MSU Theatre Production Earns National Recognition

The Department of Theatre has earned yet another award for its 2011 production of Bandersnatch written by John Blann and Brandon Smith, former Assistant Professor of Theatre at MSU. The original production recently gained national recognition for the "Distinguished Production of a New Work" from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which annually sponsors the American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).

This recognition tops a growing list of achievements garnered through the efforts of the Department of Theatre and the McCoy School of Engineering.  Faculty members and students from both departments collaborated to bring the production, which required the building of large, complex puppets, to life.

Dr. Ron Fischli, Dean of the Lamar D. Fain College of Fine Arts, hailed the project as "exemplary of the interdisciplinary undergraduate research and creative endeavors that are especially encouraged by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Universities, of which MSU is one of 26 member institutions." He also praised "the incredible devotion and hard work expended by all who were involved in breathing life into the play."

Prior to earning this latest recognition from the Kennedy Center, Bandersnatch was one of six productions invited to the KCACTF Region VI festival in Norman, Okla., this past February.  At the Regional Festival, the cast and crew earned special recognition for an original work in the playwriting category and four awards in the design and technology category, including a national award from the United States Institute of Theatre Technology bestowed on the engineering students connected with the production.

 "Across the country, thrilling work was mentored and generated by passionate teaching artists who have clearly set a very high bar for the young theatre artists fortunate enough to work with them in the collaborative laboratory of theatrical production," wrote Susan Shaffer and Gregg Henry of the KCACTF national office in the award letter to the university. "It was inspiring to see work that clearly enriched the lives of all who created it and all who participated as audiences."

The KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide, which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.

More information about Bandersnatch, visit