USD Theatre student wins ACTF acting competition

Cody Strand, a theatre major specializing in acting from The University of South Dakota, was one of two winners of the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Competition at the Region V, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) in Ames, IA, Jan. 16-22.

Strand, of Brandon, and his acting partner, Ty Hudson of South Sioux City, Neb., competed against 296 other actors from a six state region for the right to advance to the national finals of ACTF at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, in April. The competitive audition consisted of six minutes of prepared material, including an original comic scene, a serious scene and a Shakespearean monologue.

Several other USD student pairings reached the semi-final round of 64, including Hudson and Mary Ridder of Sioux Falls; Reece Porter of South Sioux City, Neb., and partner Jamie Fields of Sioux Falls; and Maggie Conley of Des Moines, Iowa, with Jessie Atkinson of Sioux City, Iowa. Other student actors from USD in the competition included Allen Jones of Miller, Rebecca Barczak of Clarksville, Ind., Chris Johnson of Crown Point, Ind.,  Brooke Grassby of Rapid City, Natalie Polisson of Crown Point, Ind., and  Elizabeth Wright of Yankton.

The Region V festival at Iowa State University attracted more than 1,000 students from colleges and universities in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

USD Theatre students specializing in design and technical theatre were also awarded accolades at the festival: Erin Gallion of Salina, Kan., received second place for her �Twelfth Night� make-up design; Ben Kramer of Sioux Falls, second place scenic design of non-produced work for �Macbeth�; and Natalie Friesen of Freeman, costume designer for �Twelfth Night,� was selected to showcase her costumes in the festival�s costume parade. Certificates of commendation were awarded to graduate student director David Mancini of Los Angeles; the cast of �Fat Pig;� and to Rachel Foulks of Ponca, Neb., for her �Evita� wardrobe.

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