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Salem State Theatre Students Win 14 Awards at Regional Theater Festival 

Four students will move on to the national finals in Washington D.C. and two received Las Vegas internships.

Salem State University theater students were victorious at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), with seven students winning a total of 14 regional awards in various competitions, including acting, directing and playwriting. The festival, which was held at Cape Cod Community College from January 28 to February 1, drew competitors from 60 colleges and universities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeast New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Among the winners is Salem State student Demi DiCarlo, of Middleborough, who took the top spot against 230 other competitors in the regional Irene Ryan Scholarship competition, marking 2020 the tenth year a Salem State student placed first in the competition. DiCarlo will move on to the KCACTF national festival in Washington D.C. with her scene partner, Christopher Vega, of Lawrence, who won the New England Theater Conference’s Best Scene Partner Award as well as the Irene Ryan Scene Partner Award for the region.

DiCarlo also received the VASTA Award for Vocal Excellence as well as an award for Achievement in Lighting Design, which includes a one-week internship at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

Other Salem State winners include Harlan White, of Marlboro, who won Excellence in Costume Design, a one-week internship at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, and an invitation to participate in costume design workshops at the KCACTF national festival; Ashley Pitchford, of Billerica, and Cassidy Sullivan, of Middleborough, who were among the top 10 finalists for the Stage Management Award; Kevin Dunn, of Hamilton, who received Honorable Mention for the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Lighting Design; Maddie Roth, of Exeter, NH, who took first place in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society  Directing Initiative, making her the eighth Salem State student to attend the national KCACTF festival for directing since 2011; and Parker Goodreau, of West Warwick, RI, who placed as a Region 1 finalist for the Gary Garrison National Ten-Minute Play Award. 

Peter Sampieri, chair of Salem State’s theater and speech communication department, said "Salem State University's department of theatre and speech communication has swept a series of awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. We're blessed to have such a hard-working, diverse, and creative group of students who are lifted up every day by our top-notch professional faculty. We believe our continued success demonstrates the high quality of our training here at Salem State Theatre."

Among KCACTF’s goals are those “to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs” as well as “to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight and achieve professionalism.” The festival “honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.”

Learn more about Salem State University’s theatre and speech communication program.

Lillian Wall
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