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Dacia Dick wins American College Theater Festival acting honors for seven state region

Each year the University of South Dakota Theatre department participates in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (ACTF). USD belongs to Region V which includes competing schools and universities from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

This year the Festival was held January 21st to the 27th in Ames, IA, at Iowa State University.

From this festival, Dacia Dick (a Bachelor of Fine Arts Theater major and a graduate of Philip High School) was nominated to compete in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition along with 323 other student actors from the seven state region.

Dick is in her fourth year of college, but plans on taking an extra year of preparation. "There are more classes that I would like to go through before I go out into the real world, in order to be more prepared," said Dick.

In ACTF, each competing actor must prepare six minutes of material - two acting scenes with a partner, and one solo piece. Over the course of two days, the 323 competitors are first whittled down to 35 in the semi-finals, and then 16 in the finals. Chosen competitors repeat their performances through the preliminary, semi-final, and final round for professional actors and directors from around the nation who serve as judges.

Dacia and her scene partner, theatre major Miles Brindley from Belle Fourche, advanced to the final round of 16.

"Because of the size of the initial pool of competitors, Dacia's and Miles' achievement is a considerable one," said Priscilla Hagen, Associate Professor of Theatre at USD. "Judges turn away nine of every 10 student actors. In the finals, Dacia and Miles had to perform in a 3,000 seat theatre that has four balconies. That takes special ability.

"In addition to being a finalist in this competition, Dacia has earned first alternate in the Musical Theatre Acting category. I think I can speak for everyone in the theatre department when I say that we are so proud and happy for Dacia's and Miles' achievement," continued Hagen.

"I want to learn more Sign Language and work in a deaf theatre," said Dick. "I'm currently directing a play called Sweet Nothing in My Ear which is all done in sign language. But, I'd also like to act, do voice overs, and direct."

Dacia Dick is the daughter of David and Cheryl Dick formerly of Philip, and the granddaughter of Shirley Chin of Philip.