Several students from UCF received high honors at the recent Kennedy Center/American College Theater Region IV Festival at Daytona State College.

The festival showcases the top productions and students from universities and colleges in nine states.

UCF students brought home honors in scenic design (Benson Knight, first place), playwriting (Bryant Hernandez, first place), costume design (Melissa Palomino, meritorious achievement), dramaturgy (RK Barringhaus, runner-up), and stage management (Jasmin Holton, alternate).

Knight will represent UCF at the Kennedy Center Festival in Washington in April. He was nominated for his work on the Spring 2011 production of Vinegar Tom.

The festival “offers a lot of amazing opportunities,” said Knight. “I had some great conversations with the respondents in Region IV and I look forward to meeting the other judges at the national level. You never know what design opportunities those relationships might lead to. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some amazing student designers who [we] will work with for the rest of our careers.”

Hernandez will work with the Theatre Department to produce his one-act play, Last Chance, next fall. The production will be presented at the 2013 festival. Hernandez said that having his work presented “gives me confidence in my voice as a playwright. I hope to have this play published in the future.”

Theatre UCF had 14 pairs of students compete in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition. UCF had more students invited to compete for the award than any other university in the region.

Allison Walter with Kristin Shoffner, Kayla Zaniboni with Kurt Muilenburg, Jessica Booth with Jason Nettle, Gracie Winchester with Jason Nettle, and Rachel Schimenti with Laura Adams advanced to the second round. Of those, two pairs (Zaniboni with Muilenburg, and Winchester with Nettle) progressed to the final round.

Due to budget cuts, full productions are not invited to the 2012 Washington festival but will be eligible for awards. The productions were reviewed and awards will be announced in April. Theatre UCF’s production of Gem of the Ocean was presented to a full house and was well received by the adjudicators.