John McLinn Ross players garner multiple awards at NADSA conference

Cast of For Colored Girls

(L-R) Victoria McDowell, Eriya Hobbs, Justice Hinton, Monica Young, Zakiya Baruti, Ebonee Workcuff and Alexandria Pettus

The John McLinn Ross Players represented the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff recently the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts (NADSA) Conference. Ten students from UAPB attended the competition that featured performances, workshops, lectures, and networking with other HBCUs across the country including Grambling State, Jackson State, Winston-Salem State, Prairie View A&M, and Dillard University. After the week-long competition was finished, UAPB walked away with the following awards: 3rd Place in Dramatic Monologue (Justice Hinton), 3rd Place in Duo Acting (Marcus Bowman & Alex Pettus), 3rd Place in Poetry Interpretation (Alex Pettus), 2nd Place in Persuasive Speaking (Marcus Bowman), and 2nd Place in One Play (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf). All Star Acting Awards were presented to Justice Hinton and Victoria McDowell for their performances in the One Act Play, and the Director’s Award was given to Director of Theatre and Asst. Professor of Theatre, Brandon Smith.


“We look forward to continuing to build the theatre program and attending more conferences in the future,” Smith said.

The competition was the third for senior theatre major Justice Hinton who says this year was different for her.

“I went in with a different mindset and went in with the intentions of winning the “All Star Cast Member” award,” Hinton said. “I learned more from my director and past directors at my HBCU than I did at the conference. I received the critiques that were given, but my directors and acting coaches molded me into the actress that I am today, and because of that I trust their judgment.   Even though it didn’t go as planned, I still achieved my main goal in winning the “Allen William Play Festival – All Star Cast Award” with my role as Lady in Red in For Colored Girls directed by Brandon Smith. I have no idea where my craft will take me next but I’m excited for the journey.”

For sophomore English major Eriya Hobbs, being a part of NADSA was a fun experience for her. “Two of the things I loved most was being a part of the round table discussion and being able to share my gift with other people who take it just as seriously as I do,” Hobbs said.

For more information about the theatre program at UAPB, contact Brandon Smith at or (870) 575-8428.


Cutline for photo:  The John McLinn Ross Players that made up the cast of For Colored Girls (l-r) Victoria McDowell, Eriya Hobbs, Justice C. Hinton, Monica L. Young, Zakiya Baruti, Ebonee Grace Workcuff, Alexandria M. Pettus are pictured at the NADSA conference in New Orleans.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s