Theatre @ UAFS continued to solidify itself as one of the top theatre programs in the region by winning awards at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held in San Angelo, Texas.

"Batty Boy," a play directed by University of Arkansas – Fort Smith student David Harris of Cabot, was chosen as the best play from the region in the 10-Minute Play category. The competition tasked students with directing, casting and performing student-written 10-minute plays, and "Batty Boy" will advance to compete at the national festival in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, students Alex Sanders of North Little Rock and Hannah Lovins of Fort Smith competed in the Irene Ryan acting competition and progressed to the final round of the competition as one of the top 16 duos at the festival, an accomplishment that Theatre @ UAFS Director Bob Stevenson said is a first for the university’s program.

"More than 100 duos competed in the acting competition, and Alex and Hannah’s performance places them among the 16 best acting duos in our region and the top 100 in the nation," Stevenson said.

Sara Kincannon, Shawn Mann, Randall Marks and Alexander Zacarias, all of Fort Smith, also participated in the acting competition.

The awards are the latest in a slew of awards the program has won at the regional and national level for its devised theatrical productions and acting performances by students. Last year, the program’s devised production of "Delta-v" earned national recognition as a Distinguished Production of a New or Devised Work, in addition to several regional awards won by students.

"Our awards at this year’s regional festival continue to prove the caliber of the theatre program and its students," Stevenson said. "This is the first time we have had a directing or acting student perform this successfully in the individual competitions, and we are thrilled to see such progression among our talented students."

Dr. Christopher Barrick, head of the Department of Music and Theatre, expressed pride in the theatre program.

"Everyone in the Department of Music and Theatre is extremely proud of our theatre students’ accomplishments," Barrick said. "The recent awards they received at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival are just a confirmation of the fine work they do. I’m very appreciative of these students and all they have been able to achieve under the tutelage of Bob Stevenson and Pablo Guerra-Monje."

Region VI of the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival encompasses six states in the southeast and southwest regions of the United States — Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Missouri. More than 100 universities from participating states were involved in the festival.