The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Antonio Anderson
Assistant Features Editor

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

NMU theater awarded for it’s talents

NMU students, faculty and alumna have received awards and merits at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival-Region III (KCACTF), held in January Champaign, Ill.

NMU students, Abby Ropp and Jacob Barbot, along with NMU alumna, Stephanie Bauger and professors Shelley Russell and Ansley Valentine of the Communication and Performance Studies department were the recipients. The KCACTF was founded to celebrate theater at the university level.

“Whenever someone, faculty, students or staff gets an award it’s an independent validation with how we see ourselves,” said James Cantrill, head of the communication and performance studies department. “We try to do the best we can. We recognize that we’re in a bell jar here and outside validation lets us know we’re on the right track.”

Story continues below advertisement

Abby Ropp, a senior English and theater major, won the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for the NMU production of A Year with Frog and Toad. KCACTF were looking for unique approaches, community involvement and work that connected to a higher social issue.

“I really pulled my inspiration for Frog and Toad from the contained wetland ecosystem that it takes place in,” Ropp said. “The combination of conservation issues, English writing and theatre presentation that I’ve learned in my courses (helped).”

Every senior theater major is required to do a capstone project. Ropp had proposed applying dramaturgy into a fall project, which wouldn’t require her to direct a lab show. She then used her work from A Year with Frog and Toad to apply for the award.

“I was shocked (that I won),” Ropp said. “There was a lot of creative work there. I felt a little guilty but now I’m just excited.”

She gets to attend the national festival April 16-22 in Washington D.C.

“It’s a chance to see what is going on in the rest of the country,” Ropp said. “National competition is about learning and being immersed in a super nerdy (theater) week.”

Ansley Valentine won two certificates of merit for A Year with Frog and Toad choreography and Compleat Female Stage Beauty costume.

“It’s nice to have your work recognized by your colleagues in the field,” Valentine said.

Shelley Russell received a certificate of merit for directing the production of the Compleat Female Stage Beauty.

“I was very proud of the show,” Russell said. “The recognition and quality work of the students made me very happy. I could brag all day about their work.”

The evaluation process for this award was peer-reviewed. University professors and artists travel to productions and can make a recommendation. A Wis. professor recommended Russell for the award and between her review and the evaluation KCACTF determines who gets the award.

“I think my students think I drive them pretty tough,” Russell said. “Significant meaningful art requires us to dig deep and challenge them. My goal is to guide students at whatever level to push that guide them. I use music and painting, meditation, tai chi and stage combat. Discipline is just part of the business.”

Jacob Barbot, a junior theater major, won the KCACTF Student Directing Award-Most Improved. The process went through a presentation round with the judges, an interview round, and there was a final performance where the public and the judges could watch.

“It was my first experience directing outside of class,” Barbot said. “It was more of an award of recognition, (but) the experience was very beneficial.”

His directing professor suggested that he participate.

“I wouldn’t consider myself a director. I could do better and take something to D.C.”

Stephanie Baugher won the Design Storm Award for scenic design, which is a timed collaborative exercise.

More to Discover