Hope Theatre Prof and Students Earn Trio of National Awards

Danai Mandebvu, who was selected to participate in April’s national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival event following regional competition in February and March, was one of three outstanding members of the Hope theatre family who ultimately received recognition in conjunction with the festival. Please follow the links below for stories celebrating the others’ awards, which were announced subsequently.

Michelle Bombe
Michelle Bombe, professor of theatre

Michelle Bombe, professor of theatre, was surprised during the April 17-23 event with the National Kennedy Center Gold Medallion — the most prestigious national award presented by the KCACTF — for her career-long dedication to teaching and producing theatre.

Bombe is a professor of theatre, resident costume designer and department chair at Hope, where she has taught since 1991, and across the past 17 years has held a variety of leadership roles with KCACTF at the state, regional and national levels, including a four-year term as KCACTF’s national chair that concluded on August 2. In addition to leading the KCACTF during the global COVID-19 pandemic, which led to innovations in using technology that continue to enhance outreach and connection, she was part of the leadership team as the organization has taken additional steps to build access and inclusion through its Representation, Equity and Diversity (RED) Initiative.

Kelsey Sivertson
Kelsey Sivertson in The Winter’s Tale

Kelsey Sivertson, who is entering her senior year this fall, received the KCACTF’s National Institute for Theater Journalism and Advocacy’s top prize. The national competition took place virtually the weekend following the festival.

Sivertson, a non-traditional student from Holland, Michigan, who is double-majoring in theatre and creative writing, was the top performer among the other regional representatives from across the country. She participated after having receiving the top recognition for Region III (of eight regions nationally), which consists of institutions in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Western Ohio. As national winner, she earned a spot in the National Critics Institute, a two-week workshop at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Hartford, Connecticut, that ran July 15-16. She was the only undergraduate student at the institute, which is the nation’s only program designed for arts writers and critics and is traditionally attended by writers who are mid-career.