GWC Theater Students Recognized at American College Theater Festival

Huntington Beach, Calif. — Golden West College student actors Lizzy Legere and Salvatore Messina were named nominees last spring for the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival (ACTF) Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships for their performances in the recent GWC Theater Arts department production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Additionally, actors Maximus Dorsey and Ian Pedersen received recognition for Meritorious Achievement in Acting for their performances in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.    

As part of their nominations, Legere and Messina became eligible to attend the ACTF regional festival in February 2024 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 regional scholarships.

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chair, 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.

The 2023-2024 season for the Golden West College Theater Arts department includes The Exorcist, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Psycho Beach Party, and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.  For more information on the Golden West College Theater Arts program visit

Located in the coastal community of Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City,” Golden West College is highly regarded for academic quality and innovation. Founded in 1965 as part of the multi-college Coast Community College District, GWC provides enriching and innovative programs that help students: transfer to four-year institutions, earn associate degrees, complete certificates in career and technical education, advance their careers, and demonstrate college readiness.