The Walla Walla University production of Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson has received five awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and additional recognition for two student actors. The play tells the story of mathematician Ada Byron Lovelace and her work with Charles Babbage to develop the programming that enabled the development of the first mechanical computer. The show was performed on the WWU Donnie Rigby Stage in November 2019.
The KCACTF presented Meritorious Achievement Awards to:
• Producer—Kristen Taylor, WWU director of Residential Life and Housing.
• Student producer—Nathan Pittenger, senior graphic design major.
• Stage management—Rylee Blake, junior psychology major.
• Lighting design—Kyle Lambert, senior mechanical engineering major.
• Lighting technician—Michael Iseminger, alumnus.
Actors Macy Moon, freshman English major, who played Ada, and Jared Sexton, senior physics major, who played Lord Lovelace and Lord Byron, received Irene Ryan nominations to compete in the KCACTF regional festival to be held in Colorado in February.
The KCACTF is a national theater education program, which strives to identify and promote quality in college-level theater productions. WWU offers a minor in drama. The program began at WWU began in 1961 and has expanded to include at least two fully staged plays each year in addition to the annual Festival of Shorts.
Jerry Entze, co-interim director of wwudrama, says that the WWU drama program is a “melting pot of students from across campus.” “Being involved in drama provides students the opportunity to interact with students outside their discipline, students who they otherwise most likely would never encounter,” he says.
“Drama provides a creative outlet for students while instilling important life skills,” he said. “Students involved in drama quickly learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration as no show can succeed without it. It also teaches the importance of a shared goal and how working together towards that goal results in a greatness well beyond what could be accomplished by doing it alone. Theatre provides a sense of belonging where students develop lifelong friendships. All of which can help build one’s self-esteem.”
Posted Feb. 10, 2020.