February 16, 2020 12:08:13 AM
Even though Alyssa Algee, Suzanne Allmon, Juniper Wallace, and Chelsea Petty live in different parts of the state the Mississippi, curiosity about the arts brought them together in The W's three-year, 60-hour terminal-degree MFA program.
The love for learning shared by Algee, Allmon, Wallace, and Petty was on display on Jan. 16-19 when they participated in the Mississippi Theater Association Festival and Conference at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
Wallace, who works at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, won the outstanding directing award and the Dominic Cunetto award for best production for her work on "Badger," a play set in 1944 that focuses on five women who take new jobs at Badger Ordinance Works, one of the largest munitions factories in the United States.
Allmon, who is a teacher at Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, won the ensemble acting award for her work on "Peter and the Starcatcher," a play based on the 2004 novel "Peter and the Starcatchers" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.
Northwest Rankin High will be one of two high schools that will represent the state of Mississippi at the Secondary School Theater Festival that will be a part of the 71st-annual Southeastern Theater Conference on Feb. 26-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Petty, who is a theater teacher at Columbus Middle School, served as an adjudicator for youth individual events at the MTA Festival and Conference. She judged Musical Female Solos in the first round of the competition and Female Acting Monologues in the finals.
Algee, who is technical director of fine arts at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, served as chair and manager of the adult individual events. She also served as an adjudicator for the preliminary Musical Theatre Duets, the preliminary Musical Theatre Groups, and the finals for the Acting Duets for the youth individual events, and was responsible for running the adult version of the individual events.
"Our Theatre Education MFA students, which range from middle school teachers to high school teachers to college/university professors, are incredible individuals," said Lee Crouse, associate professor of Theatre and Graduate Studies Director of MFA, Theatre Education at The W. "Not only do they demonstrate artistic excellence to their students and communities, but are instilling within their students that hard work and commitment are required to be successful, no matter what their future careers entail. But their service to theater in Mississippi does not stop there. The willingness of Chelsea to offer her time and talents to adjudicate for MTA events, Alyssa's willingness to serve on the board of directors and adjudicate MTA events make a difference in our state. I am proud to say Suzanne is a past president for the MTA Board of Directors and Juniper is president of the MTA Board of Directors. Our MFA students lead by example in so many ways."