HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Three students in the School of Performing and Visual Arts at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) were among the awardees at the 2022 National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Awards, honored virtually at a ceremony held this month.

Petron Brown, MFA in Theatre Performance candidate from The Bahamas, received the John Cauble Award; Mason Baria, BFA in Theatre Design and Technology candidate from Gautier, Miss., received the Distinguished Achievement for the National Costume Design Award; and Allison Bucher, BFA in Theatre Design and Technology candidate from Metairie, La., received the National Sound Design Award.

The KCACTF boasts contestants from a diverse range of fields in theatre and puts students in a competition celebrating the highest caliber of work produced in university and college theatre programs from across the U.S.

Brown, who was honored with the John Cauble Award, was recognized for his outstanding participation in the KCACTF/LORT ASPIRE Fellows Program, as he demonstrated leadership and community-building skills.

Baria, a costume designer and technician, was recognized for his costume designs for Bill Russell’s Side Show. He is dedicated to the expression of identity and storytelling through his work and stands alongside marginalized voices within and beyond the theater community. Over the summer, he will be joining The Hippodrome Theatre staff as a first hand design assistant in the costume shop.

Bucher was recognized for her sound design work for Hedda Gabler. She skillfully portrayed a sense of hyperrealism and created a realistic basis from which certain turning points throughout the play were heightened by using practical sound elements and manipulation of silence.

“We are thrilled for students of our program to receive national recognition at the KCACTF National Festival. It speaks volumes of their talents and efforts as well as the education and training they received here at Southern Miss Theatre. We are proud to be at the national forefront in performance, design, and advocacy,” said Dr. David Coley, producer and assistant professor of theatre.