Northern Essex Receives Honors at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Starring in “Lighten Up” are two Northern Essex Community College alumni, Michael Zuccola of Haverhill, now a professional actor, and Zaida Buzan of Charlestown. (Courtesy photograph.)

Northern Essex Community College Theater walked away with big honors and made its mark at this year’s Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival last week in Hyannis.

The Region 1 festival brings together hundreds of college theater students, professors and professionals from New England and New York to showcase their work and expertise.

The 2022 production of “Lighten Up” was selected as one of the top 10 best productions of the 2021-2022 Academic year. Cast members Gwynnethe Glickman, Olivia Barberian and Jessica Newey performed a scene during the Invited Scenes Showcase.

“They tore the roof off the place,” said Northern Essex Theater Professor Brianne Beatrice. “They took this scene from a show we staged outside and performed it in front of 300 people. It was incredible.”

Glickman placed third out of 150 nominees in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition. She performed a monologue as Benvolio from “Romeo and Juliet” and a scene from “Anything for You” partner Mirrorajah Metcalfe. This is the third award Glickman has won from the Festival.

Professor Beatrice presented a Master Meisner Acting Workshop to nearly 200 students. The Meisner technique is an approach to acting that teaches actors to rely on their instincts and to build connections with each other. She said, “It builds up their confidence, and they produce beautiful art.” This is the 10th year Beatrice has taught this workshop.

There are several upcoming opportunities to see the College Theater in action. They are staging a production of “Hurricane Diane,” featuring Metcalfe as Diane. Shows are scheduled for April 27-30. Beatrice is also creating a showcase of student work from the festival on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m., on the Haverhill Campus.

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