Theatre Design Student Earns 1st Place at National Contest

Two students represented the University of Kansas and showcased their skills as theatrical designers at the recent Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National competition in Washington, D.C.

"Student dressed in black with some deep purple accents looks directly into the camera showing an expressive smile. The student’s hands are in their pockets.  The photo shows their booth at a theatre design festival. A table in front and bulletin board in back show their swatches, costume design renderings, and a big sign that reads Cabaret."
Edmund Ludlum, of Topeka, edged out eight other students from around the country to earn a First Place National Award for Costume Design, resulting in a monetary award. Ludlum, who just graduated with dual degrees in theatre design and history of art, competed with their designs for Cabaret, the University Theatre’s 2022-23 season finale.

“At the festival in D.C., it was affirming to see theatre professionals and students alike so devoted to making the same changes I am working towards in this field, whether it's a better work-life balance or centering stories historically ignored,” Ludlum said, adding that they thank KU’s entire Cabaret team, especially Costume Shop Manager Gail Trottier. “My accomplishments would not have been possible without her phenomenal work and tireless support to make this show look the way I had envisioned, despite all the stressors and the sheer magnitude of the production.”

Hana Rose North, a Salina native and junior theatre design student, presented to national judges as a finalist in Sound Design for her work on Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties, KU Theatre’s 2023-24 season opener. North is serving as sound designer for Indecent, which is the 2024-25 season opener.

KU Theatre has a tradition of success in the design categories at regional KCACTF competitions, frequently sending multiple students to nationals.

“Edmund’s achievements reflect talent, hard work, and dedication, of course, but this award also vindicates KU’s approach to training students broadly across multiple areas of theatre, including history and theory as well as practical skills,” said Henry Bial, Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance.

The KCACTF National Festival took place April 21-26 in Washington, D.C. Students were able to attend workshops, learn from professionals, and create contacts within the industry. For a list of all the nominees and award winners, visit this BroadwayWorld link.