Creative Arts, School of Liberal Arts

A Siena student is headed to a national theater competition at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts following her lighting and sound design win at regionals. Her award was just one standout in a banner year for Siena creative arts students. 

Jaime Cochran ’25 received an award of excellence at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 1 conference, held Jan. 31-Feb. 4 in Hyannis, Mass., for her work on “Tell Me That You’ll Not Forget Me.” 

The play was written by Emily Furlong ’21 and Megan Stuart ’22, and performed in June 2022 in 

collaboration with Historic Cherry Hill and the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York.

This will be the first time Siena has sent a student to KCACTF nationals in Washington D.C. (Carli Scolforo ’21 qualified in 2021, but the national conference that year was held online due to the pandemic.) 

“Festival was incredible,” said Cochran. “It was an unforgettable experience to be so immersed with like-minded theater creators and mentors, learning from such personable and experienced professionals of the industry. It was an honor to be invited.”

She will represent Region 1 at nationals in April, and notes that the entire production of “Tell Me” was an original creation by the Siena community. 

Mike Lounello ’11, the College’s technical director of events, prepped the Siena students entering the competition in design and technology.

“It is a privilege to witness the journey of our students as they bring their presentations to the regional festival,” said Lounello. “Their hard work and dedication to their disciplines is evident in every aspect of their projects. Watching them grow, learn, and take home awards at the festival is a testament to the impactful experience it provides.”

Also receiving awards at Region 1 were Sarah Vogt ’25 and Isabella McClave ‘24, who took home the Jane Childs DTM Legacy Award in Design, Tech and Management, and Emma Ryan ‘23 and Cate Cosgrove ‘23, who earned an honorable mention in allied design and technologies.

“It was so wonderful to be surrounded by people who share the same passions as you," said Ryan. "We were able to receive constructive criticism from professionals in the industry and it was an incredible learning experience. I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for the level of respect, curiosity, and enthusiasm every single person showed toward both me and my work.” 

Lounello said the KCACTF offers not only recognition, but also valuable workshops and hands-on experience that help shape performing arts students into innovative and creative individuals. 

“It is truly inspiring to see their passion and drive come to life at Festival,” he said.

Krysta Dennis, Ph.D, producer of creative arts, prepared the performance students for the event. 

“KCACTF is an amazing opportunity for our students to present their work and make connections with students from other colleges and universities in their field of study,” she said. “It provides unique opportunities to connect with industry professionals and attend a wide variety of workshops in a diverse range of theater-making. This was the first in-person festival since the pandemic, and the wonderful excitement that the students, theater practitioners, and faculty brought to the festival was electric.”

Dennis became chair of dramaturgy for KCACTF Region 1 in 2020, so while she has been to Festival many times before the pandemic, this year was her first in person in a leadership position.

“This was a very special year for me. To see our Siena students having such an unforgettable experience, learning lots, and yes, bringing home lots of awards and recognition for their work was truly an inspiration.” 

All 16 students who attended Region 1 presented a scene night and design expo Feb 7 on the Siena campus.