Three Mount Mercy University students have been nominated for The Irene Ryan Scholarship Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region V Festival. Junior Taylor Foster of Cedar Rapids, senior Casey Gaul of Dyersville, Iowa, and junior Jarod Heims of Monticello, Iowa, were selected by KCACTF responders and Mount Mercy’s new Drama Coordinator Nich Radcliffe to compete for the scholarship in January. The festival will be held January 20 – 26 in Lincoln, Neb. The Irene Ryan Scholarship Award is contested at each regional festival and winners compete at the national festival held at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Mount Mercy students were chosen based on their performance in the university’s fall production of The Crucible. Foster played the role of John Proctor – a husband, father and farmer haunted by mistakes of his past and forced to make difficult decisions affecting his future. Gaul played Mary Warren, a servant to John Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth. When Mary Warren is accused of witchcraft, she must decide whether to reveal the truth or go along with the crowd. Heims played the role of Reverend Parris, who is interested in material possessions and self preservation while preaching of hell and damnation.
KCACTF’s national theater program involves 18,000 students from colleges and universities across the country with eight geographical regions in the United States recognizing talent among college theater programs while also providing insight for professional development. Participants are eligible to receive awards and scholarships in the categories of playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design.
“It’s a great honor and achievement for these three actors,” Radcliffe said. “Taylor, Casey and Jarod gave outstanding performances in our production of The Crucible, as did the rest of our cast. They are excellent representatives of what drama has come to represent in my short time here: creativity, commitment and courage.”