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January 25, 2002


LA CROSSE, Wis.— Several Viterbo University theatre students received high honors at this year's American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) held in Evansville, Ind. Jan. 9-13.

Dan Nord, a Viterbo junior from White Bear Lake, Minn., won the playwriting competition with his one-act play, King Me. Nord, who received a small monetary award, is invited back to next year's ACTF to hold a full-scale production of his original work. In addition, Viterbo University will stage the play later this spring.

Half of the finalists in the ACTF playwriting competition were Viterbo students. Competing with Nord were Ben Minnis, a senior from Des Moines, Iowa, and Keely Wolter, a senior from Eagan, Minn.

Senior Barry Moe, from Sun Prairie, received honorable mention for his makeup designs for the Viterbo University Bright Star Season production of Into the Woods last October.

A senior theatre major from Detroit Lakes, Minn. was chosen as a regional finalist in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition. Kristen Husby received this distinction after performing a scene from Lady and the Sea by Henrik Ibsen and Glitter and Be Gay from Candide. Viterbo's Nadia Wahhab, a senior from Greendale, was a semifinalist in the event. She performed a scene from Wild Honey by Anton Chekhov. Wahhab was one of 40 semifinalists out of 350 competing overall. Husby was one of 16 to earn the distinction of finalist.

Brand new to the ACTF this year was a stage management competition. Viterbo's Heather Krowiorz, a senior theatre major from Manitowoc, was one of only six chosen to compete. As such, she helped manage the 10-minute play festival. She was nominated for the competition by Susan Rush, a Viterbo theatre professor. Krowiorz was chosen for the honor on the basis of that nomination and her resume and portfolio.

The winners and finalists were part of a group that included 19 students from Viterbo who entered and attended the competition.

"The ACTF is a wonderful experience for our students," said Rick Walters, chair of the Viterbo theatre department. "They get a chance to compare their work with that of other students in the region. It gives them a better perspective on the caliber of their education and their work. Plus, the festival helps put Viterbo on the map. Viterbo theatre is gaining name recognition among its peers and among students in our region."

The annual festival is a regional competition involving 2,000 graduate and undergraduate participants from Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. The aims of the Kennedy Center’s ACTF are to identify and promote quality in college-level theatre productions.  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.

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