SBVC Students Cast in National Theatre Festival Productions

Two San Bernardino Valley College Theater Arts students made history in February, when they became the first SBVC students cast in productions at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.The Region VIII festival, held in Mesa, Arizona, brought together students and faculty from Southern and Central California, Arizona, Hawaii, Utah, and Southern Nevada. Nine SBVC students attended, and two were cast in productions — Earl Decoud Jr. in the devised performance Doing Nothing is Doing Something and Elisha Bascomb in the short play Dinner for Two.

SBVC student Earl Decoud (center), performs at the national theatre festival in February.

SBVC student Elisha Bascomb (bottom), performs at the national theatre festival in February.
“This is a great achievement, as hundreds of actors audition and few are cast,” Melinda Fogle, theater arts professor, said.

SBVC student Elisha Bascomb (left), performs at the national theatre festival in February.Participating in the festival “nurtured the creative part of my spirit,” DeCoud said. Everyone there “just wanted to create art, and I loved it,” he added. “Auditioning for centerpieces was a great, eye-opening experience.” Being able to perform “felt amazing,” and DeCoud said he “will be forever grateful of that opportunity.”

Fogle began submitting performances to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in 2014, starting with SBVC’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

“When you submit a production, a KCACTF respondent comes to watch and then gives an oral response to the cast and crew,” she said. “It is a great opportunity for our students to get an outside perspective on their work. Students rise to the occasion and I’ve seen a definite increase in student discipline, professionalism, and artistry.”

The respondent then nominates performers and technical crew members to participate in the annual regional festival, where they can compete for scholarships and professional opportunities, watch selected shows and scenes from plays performed in the region, participate in workshops, and audition for festival shows.

“Students are able to network with their peers and theater professionals and begin the transition to the professional world,” Fogle said. “SBVC has talented Theater Arts students, and I am proud of the way they represent the department and the college. I’m happy to guide the students and help them achieve success.”