The University of South Carolina Upstate‘s Shoestring Players were awarded their first national commendation by The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
The troupe was recognized by the Kennedy Center’s National Committee and Awards Panel with a 2015 Commendation for the Acting Company for ensemble performances of “Memigery.”
The award comes at a special time for the program, as the University just began offering a bachelor’s degree in theatre in August 2014. Until that time, students could only pursue a concentration in theatre. It also marked the 40th anniversary of the Shoestring Players.
“The kind of national and international recognition that theatre at the University of South Carolina Upstate has received speaks to the quality of our program, our faculty and our students,” said Jimm Cox, professor of theatre at USC Upstate. “Our recruting for the fall semester has tripled our estimates and that is just the beginning of the growth we foresee for our new major.”
In February, the “Memigery” troupe performed at the Region IV finals of The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. While the piece did not advance to the national stage, it was another first for the Shoestring Players to have been invited to perform at the competition.
“Memigery” is a compilation of stories written by USC Upstate theatre students about memories of images from their childhoods, with music composed by student Elliot Ratgen. The production was initially performed last summer at The Rose Theatre in London as a participant in the International Youth Arts Festival and at the South Carolina Theatre Association Convention.
The cast and technical crew includes Jordyn Chelf of New Mexico, Seth Kemp of Landrum, Harley Bevill of Greer, Andrea Azmuendi of Mexico, Ryan Barry of Spartanburg, Alistair Mann of Spartanburg, Garrett Gibson of Spartanburg, Michael Quinn of Spartanburg, Eliot Ratgen of Greenville, Jake Salgado of Alabama and Bethany Lancaster of Spartanburg.
“Memigery” was sponsored by the USC Upstate Office of Academic Affairs, USC Upstate Faculty and Staff, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard F. Odasz and the General Electric Foundation, the Greenville Healthcare System and Mr. and Mrs. George Dean Johnson, Jr. – Phifer Johnson, a family foundation.
Via: USC Upstate