Students’ musical collaboration wins national honors

Music created by UAB students for the show “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” earns Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival honors.

UAB Department of Theatre major Natalie Kinsaul of Corner and Department of Music major Kevin Peek of Birmingham were awarded second place for most outstanding sound design in the nation at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held April 16-21, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

kennedycenter_storyThe pair won for their original compositions and sound effects for Bertolt Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” presented by Theatre UAB in October 2011. Theatre UAB collaborated with the Department of Music for the show’s music, and student composers Kinsaul and Peek worked for months composing original music for the words and lyrics in Brecht’s songs.

The students won the Region IV KCACTF Sound Design Award and the National Festival Fellowship, earning them a trip to the national festival where they worked with professional theater designers and composers.

“Kevin and I worked with student sound designers and lighting designers from around the country. Our workshop was led by a Tony Award-winning sound designer who gave us feedback about our own designs and great advice for being a designer in the professional world,” Kinsaul says. The week was an invaluable learning experience for making the transition into the professional theater world, she says.

“We’re all very proud of the work our students do for Theatre UAB productions and the sound design Natalie and Kevin did for Caucasian Chalk Circle was particularly impressive,” says Kelly Allison, M.F.A., chair of the UAB Department of Theatre. “This award validates our assessment of their work and our approach to training the next generation of theater artists at UAB.”