GWC Students Receive Acting Award

Actors Jaime Hensgen and Matthew Villescas win American College Theater Festival Irene Ryan Recognition

Merit Award to Stephanie Laing

Congratulations to Golden West College actors Jaime Hensgen (Bertha) and Matthew Villescas (Bernard) 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 Boeing-Boeing.  Additionally, student Stephanie Laing is being cited for an Award of Merit for her work as Assistant Stage Manager for Boeing-Boeing.  


Jaime Hensgen


Matthew Villescas

Jaime Hensgen (Bertha) and Matthew Villescas (Bernard) are now eligible to attend the ACTF regional festival at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Chaminade University of Honolulu in February 2016 to compete for an Irene Ryan scholarship.  They can also proudly place the words “Irene Ryan Award” 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. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

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 QUILLS and the award winning musical MARY POPPINS.  For more information on the Golden West College Theater Arts program, go to