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Actors Amanda Mac Donald and Novelee Smedley win American College Theater Festival Irene Ryan Recognition


Congratulations to Golden West College actors Amanda MacDonald (Janet) and Novelee Smedley (Kitty) for being named nominees for the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival (ACTF) Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships for their performances in the recent Golden West College Theater Arts department production of the Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Additionally, actor Salvatore Messina (Feldzieg) was listed as an alternate.


Amanda MacDonald (Janet) and Novelee Smedley (Kitty) are now eligible to attend the ACTF regional festival in Las Vegas in February 2023 to compete for an Irene Ryan scholarship. They can also proudly place the words “Irene Ryan Award Nominee” on their acting resumes. 

Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. 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. All student actors in both Participating and Associate productions are eligible for consideration for these $500 regional scholarships. 

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater (KCACTF) 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. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide. 

The goals of the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival are to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs; to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight and achieve professionalism; to improve the quality of college and university theater in America; and to encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students, the classics – revitalized or newly conceived, and experimental works. 

Upcoming productions for the Golden West College Theater Arts department include the play Inventing Van Gogh and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For more information on the Golden West College Theater Arts program, go to