Collin College Logo
CCCCD Theatre Students Among The Best In The Nation

CCCCD Theatre Students Among The Best In The Nation

March 21 , 2003-Two Collin County Community College District (CCCCD) student actors have advanced to the National Finals of the Irene Ryan Competition. Only 16 students across the nation have advanced to this level. Chris Cantrell (of Richardson) and Shawn Dollinger (of McKinney) were advanced to the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival's (KC/ACTF) Irene Ryan Acting competition, after competing against the top student actors from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

"I'm obviously extremely excited to be selected for the national level," said Mr. Cantrell. "It's a real honor. To be showcased in front of the people who we'll be performing for is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

"It is really exciting to have the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and support my friend Chris," said Mr. Dollinger. "I believe it is a testament to the excellence of the program here at Quad C and the kind of training we receive."

The Irene Ryan Award is considered the highest award a collegiate performer can attain. Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at the regional festivals. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty 'Granny Clampett' in "The Beverly Hillbillies." The Foundation and KC/ACTF also bring two regional winners and their acting partners from each of the eight regions to Washington, DC, all-expenses-paid, to take part in an "Evening of Scenes" during the KC/ACTF national festival. This presentation is viewed by leading directors, producers, and casting agents and two student performers are awarded additional $2,500 scholarships.

Eleven CCCCD Theatre students were nominated for the Irene Ryan Award. Mr. Cantrell was initially nominated for his performance in a play that he wrote, "The Worth of Me." That script is also a Finalist for the Jean Kennedy Smith Award for student playwrighting. Sarah Saunders (of Mesquite) was nominated for her performance in "The Learned Ladies." Ms. Saunders and her scene partner, James Dougherty (of Flower Mound), advanced to the Region VI Semi-Final round. The nine other CCCCD students who were also nominated for the Irene Ryan award, but did not advance in the competition include Richard Sharkey (of Plano) and Katy Drake (of McKinney) for "Side Man"; Mary Catherine Eilts (of Plano) and Denton Davies (of Carrollton) for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"; Rachel McMahan (of Wylie) for "Titus Andronicus"; Brian J. Smith (of Allen), Joe Newton (of Carrollton) and Adrian Leigh Cook (of Dallas) for "A Clockwork Orange"; and Michael Maresca (of Highland Village) for "The Learned Ladies."

For more information about Quad C Theatre and upcoming productions, please contact the box office at 972.881.5809 or visit us on the web at