Tyler Tate and Kala Ross
Kala Ross and Tyler Tate

Tyler Tate, a second-year MFA student in Theatre Arts, won first place in acting in this year’s Irene Ryan Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. 

Xavier Harris, a third-year MFA student in Theatre Arts, won runner up with his partner Lamar Hardy. 

“This is the festival in the U.S. for college theater,” said Theatre Arts professor Ariadne Calvano. “This just shows the quality coming out of this department. The hard work, dedication and talent of our students is getting the validation it deserves.” 

Kala Ross, a third-year graduate student, was Tate’s partner. She won the regional award last year and then earned the competition’s national award in Washington, DC.

“To get it two years in a row is just huge,” Calvano said. 

Lamar Hardy, Xavier Harris, Kala Ross, and Tyler Tate representing UofL in Spartanburg, S.C.
Lamar Hardy, Xavier Harris, Kala Ross, and Tyler Tate representing UofL in Spartanburg, S.C.

Numerous other students, faculty and staff were at the festival as well to stage Theatre Arts’ production of “Fires in the Mirror,” by Anna Deavere Smith. 

The show was one of only three invited to perform this year out of more than 50 that submitted applications. 

“There was a lot of student leadership in this production, a tribute to the training they are getting,” Calvano said. “Several representatives from the Kennedy Center commented on the level they are at.”

“Fires in the Mirror” received the Golden Hardhat award for the most organized and safe load in and load out for a production under the direction of Charles Nasby, Theatre Arts’ technical production manager, and his son Lionel Nasby, who is a senior undergrad in the department. 

Several faculty were awarded accommodations  for the show as well, including Calvano for stage direction, Janna Segal for dramaturgy and Zhanna Goldentul for costume design.

Tate and Ross will go on to compete this spring for the distinguished National Irene Ryan Acting Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, DC.

Those who’d like to see Tate perform next on a UofL stage won’t have to wait long. Tate is starring in Theatre Arts’ production of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation.” Directed by Geoffrey Nelson, the play examines the premise that everyone is connected by a chain of six acquaintances. It runs Feb. 20-March 1 in The Playhouse. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

The Cast and Crew of Fires in the Mirror
The Cast and Crew of Fires in the Mirror
Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.