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Remembering “Rabbit Hole”

Taylor Theatre wins national awards

The “Rabbit Hole” cast won 10 awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival last March. (Photograph provided by Tracy Manning)

The “Rabbit Hole” cast won 10 awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival last March. (Photograph provided by Tracy Manning)

By Grace Hooley | Echo

We all hope that someone notices our work. From artist to computer designer, we all long to hear “well done” from someone—anyone.

Last year, Taylor Theatre submitted their production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole” into the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). This past March, the KCACTF National Awards Committee bestowed Taylor Theatre with 10 awards, competing against schools such as West Liberty University, University of New Orleans, Georgia Southern University, Flagler College and many others.

When senior Jessica Schulte first found out she had received an award, her initial reaction was happiness. All of the stress, sweat and long nights were recognized. The process itself was just as valuable to Schulte as the final product and recognition afterwards.

“The opportunity to articulate my process and the design and the collaboration between actor and designer as well as artistic director and designer, which is also just such a fulfilling collaboration, being able to articulate those well and be recognized for that, I was very humbled and honored by that,” Schulte said.

Michael D. Hammond, dean of the school of humanities, arts and biblical studies, was proud of what the theatre department had accomplished. Even though Taylor Theatre has never entered the KCACTF competition before, he was impressed with their success. He believed their involvement with the Kennedy Center was a great connection for the department and good training for students.

Along with recognizing the department’s success, Hammond also saw the department as an opportunity for ministry. In his mind, “Rabbit Hole” expressed the beauty and truth of the gospel through dealing with the themes of human loss. He was excited to see students and staff tapping into their specific gifts.

“We have an outstanding and unique program,” Hammond said. “I love the fact that (these awards bring) some attention to (the program) because it is unique among Christian colleges . . . and even among our other schools involved in this program. For God to be recognized is really outstanding . . . we’re doing it because people who are involved in the program truly believe in it, so that’s exciting.”

Managing and artistic director of theatre Tracy Manning supervised the artistic direction of “Rabbit Hole.” Seeing her students seek excellence and receive recognition for their dedication made her proud.

“When the Rain Stops Falling,” a production performed this spring, was submitted to KCACTF in January, and the theatre department awaits the response that their hard work will be once again recognized.

Manning said. “We’re going to keep trying to get and keep our community engaged in the arts by making beautiful, relevant and challenging pieces of theatre, and we’re going to try to make Taylor University’s theatre program renowned. . . . These opportunities will aid Taylor, the theatre program and these students as we work to steward well our talents, adding skill to our passions and preparing for all God has next for us, trusting that our gifts can be a part of building the Kingdom of God, ‘on earth as it is in Heaven.’”

KCACTF Awards

Production awards

Distinguished Production of a Play

Distinguished Ensemble of a Play

Individual awards

Outstanding Lighting Design:

Kevin Gawley

Distinguished Director of a Play:

Tracy Manning

Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Play:

Leah Murphy (’16)

Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Play:

Morgan Turner (’16)

Distinguished Scenic Design:

Cory Rodeheaver (’99)

National Commendation for Technical Direction:

Terrance Volden

National Commendation for Properties Design:

senior Conner Reagan and Leah Murphy (’16)

National Commendation for Makeup Design:

senior Jessica Schulte

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