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April 13,2000


LA CROSSE, Wis.—Two Viterbo Theatre Arts students were recently named recipients of national "Awards of Excellence" by the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival (ACTF).

Senior theatre major Kevin Schniepp was selected as the national winner of the "Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award" for the best play written on the theme of a disability. Schniepp’s play, A Simple Autumn, is set at a city bus stop and deals with a life-changing meeting between a businessman and a mentally disabled young man. The play, a project completed for Theatre Arts Professor Dean Yohnk’s playwriting class, was staged last spring at Viterbo as part of the "Original Play Festival."

As the winner of the "Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award," Schniepp will receive a $2,500 cash prize, membership in the American Dramatists Guild, and a full fellowship to attend a national playwriting workshop and conference.

Jesse Dreikosen, a sophomore majoring in Theatre Design, was also selected as a national finalist in the ACTF Make up Design Competition.  Dreikosen’s make up designs for Viterbo’s production of A Flea In Her Ear were chosen "best of show" at the five-state region III ACTF in January and are now entered into the national competition in Washington, D.C. Dreikosen will travel to the national ACTF next week to present his designs and participate in design workshops. The winner of this competition will be granted a fully-paid fellowship to study make up at a major Broadway theatre or Hollywood film studio.

The aims of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival are to identify and promote quality in college-level theatre production.  During the past five years, Viterbo theatre productions and students have been awarded a number of regional and national awards in acting, design, playwriting, and directing. With more than 90 Bachelor of Fine Arts majors in theatre, Viterbo is home to the largest professional theatre training program in the state of Wisconsin.

Viterbo theatre faculty member Dr. Dean Yohnk serves on the Regional Executive Board and is the Wisconsin State Chair for the American College Theatre Festival.

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