Strand, of Brandon, S.D., and his acting partner, Ty Hudson of South Sioux City, Neb., competed against 296 other actors from a six state region for the right to advance to the national finals of ACTF at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in April. The competitive audition consisted of six minutes of prepared material, including an original comic scene, a serious scene and a Shakespearean monologue.

A photo of Cody is available for download at

Several other USD student pairings reached the semi-final round of 64, including Hudson and Mary Ridder of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Reece Porter of South Sioux City, Neb., and partner Jamie Fields of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Maggie Conley of Des Moines, Iowa, with Jessie Atkinson of Sioux City, Iowa. Other student actors from The U in the competition included Allen Jones of Miller, S.D., Rebecca Barczak of Clarksville, Ind., Chris Johnson of Crown Point, Ind., Brooke Grassby of Rapid City, S.D., Natalie Polisson of Crown Point, Ind., and Elizabeth Wright of Yankton, S.D.

The Region V festival at Iowa State University attracted more than 1,000 students from colleges and universities in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Students showcased their talent and competed for scholarships and awards in all areas of theatre, including acting, design, playwriting and dramaturgy. Additionally, students utilized the festival to attend a variety of workshops and auditioned for summer employment, including Ebony Shanklin, a USD student from Sioux Falls, S.D., one of 11 actresses cast in “Las Hermanas Padilla,” a new play by Tony Meneses which received a staged reading directed by Rob Urbinati, a professional director from New York City.

USD Theatre students specializing in design and technical theatre were also awarded accolades at the festival: Erin Gallion of Salina, Kan., received second place for her “Twelfth Night” make-up design; Ben Kramer of Sioux Falls, S.D., second place scenic design of non-produced work for “Macbeth”; and Natalie Friesen of Freeman, S.D., costume designer for “Twelfth Night”, was selected to showcase her costumes in the festival’s costume parade. Certificates of commendation were awarded to graduate student director David Mancini of Los Angeles, Calif.; the cast of “Fat Pig”; and to Rachel Foulks of Ponca, Neb., for her “Evita” wardrobe.

For more information about University Theatre visit or call (605) 677-5418.

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