URI theater student wins regional competition

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10 other URI students selected to compete

KINGSTON, R.I. -–February 12, 2008—There are many stars majoring in theater at the University of Rhode Island.

For example, Samantha Demers of Cranston won the prestigious New England Stage Management Fellowship Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 1, held in Fitchburg, Mass from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3. The URI student was invited to compete based on recommendations of her work as stage manager for URI’s production of Stuff Happens last October.

The festival goals are to identify and promote quality in college-level theater production. Selected students are invited to participate in theater festival programs involving scholarships, internships, grants and awards for actors, playwrights, designers, stage-managers and critics at the regional and national levels.

As a winner from the field of 28 at the regional festival, Demers has been invited to the national festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC this spring.

She and other award winners will participate in a weeklong master class and symposia with area professional stage managers with other award winners in April. A national festival winner will be selected from the master class.

Ten other students from the URI Theatre Department, out of 218 candidates from 55 New England schools, were selected to compete in the festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Competition. Four out of the 10 progressed to the semi-final competition level: Amanda Ruggiero of Smithfield, Carlos Campbell of North Kingstown, Josh Short of South Kingstown, and Tyler Fisher of Brandford, Conn. Ruggiero was a finalist and placed second runner-up in the overall competition.

For the first time, URI entered the student-directed play, Some Girls, in the competition in addition to the four main stage productions. All student designers and the director were eligible for nominations in the areas of directing, stage management and design/tech. The student director, Michael Pignatelli from Oakland, N.J., was invited to compete for the directing fellowship.

Last year more than 1,300 productions were entered into the award program involving more than 200,000 students nationwide. By entering its productions, the URI Theatre Department recognizes, rewards and celebrates the exemplary work produced in college and university theater across the nation.