Star Performers

Angelica Richardson and Kiayla Jackson

February 11, 2014

By Matt Hawkins

Last January, Angelica Richardson ’14 and Kiayla Jackson ’15 became the first Bradley team to win the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. This January, the friends claimed another distinction as the first team to win the award in consecutive years.

The KCACTF Region III competition, January 7-11 at Saginaw State University, awarded individual actors who performed with partners of their choice. Richardson took the 2014 honor and selected Jackson as her partner in a reversal of roles from 2013.

“I'm overwhelmingly excited to share this honor with my best friend,” Richardson said. “I think it's really cool that we've won twice, and there's no one else I'd rather share this honorable opportunity with.”

Interim Department of Theatre Arts Chair Scott Kanoff credited the friendship bond for catalyzing the success.

“Relationships that happen in our department make that level of work even more possible,” he said. “We offer really intensive mentorships and close, personal attention. That ultimately is meaningful to them and makes for good work.”

Richardson performed a monologue from “Romeo and Juliet” and the two performed scenes from Kathy Najimy’s “Parallel Lives” and Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour.”

They competed against teams from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Several Bradley teams planned to attend the competition; however, snowy weather prevented travel for the others.

Regional representatives received $500 scholarships and will compete in April for one of two national $2,500 scholarships in Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center.

“Angelica and I have been Siamese twin best friends for three years,” Jackson said. “We have helped each other grow as actors and people. Angelica graduates this year and as a parting gift to her I would love to stand next to her as her partner as we bring another first home to Bradley!”

The Irene Ryan Foundation awards the scholarships to recognition and funds the work of student performers. The foundation, named after the late actress Irene Ryan who is best remembered as Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies,” has hosted the regional festivals since 1972.