EastBay Today

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Posted March 5, 2018

Cal State East Bay Students Honored at Theater Festival

Several department of theatre and dance students were recently honored for their work producing a play that explores how all racial oppression is interrelated, and features dramatic and comedic testimonies of “survival, perseverance and resilience” from Cal State East Bay students.

“CSU Ferguson” premiered at the Hayward campus in fall 2016, and after many successful performances, the cast and crew were invited to perform the play twice at the Region 7 festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Spokane, Washington. The performances were done with full sets, costumes, lighting and sound, and were packed with an engaged audience according to Theatre and Dance Professor Tom Hird.

“CSU Ferguson” was one of four full college productions invited to the festival which includes nearly 135 colleges from around the western U.S. and Alaska. In addition to the performances, students at the festival attend workshops; participate in readings and small productions; take weeklong classes; audition for summer theater programs and graduate schools; and network with nationally known guest artists.

Darryl V. Jones, chair and professor in the department of theatre and dance said the play’s inclusion and recognition at the festival were exciting for both students and faculty.

“They worked very hard to make “CSU Ferguson” a theatrical experience that enlightened and educated their audiences regarding institutional oppression and violence perpetrated on minorities in America,” Jones said. “The reaction they received was overwhelmingly positive, and many people at the festival attended both sold out performances.”

Individual members of the theatre and dance department were also honored, and the entire design team took home the Don Childs Collaborative Design team award which includes weeklong training this summer in Las Vegas at Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas. 

The students who received awards at the KCATF included:

Grace Ortega: Stage manager for “CSU Ferguson”

Jossue Gallardo: Lighting designer for “CSU Ferguson”

Lance O’Dell: Set designer for "CSU Ferguson" and lighting designer for "Cabaret"

Gabrielle Upshar: Sound designer for “CSU Ferguson” and wig designer for "She Loves Me" 

Sandy Young-Cellilo: Mask design project

Tyler Jeffreys: Semi-finalist for Irene Ryan scholarship

The KCATF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. It aims to serve “as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.”