The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s theatre department earned another slew of awards at the Arkansas State Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, which took place earlier this month at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and was attended by universities in Arkansas and Louisiana.


“Mist and Shadows,” a Theatre @ UAFS original interactive production, won nine awards at the festival. Kyle White of Alma, Samson Sorlungsana of Springdale, and Kerri Douberly of Malvern each earned Irene Ryan Acting Awards, while Matt Bowers of Fort Smith and Mykela Sparks of Alma won Awards of Excellence for lighting design and scenic design, respectively. Madison Smith of Fort Smith and Dillon Hudson of Centerton won Honor Crew Awards.


Additionally, Pablo Guerra-Monje, assistant professor of theatre arts, earned an Award of Excellence for production mentorship. The production also garnered Awards of Excellence for a new work by a cast and crew.


The theatre department performed “Mist and Shadows” this fall as part of the university’s Season of Entertainment 38, a yearlong lineup featuring a variety of theatre and musical performances. The show combines elements of escape rooms, haunted houses, and installation art and involves the audience as active participants.


Director Bob Stevenson said the performance at the festival was a valuable experience for the cast and crew.


“The audience really enjoyed ‘Mist and Shadows,’ and afterwards we received a response from two professionals in the field of theatre, one a playwriting specialist and the other an acting and directing specialist,” Stevenson said. “We’ll all use their comments as well as the insights we gained from the other faculty and students from peer institutions to make improvements in our process and get better at the job of theatre. The students also went to workshops and networked with professionals in the field. Overall, they had a great time learning and enjoying theatre.”


This year marks the 14th consecutive year the theatre department has won awards at this festival.