Theatre & Dance at the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival 56

February 08, 2024 |

a group of people on a stagePicture: Students (including MSU students Jacob Haen and Natalie Suarez) performing in the Dance Finals during the MTI Cabaret.

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Performing Arts is excited to announce the award recipients from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region V. The 56th annual festival was held in Des Moines, IA January 16-21, 2024. 32 students from Minnesota State University, Mankato attended the festival.

Region V represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, and its regional festival is the largest of the eight in the country. The productions that are included in consideration for awards were performed in the 2023 calendar year.

Certificates of Merit

Certificates of Merit are awarded by individual KCACTF representatives who come to campus and respond to a production.  This award represents a noteworthy achievement by an individual or group on that particular production.

Eighteen students received recognition for their performance and production work on Something Rotten!, Rent, The Temperamentals, and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Irene Ryan Semi-Finalists and the Musical Theatre Intensive (MTI)

The Irene Ryan Foundation awards eight regional scholarships and one national scholarship annually through a competitive round of acting auditions. MTI celebrates and recognizes outstanding musical theatre students throughout the region. 

Students Sydney Belonge, Hunter Conrad, Landon Hudson, Garmunee Phillips, Chandler Rosengren, Cadence Smith, and Bex Williams advanced to the Irene Ryan Acting semifinals. Belonge, Conrad, and Hudson advanced to the Irene Ryan Acting Finals. Conrad placed third in the Irene Ryan Acting competition and Hudson placed fourth.

Undergraduate students Sydney Belonge, Finnola Coughlin, and Cadence Smith advanced to the MTI Singing Semi-Finals. Belonge and Coughlin advanced to the MTI singing finals. Coughlin was the runner-up in the MTI singing competition and was awarded the Open Jar Institute award which includes a trip to New York for a Broadway musical theatre intensive.

Students Jacob Haen and Natalie Suarez advanced to the MTI dance finals, and Haen was awarded the Open Jar Institute award for his exceptional work in the dance intensive.

Additional Awards and Recognitions

Undergraduate student Eunyeong Kang received the Regional Sound Design award for her work on the production The Language Archives.

Five MSU students participated in the Design, Technology, and Management Expo at the festival.

Faculty members Nicholas Wayne and Vladimir Rovinsky and graduate students Phyllis Horridge and Hans Bloedel presented workshops during the festival. Faculty member Matthew Caron served as Assistant Coordinator of the Invited Scenes Event.


a group of people standing in a room a person and person on a stage

Left: Jayci Goetz presented her scenic design work from Lombardi during the Design, Technology, Management Expo.

Right: Hunter Conrad (left), partnered by Finnola Coughlin during the Irene Ryan Acting Finals.