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Santa Monica College Students Heading to Honolulu for Prestigious Arts Festival

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By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

February 8, 2016 -- Student performers in a Santa Monica College theater department production of “M. Courage” have been invited to showcase their talents at the 48th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Hawaii this week.

SMC's students were among young performers from only four colleges selected from 77 colleges from the western region that vied to perform at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Chaminade University of Honolulu during the four-day festival, February 11-14.

“Celebrating excellence and achievement in the art and craft of theater in higher education,” the festival culminates with awards for outstanding performance, said Brittany Laeger, spokesperson for The Kennedy Center.

Winners from the program's eight regional festival will get the chance to perform at the national festival later this year, she said.

“Selected productions will be brought to Washington, D.C., for an expense-paid trip to the national festival, April 12-16, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,” said Laeger.

A list of award winners will be released in mid-March, she added.

At the national festival, students will attend master classes with leading artists from the American theater, and will have an opportunity to engage with colleagues from across the nation.

National finalists will also attend productions at leading Washington, D.C. theaters, and interview and audition for scholarships and residency opportunities, said Laeger.

About 50 SMC students and staff were expected to make the trip to Hawaii for the regional festival. The students will compete for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship and Awards for theatrical design excellence in sound, makeup and projection/media, SMC theater officials said on the college's website.

Performed by SMC's theater department this past December at the Theatre Arts Main Stage at the campus, “M. Courage” is an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's “Mother Courage.”

It tells the story of a business woman who sells black market supplies during the war, playing both armies off each other.

Also selected to perform at the festival were Brigham Young University for its production of “Beauty and the Beast,” Cuesta College for “Retired Elvis,” and East Los Angeles College for “Death and the Maiden.”

“Since its establishment 48 years ago, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has reached millions of theater-goers and made important contributions to the professional development of countless college and university theater students nationwide,” said Laeger.

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