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Student Production Headed to Regional Kennedy Center American Theater Festival

“Argonautika” Selected as One of Eight Productions at Annual Festival
A scene from Argonautika.
Scene from "Argonautika" with Taylor Purnell (front) and Sierra Young. Photo credit: Bruce Press.

The Howard Community College theatre production of "Argonautika" is one of only eight student productions selected to perform at a regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The festival features the best student work within Region II (mid-Atlantic), which includes colleges and universities within Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, western New York, Ohio, northern Virginia, and West Virginia. This is the first time that a Howard Community College (HCC) student theatre production has been invited to the annual regional festival, January 12—16, 2016, at West Chester University.

“This is a huge honor for Howard Community College and highlights the talent of HCC theatre students,” said Bill Gillett, chair of theatre and dance. “Approximately 800–900 students will attend this year’s festival and our production of ‘Argonautika.’  It’s a great reward for our students to perform for so many fellow theatre students, who will be an excellent audience for this fantastic show.”

“Argonautika,” by Mary Zimmerman, relates the epic Greek story of Jason and his Argonauts as they venture for the Golden Fleece. The play explores questions about the price of success and what must be done to achieve victory. Directed by Jenny Male, HCC theatre coordinator, this production features the talents of 19 student actors who play 32 characters. With a multi-level set representing the Argo, islands, and distant kingdoms, the production also showcases the use of puppets to represent a warrior giant, sea serpent, skeleton army, bulls, and a dragon that never sleeps.

“The experience I’ve had with this play has been marvelous,” said Male. “It has been a joy to work with such a dedicated and passionate ensemble. I believe our success with this play is proof of what can be accomplished artistically when a cast of actors approaches a play with energy, enthusiasm, and great collaboration.”

“Argonautika” will be slightly restaged from its original production in the 100-seat Studio Theatre at Howard Community College’s Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center to prepare for its performance at the 1,200-seat Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall at West Chester University. All the student actors will help with loading the technical elements in and out of the festival performance.

In addition to performing “Argonautika,” three student actors from HCC – Rachel Mackall, Taylor Purnell, and Sierra Young – were selected to audition for the Irene Ryan Audition Scholarship. With scene partners, these actors will perform before judges to receive feedback on their acting. One actor from the regional audition competition will receive a scholarship and a coveted spot at the national conference this coming spring at the Kennedy Center.

The Howard Community College theatre program, located within the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, offers an associate of arts in theatre that transfers to programs at four-year colleges and universities. For more information about “Argonautika” or the theatre program, please contact 443-518-1480 or visit

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