USAO Drama Department Receives Statewide Awards

Cast and crew members of “Death of a Salesman” took home multiple state awards and distinctions following last week’s performance by the USAO drama department. The team received honors from American College Theatre Festival judges after its matinee performance Oct. 14. Cast members took a moment from a recent rehearsal to blow off some steam with this silly pose.

USAO Drama Department Receives Statewide Awards



CHICKASHA – For most people, death is the end of a long journey. But for the drama department at the University of Science and Arts, it’s just the beginning. Its recent fall production, Arthur Miller’s “The Death of a Salesman,” earned several state drama awards and honors after its final performance last weekend.

When the curtain closed at the end of the Oct. 14 matinee performance, the cast and crew met with Dana Ayers and Ray Newburg, judges for the Oklahoma State American College Theatre Festival (ACTF). The judges were invited to critique the production as a participating entry in the Region VI State Festival for ACTF.

“I am very proud of the work of the cast and crew on this production,” said Katie Davis, assistant professor of drama and director of the production. “The judges offered praise to the cast and crew for a production well done.”

Four students received distinction for their roles in the production. Drama sophomore Michelle Bivins of Edmond received an excellence award for stage management.

Ardmore communication sophomore Skye Austin, Oklahoma City music senior Mickey DeFord and Duncan communication junior C.W. Bardsher were nominated to represent USAO in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition at the Region VI Festival in Huntsville, Texas next February.

Two USAO alumnae received awards for excellence: Andrea Taylor for costuming and Marcie Price for graphic design. Price is a graphic designer for the USAO Media and Community Relations office.

The entire cast was recognized for excellence in ensemble acting.

Davis said the department’s size, choice of performance and execution of the script were key factors in the awards.

“[The judges] particularly applauded the courageous choice of a difficult play by a department that is so small,” Davis said. “Many other competing schools have dozens of theatre majors, including graduate students with professional backgrounds. USAO’s production had 29 students from many different majors involved, plus several USAO alumni, staff members and Assistant Professor Craig Elder, who played the lead role of Willy Loman.

“It is true that few small colleges would attempt to tackle such a difficult and complex play. I think we have set the standard for our productions very high, and it’s wonderful to get feedback that tells us we are meeting our goals. I am especially proud to have the entire ensemble honored for their acting. This is a goal of every production, to show overall excellence by an entire cast.”

Davis said participants in the ACTF Region VI State Festival can choose either to travel to state festivals or request an onsite visit from organization judges. Due to scheduling conflicts, Davis requested a personal visit from the judges. Following Sunday’s performance, the cast and crew met with the ACTF judges for a critique of the production and announcement of the awards.

A full list of cast and crew members is available online at /news/releases/DoaSalesman.html.

According to the ACTF website, the organization “is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.”

More information about ACTF is available online at