Theatre MSU students nominated for Kennedy Center festival, faculty receive ‘recognition of excellence’

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MSU Office of Public Affairs

News Bureau (662) 325-3442

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

October 28, 2021


     STARKVILLE, Miss.—Students in Mississippi State’s Theatre MSU—the Department of Communication’s production division recently named a 2021 School of Excellence Award in Higher Education from the Mississippi for Arts Education—now are nominees to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) to be held virtually this February.


     The KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country and provides more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills and receive national recognition for excellence.


     Seven MSU students received nominations to the region four festival for their work on Theatre MSU’s Fall 2021 production, “Men on Boats,” which was directed by Erin Earle Fleming, and MSU adjunct faculty member who served as guest director.


     Three MSU faculty members received “recognition of excellence” for their work on the production.


     If selected for the next round, nominees will have the opportunity to compete for a chance to attend nationals in Washington, D.C. this spring.


     “Now that the students have been nominated, they can present their designs, acting or technical work at this festival and will get feedback from other theater professionals. Winners will be chosen,” said Melanie Harris, an MSU communication instructor and director of Theatre

MSU costumes and operations. “If they pass through that level of competition, they can advance to the national level in D.C.


     “Having student nominees chosen from our productions is always a proud moment. Our program is built entirely on the work and talent of our students and we love it when they get the recognition they deserve,” Harris said.


Student nominees include:

     Corin Davis—a junior communication major—nominated for costume designs.

     Allyn Hackman—a senior communication major—nominated in the Irene Ryan acting category.

     Jade Keaton—a junior communication major—nominated for stage management.

     Alicia Margerum—a senior communication major—nominated for scenic design.

     Leta McCollough—a senior geosciences major—nominated for props.

     Kala Morris—a senior food science and nutrition major—nominated in the Irene Ryan acting category.

     Lia Morris—a sophomore industrial technology major—nominated for sound design.


Faculty recognitions include:

     Melanie Harris—an assistant professor in the communication department—nominated for costume shop management.

     Jesse Wade—a clinical assistant professor in the communication department—nominated for technical direction.

     Matthew Webb—a clinical assistant professor in the communication department—nominated for lighting design.


Part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communication is available online at

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