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By MATT CRANE
During closing ceremonies at the 2013 Mississippi Theatre Association Festival in Columbus Sunday, both Starkville Community Theatre and Starkville High School were recognized with awards for their competition productions.
Krista Vowell, a cast member in SCTâ€™s production of â€śDinner with Friends,â€ť said the opportunity and accessibility of theatre in Starkville provides a great service to the city and its residents looking for a creative outlet.
â€śWe are so fortunate in Starkville to have both high school and community theatre level actors, technicians and directors that are absolutely top notch,â€ť she said. â€śThe people who come and see our productions at SCT and SHS are all the better for and it really builds a community.â€ť
â€śDinner with Friendsâ€ť received awards for best costuming and runner-up best show. Acting awards were given to Jonette Wilburn, all-star cast, and Vowell, best actress. SCT member Lyle Tate went home with the best performance by an audience member award, and Paul Ruff was awarded third place in the adult playwriting competition.
Vowell said she is proud of the show SCT brought to this yearâ€™s competition weekend.
â€śI love doing the work that I do, and to have my peers recognize the work that Iâ€™ve done feels amazing and it is truly humbling,â€ť she said. â€śSCT put up a fantastic show and we work very hard. We are very proud of what we did and we appreciate all the support from the community.â€ť
MTA Executive Director Stephen Cunetto he was pleased with this yearâ€™s festival.
â€śWe were pleased with the turnout from the high schools and the community here in the Golden Triangle area,â€ť he said. â€śWe had great talent, great performances and a great time.â€ť
The festivals adjudicators chose to advance Meridianâ€™s Company of Angelsâ€™ production of â€śThe Boys in Autumnâ€ť and Tupelo Community Theatreâ€™s production of â€śThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Beeâ€ť to the Southeastern Theatre Conference in March.
â€śI think the adjudicators did a great job in selecting the winners who will be advancing on to SETC and I think they will do a great job representing Mississippi,â€ť he said. â€śI wish them all to break a leg.â€ť
For the secondary division focusing on high schools, SHSâ€™s production of â€śThe Insanity of Mary Girardâ€ť boasted a variety of awards for its acting performances. Acting awards for all-star cast went to Louis Codling, excellence in ensemble acting to â€śThe Furiesâ€ť and best actress to Mary Kate Hughes.
Director Jessica Taylor said her first MTA festival experience was a good one and she is proud of the work her students brought.
â€śThe students were great throughout the festival and there was a lot of good competition,â€ť she said. â€śIt was a good experience and it provided for a lot of insight for next year.â€ť
Oak Grove High Schoolâ€™s production of â€śIn a Grove: Three Japanese Ghost Storiesâ€ť and Picayune Memorial High Schoolâ€™s production of â€śElephantâ€™s Graveyardâ€ť will advance to SETC.
Secondary division chair M.J. Etua said the talent level of the high school students continues to be incredible with every passing year.
â€śThe talent is Mississippi is just amazing and Iâ€™m very proud that we have such a pool of talented, beautiful high school students,â€ť she said. â€śThe kids are so supportive of each other on stage and off stage. We just have a fabulous time.â€ť
For more information, visit http://www.mta-online.org.