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Theatre students win awards at Kennedy Center Festival

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jan 25, 2019

Three College of Lake County students of theatre arts have received awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region 3 Festival, held Jan. 8-13 at Madison College in Madison, Wis.

Jonathan Rocha, a Waukegan resident, won in the dramaturgy category of his team Design Storm project of “Arcadia.” Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage. In another Design Storm team project, Mikala Griswold of Round Lake received an honorable mention in makeup design for “Chicago.”

In regional design projects, Minnie Martinez, a Zion resident, received two awards in scenic design for “The Trojan Women.”

“I am honored to receive this award and so proud to be able to help showcase some of the creativity and hard work of the students here at CLC,” said Rocha, who is exploringPhoto of three CLC theatre students with their awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Wisconsin colleges for a four-year degree and eventually would like a career as a director of regional theatre. “The festival was extremely valuable for its educational workshops and the chance to interact with students across the region. The different perspectives and fresh ideas that come with collaborating with them is what theatre is all about.”

Photo: (From left): CLC theatre students Jonathan Rocha, Minnie Martinez and Makala Griswold display their awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region 3 Festival, held Jan. 8-13 at Madison College in Madison, Wis.

All three students have been actively involved in CLC Theatre productions. Rocha was an ensemble member in summer 2017's “Jekyll & Hyde,” Harry Easter in fall 2018's “Street Scene,” Snug in spring 2018's “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and he recently was cast as Kreon in CLC's upcoming March production of “Oedipus Rex.” He also served as assistant director for the 2018 production of “Cabaret.” Griswold played Anne-Marie in the college production of “A Doll’s House.” Martinez was assistant stage manager for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as well as the student-produced “Play On!” in spring 2018. She also was props master for the fall 2018 “A Doll’s House” and is the assistant scenic designer for “Oedipus Rex.”

Each year, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival reviews and evaluates the individual and collective efforts of theatre arts students from around the country. Started in 1969, the KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States, according to The festival has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

“KCACTF is an incredible learning experience and opportunity for our students,” said Craig Rich, chair of the theatre program. “It allows them to build skills, weigh transfer options and connect with theatre professionals. The fact that we had three students recognized at the awards celebration made the experience even more incredible. Makala, Minnie and Jon represented CLC well; all the CLC Theatre faculty and staff are incredibly proud of them.”


About the CLC Theatre Department

The CLC Theatre Department offers 13 different courses and an Associate in Arts degree, with emphasis either on theatre performance (acting/directing) or technical theatre (design/stage management). For more information, contact the Communication Arts, Humanities and Fine Arts division at (847) 543-2040 or visit Or become a fan of the College of Lake County Theatre Department Facebook page.


About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes, provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We’re proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County.