Northwest theatre program brings home prestigious awards from regional festival

Students in Northwest Mississippi Community College’s theatre pathway are not only preparing for their production of “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits” in mid-April, they recently attended the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Georgia.

Several students from the theatre department attended the regional event Feb. 7-12 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Two students, Andrew McDonald of Walls and Mary Addyson Harville of Hernando, were awarded in various categories during the festival. McDonald auditioned in a new category, Invited One-Acts JFK Reading and was the only community college student cast in one of the plays. His play was called “Absence Makes the Art.”

“In this category, the Kennedy Center commissioned new playwrights to write one-act plays, and three were chosen for the festival. These three were auditioned, rehearsed and presented. Andrew’s play won second place and it will go on to the national festival,” said Sadie Shannon, Northwest theatre chair.

McDonald was also cast in a 10-minute Play Festival.  Student playwrights submitted plays, and six were chosen to be presented. McDonald was cast in the lead role of “Bits and Pieces” and had to learn American Sign Language (ASL) for the role. He had never studied ASL, but was able to learn his part in three days, according to Shannon. “Bits and Pieces” won first place in this category.

Harville participated in the Collaboration Theatre Challenge. At this workshop, students are broken into groups and are given an original play to design and direct. They work through the play for three days and then Skype with the published playwright, submitting their ideas and design to that playwright, who then decides what design they like best. Harville’s two-person team won first place.

Shannon and her colleague Alyssa Algee, Northwest technical director were also honored for their work on “The Boys Next Door”, which was presented last fall. Shannon received an Excellence in Direction award and Algee was recognized for Excellence in Design.

Northwest will present “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits”, April 19, 21, 22 and 23 in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Senatobia campus. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7 p.m., with the Sunday matinee starting at 2 p.m.  General admission for the performances is $5 for the general public and free for students with an ID.

For more information, contact Shannon at or visit the website at


Pictured:  These theatre students and instructors from Northwest Mississippi Community College recently attended the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Feb. 7-12 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia and brought back honors. L-r are Sadie Shannon, theatre chair, Excellence in Direction for “The Boys Next Door;” Mary Addyson Harville of Hernando, Collaboration Theatre Challenge, first place; Andrew McDonald of Walls, Invited One-Acts JFK Readings, second place and Ten-Minute Play Festival, first place and Alyssa Algee, technical director, Excellence in Design for “The Boys Next Door.” (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)


Northwest Mississippi Community College
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