University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Prof. Laura Riddle will be honored with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s most prestigious regional award Saturday, Jan. 10 during the KCACTF Region III Festival at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Riddle, professor of Theatre and Dance, will be one of three regional educators to receive the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion, considered one of the great honors in theatre education. Each year, the eight KCACTF regions honor individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and production of theatre and who have dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the annual theatre festival. Honorees have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre, according to the organization.
“It is a great honor to be recognized for my service to the American College Theatre Festival,” Riddle said. “I have the highest regard for this organization’s mission to recognize and encourage quality, creativity and innovation in college theatre. ACTF has given me and so many others the opportunity to learn from and work with artists who share their considerable talents and inspire us to do our best work.”
Riddle is chair of Theatre and Dance at UW-Green Bay, where she teaches acting, improvisation and voice for the actor. Since coming to Green Bay in 1993, she has directed more than 30 productions and served as dialect, voice and acting coach for many others. She has continued to direct and act professionally and also works as a voice actor. She began service as an associate respondent for KCACTF Region III in 1987, and has served several terms on the Region III Selection Committee, beginning in 1989. Riddle has presented numerous workshops at past festivals, served as Wisconsin State Chair and was recognized with the Wisconsin State Service Award in 2011. UW-Green Bay hosted the Region III festival in 1994 and 1995. Riddle has directed four productions invited to perform at the Region III festival, including Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls and Red Herring. In 1997, On the Verge received Awards of Excellence from the KCACTF National Team for directing, acting, scenic, costume, lighting, sound designs, and stage management. In 2014, Avenue Q was honored by the region with UW-Green Bay’s fifth Golden Handtruck award for technical excellence, and was cited by the national KCACTF team for achievement in musical theatre.
Riddle received a B.A. in Theatre from Indiana State University, an M.A. in Arts Administration from Goucher College, and an M.F.A. from The Theatre School- DePaul University. She has studied at Chicago’s Second City, the School at Steppenwolf and with Paul Sills and Uta Hagan.
The Jan. 10 awards presentation will cap a busy KCACTF regional for UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance, which will participate in numerous festival events. Seven cast members from the University’s fall 2014 production of Spring Awakening will perform that musical’s opening number during a new event showcasing musical theatre scenes. Only one school from each state in the KCACTF region was selected for the showcase, which will take place at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. The featured UW-Green Bay cast members are Stephanie Frank, Katie Junek, Andrea Kuhlow, Cherran Dea Rasmovicz, Erin Sunisa, Amy Vannieuwenhoven and Ashley Wisneski. Spring Awakening was directed by Associate Prof. John Mariano, with musical direction by Assistant Prof. Courtney Sherman and choreography by lecturer Denise Carlson-Gardner.
In addition to the musical performance, several UW-Green Bay students or recent alumni have been nominated to participate in the festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition. They are Ashley Wisneski, nominated for Uncommon Women and Others (scene partner Andy Delaurelle); Mariah Himmelwright, nominated for Uncommon Women and Others (scene partner Andy Delaurelle); Erin Sunisa, nominated for Spring Awakening (scene partner Amy Vannieuwenhoven); and Stephanie Frank, nominated for Spring Awakening (scene partner Cherran Dea Rasmovicz).
Others participating in festival events include Associate Prof. Kaoime Malloy, who will present “Out of the Kit Makeup Effects,” a workshop on stage makeup; and student Cherran Dea Rasmovicz, who has entered a costume design into the regional design competition.
UW-Green Bay has a rich and successful history at the regional theatre festival. The University’s Fall 2013 production of Avenue Q, The Musical was a hit when performed during last year’s KCACTF regional, earning a rousing standing ovation as well as the Golden Handtruck Award for excellence in technical execution of the production. Other past invites for full productions are Almost, Maine (2011); The Balkan Women (2009); Red Herring (2006); The Christmas Schooner (2004); Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (2002); On the Verge (1999); Camp Meeting (1993); In Circles (1991); Children of a Lesser God (1985); and Trojan Women (1981).
More information about UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance is available at www.uwgb.edu/theatre/.