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New Paltz students recognized at the Kennedy Center – American College Theatre festival

NEW PALTZ – Emma Larsen ’14 and Patrick Pierpoint ’14, two SUNY New Paltz Theatre Arts students, recently were awarded prizes at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (Region I) in Hyannis, Ma.

Larsen, of Somers, N.Y., won a scholarship for an internship with Boston’s Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Pierpoint, a Goshen, N.Y., resident, won the Best Comic Actor prize competing against approximately 250 participants.

“This recognition is huge,” said Nancy Saklad, associate professor of theatre arts at New Paltz. “Theatre is a really competitive field… and (this) recognition helps build confidence.”

In addition to Larsen and Pierpoint, three SUNY New Paltz students progressed through to the semi-finals round of The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition: Katherine Cryer-Hassett, Patrick Pierpoint, and Robert Gagnon. Last year, Katherine Cryer-Hassett was the recipient of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Award.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) was founded in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman. It is a national theater program in eight geographic regions and involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities from across the nation. More than 600 academic institutions participate in the KCACTF, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents

Winners in each of the eight geographical regions then move on to compete in the KCACTF National Festival in Washington, DC in April.