Theatre and Dance

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WIU MFA Grad Lands Prestigious Kennedy Center Acting Positions


MACOMB, IL – A recent Western Illinois University alumnus, who was a finalist for the Kennedy Center's Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, has been hired to write and act in nine new Kennedy Center plays and perform in two Shakespearean productions through March 2018.

Jeff Young, who received his master of fine arts (MFA) degree from Western this month, and his fellow MFA graduate and acting partner Brett Olson, took part in the Kennedy Center competition in April.

During the event, Young was awarded the College of Fellows Jane Alexander Acting Award, as well as the Shakespeare Theatre Company Fellowship. The Jane Alexander award, named for the film, television and stage actress who also previously served as chair of the National Endowment of the Arts, provided $2,500 to Young to write and act in nine new plays at the Kennedy Center, July 22-31.

"I will be doing this with the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Wooly Mammoth Theatre and others," said Young.
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Graudate 2017

Graduate 2017


Undergraduate 2017


Driving away from this little town in the middle of many cornfields is extremely difficult this morning. Thank you Macomb, Illinois and Thank you WIU Department of Theatre and Dance. You have given our entire family an immeasurable amount of gifts while H. Russ Brown got his MFA in Theatre and again while Grant Brown got his BFA in Musical Theatre. I honestly can't imagine not coming back to you. I pray another journey brings us back to you. Until then, know we are blessed and better beings because of our experiences and the beautiful human spirits who put their heart-print on our heart. So much love and beyond Grateful.
~ Elizabeth Bear Brown (Wife of H. Russ Brown MFA 2005 / Mother of Grant Brown BFA 2017)