BYU students honored at national theater competition

By Blair Howell

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 4 2012 2:50 p.m. MDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two BYU students recently won national acting awards, after being honored at a regional gathering of the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in February.

Becca Ingram received the National Partners of the American Theatre Classical Acting Award, which comes with a fellowship/internship at the renowned Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.

Ingram's prestigious accolade is matched by Ted Bushman, who was her acting partner at the Washington, D.C., competition. Bushman earned the Kingsley Colton Award for Outstanding Partner. It is considered a remarkable achievement to have both the competing actor and a scene partner honored for their work in tandem.

“Becca has the ability to make classical texts extremely accessible to contemporary audience,” said Stephanie Breinholt, BYU theater department assistant professor, who coached the performers. “Add that to heightened emotion, effective communication, and love for the art and her acting partner, and you have really good theater. Becca is also such a lovely person — you can't help but connect with her energy when she is performing.”

Breinholt called Bushman “a committed and giving partner who rose to the occasion of performing in a national venue. He matched Becca’s performance in every way — communication, language and accessibility. This allowed Becca to give an even deeper performance. Ted is also an extremely giving person, and that was noted all week by those he worked with in workshops and other venues.”

Ingram performed a monologue from “Summer and Smoke” by Tennessee Williams. With Bushman, Ingram also performed a scene from “Adam and Eve” by Davey Morrison and Shakespeare’s “Henry IV Part 1.”

Ingram and Bushman will receive scholarships from the national organization. They competed against 14 other collegiate actors selected from among the eight regional events across the country.

While a BYU student, Breinholt earned similar national honors at the 1997 annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. BYU holds the distinction of five national winners at the Washington, D.C., competition.

Utah Valley University student Wendy Gourley earned a similar distinction. Competing in the dramaturge category, she was awarded a Kennedy Center Dramaturgy Fellowship.

BYU costume designer Shelby Luke also earned an award. She received the National Partners of the American Theatre Design Award in association with the Korean National University of the Arts, and Luke will travel to Korea for study and research. She was nominated for her designs for a BYU production of “Peter Pan.”

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