Dordt College News

Dordt theatre arts students receive national awards

February 14, 2011

Several students and staff from Dordt College were recently presented with awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (ACTF) in Ames, Iowa. This year Dordt received seven awards at ACTF, 12 nominations to participate in the Irene Ryan acting auditions, and one student was selected to stage manage a play.

Theatre Arts Professor Simon du Toit noted that even amid large theater departments from major universities, Dordt’s quality of work was clearly evident.

“Standing in the room as our several awards were announced, it was clear that our program did better than even many larger university theater programs in that area. I praise God that our college was publicly credited in that way and hope that his name will be glorified through it,” du Toit said.

The following Dordt students and staff were awarded for their work:
• Susan Blom received an award for costume design for the production of The Secret Garden. Blom is the theatre arts seamstress for Dordt College.
• Mark Bylenga of Blaine, Wash., received an award for makeup and hair design for the production of Sukeroku.
• Ellen De Young of Minneapolis, Minn., was chosen to stage manage the national award winning play, Las Hermana Padilla, at the festival.
• Zachary Eggebeen of Sheboygen, Wis., received an award for conception and direction for the production of Sukeroku.
• Jenifer Kanis of Minneapolis, Minn., received an award for scenic design and painting for the production of The Secret Garden.
• Danielle Roos of Sioux Center, Iowa, received an award for direction in the production of Machinal. She was also chosen for the Invited Scene Showcase, where a scene from the play was performed.
• Joel Schiebout of Sioux Center, Iowa, received an award for lighting design for the production of Book of Days.
• Lucas Wynia of Rock Valley, Iowa; Todd Montsma of Sioux Center, Iowa; Hani Yang of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Tassneem Ibrahim of Abuja, Nigeria, received an award for sound and video design for the senior show production of Machinal.

Of the twelve students nominated to participate in the Irene Ryan acting auditions, four agreed to participate, including:
• Maria Bowkamp of Pella, Iowa.
• Jason Kornelis of Sioux Center, Iowa.
• Mia Kornelis of Sioux Center, Iowa.
• Nick Van Ee of Fox Lake, Wis.

At the ACTF festival, students also participate in performances and workshops.

“ACTF was an excellent experience that helped prepare me for the world of professional theatre. The festival gave me the opportunity to see a wide variety of performances, network with peers, and meet respected professionals in my field,” said Jason Kornelis, a theatre arts major at Dordt College. “Every year I come back from ACTF with new ideas and a renewed passion for theatre, and this year was no exception.”

At Dordt College, students majoring in theatre arts can choose emphases in acting/directing, design and scenic art, drama ministry, dramaturgy, technical theater, or theater management. A general theatre arts minor is also available.

Students who have graduated from Dordt with a theatre arts major have gone on to graduate schools for theatre arts or to receive their pre-law or pre-seminary degrees. Others have found careers in acting, teaching, theater management, lighting and sound, and marketing.

Learn more about Dordt’s theater program at

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