Two key members of Windward Community College’s theatre program accepted a Gold Medallion from Region 8 of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in February. The Gold Medallion and a plaque were handed to Artistic Director Taurie Kinoshita and Associate Professor Nicolas Logue in a ceremony held in Las Vegas. Both were instrumental in founding the Hawaiʻi Conservatory of Performing Arts at Windward CC in 2022.
The KCACTF Gold Medallion honors individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and have significantly dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the values of the Kennedy Center. It is considered one of the highest honors in theatre education.
“We chose to honor Windward Community College with the Gold Medallion Award because they create theatre, and a theatre program that combines Native Hawaiian art and tradition with classical theatre training,” said Shaunte Caraballo, KCACTF Region 8 chair. “Their program literally changes the lives of its students.”
Their program literally changes the lives of its students.
Audition now for scholarships
March 18 is the final day to audition for the Hawaiʻi Conservatory of Performing Art’s Foundation in Acting pathway fall 2023 cohort. Any student successfully auditioning for the pathway will receive a full tuition scholarship for fall 2023 and spring 2024.
“The Kennedy Center Gold Medallion offers extraordinary national validation of Windward Community College’s efforts at developing emerging talent in our island home,” said University of Hawaiʻi Academy for Creative Media (ACM) System founder and director Chris Lee. “The Academy for Creative Media System is proud to help fund and support WCC’s new Hawaiʻi Conservatory of Performing Arts and all of their gifted students and faculty. Developing the next generation of performers is an essential component of ACM System’s mission to provide a platform for our own stories to be told to the broadest possible audience as part of a fully diversified creative economy.”
Most invited college in the country
Windward CC was also recognized on a national level at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The festival features six productions annually at their regional festival, selected from hundreds of entries throughout California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Hawaiʻi and Guam.
Most colleges and universities dream of headlining the festival once, but Windward CC productions have been invited three times in the past four years (A Walking Shadow, 2019; Oriental Faddah and Son, 2020; and Demigods Anonymous, 2023), making them the most invited college nationwide.
Kinoshita directed all three productions, which was cited as chief evidence by the KCACTF Board of Directors for conferring the Gold Medallion. Kinoshita was also honored in 2018 with the Kennedy Center Excellence in Theatre Education Award.
“Taurie works with exciting new playwrights on original scripts that represent our diverse student body,” Logue said. “She masterfully stages these pieces and trains our student actors to originate roles with spirited performances. As a result, these productions always capture the adjudicators’ interest.”
He added, “If you or any organization you belong to want to invest in the future of Hawaiʻi’s local and Indigenous performing artists, consider donating to our conservatory program.”