KSU student actor receives prestigious award

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John Stewart recognized for performance in “Splittin’ the Raft”

KENNESAW, Ga.—Kennesaw State University student John Stewart has received the “Outstanding Performance by an Actor” award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for his portrayal of Frederick Douglass/Jim in “Splittin’ the Raft.” Stewart will be officially recognized during the national festival which takes place April 17-21 at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

“Receiving an award like this is truly an honor and I am humbled to be among the individuals receiving it,” Stewart says. “It whets my appetite for more challenges and makes me want to continue working on my craft.” Stewart is one of only four actors from across the country to receive this recognition.

Judges selected Stewart based on his recent performance in “Splittin’ The Raft” at the American College Theater Festival regionals at Daytona State College on Feb. 2. The KSU production was one of only six full-length productions from a nine-state region invited to perform.

KSU Associate Professor Harrison Long calls it a “boon” to the Department of Theatre, Performance Studies & Dance for one of its students to receive this kind of national attention. Long directed the production of “Splittin’ the Raft” and saw Stewart emerge from the experience as a more mature actor and leader. “Touring this play was both physically and emotionally taxing for the actors, and John emerged as a real leader, as the heart and soul of our acting ensemble,” Long explains. “Few young actors have the emotional strength and maturity to lead in that way.”

In addition to receiving his award at the national festival, Stewart will participate in the master classes offered to the national finalists of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships. “The opportunity to learn from some of the foremost individuals in my craft is both humbling and exhilarating,” Stewart explains.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of  24,100 students from more than 130 countries.

The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts departments.

Contact: Cheryl Anderson Brown, Director of Public Relations, 770-499-3417 or cbrown@kennesaw.edu