Wernette. “I put my nose to the grindstone and submitted again this year.”
Wernette’s efforts paid off as this year’s script was chosen from more than 80 submissions from across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin as one of six to be considered to compete in the Region III festival.
“Of those six, two are chosen as finalists for the region,” said Wernette. “From the 12 regional finalists, judges will choose one winner and three honorable mentions to have a dramatic reading at the Kennedy Center in April.”
Eight other students from Grand Valley participated in the event. Erin Feiner received a certificate of merit for the costume design of her December 2012 Performance Studio play “WASP.” Terrence Ball-Reid, Genesis Loza, Rae Staffens and Macey Madias were nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.
“The festival gives students the opportunity to receive outside criticism of their work from professionals,” said Karen Libman, professor of theatre. “We cannot express enough gratitude to the Office of Undergraduate Research and the School of Communications for financially supporting our students and making it possible for them to attend this festival.”