Senior Theatre Arts and Communication major wins national arts leadership award

McDaniel College senior Alex Tolle
January 22, 2018

McDaniel senior Alex Tolle is the winner of the National Award for Arts Leadership for the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region II and will be one of only eight people from across the country to participate in a special arts leadership program at the national festival.

Tolle, a Theatre Arts and Communication double major from Woodstock, Md., won an all-expenses-paid opportunity to attend the KCACTF national festival in April “to engage in topics concerning equity, diversity and inclusion as well as a dynamic weeklong curriculum designed to explore leadership in the performing arts, investigate institutional challenges in the profession and create professional networking opportunities in the field,” according to the KCACTF Region II website.

“I’m so excited to have such an awesome opportunity to network with leaders in my field,” says Tolle, who has her career sights set on arts administration. “The eight winners from all over the country will shadow the administrative staff of the Kennedy Center and go to regional theatres.”

During the five-day regional festival, Tolle participated in KCACTF’s new program in arts administration sponsored by the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). For her project she created “WomenWork,” a theatre company dedicated to producing the words and work of women, which included crafting a mission, devising a staffing model and raising funds to support it.

“WomenWork” was well received and contributed to Tolle being chosen for the award. Her professors couldn’t be prouder.

“Not only is this a major honor for Alex, but it’s also an amazing opportunity,” says Theatre Arts lecturer Gené Fouché, with whom Tolle is interning this semester at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) founded by Fouché and her husband Tad Janes. “She’ll be entering the conversation our field has been having for the past few years: the need for equality and diversity in theatrical leadership.

“In addition, she’ll be making invaluable contacts at just the time she’ll be entering the workforce. I am beyond thrilled for her — she deserves this honor!”

During Tolle’s semesters at McDaniel, she’s been active in theatre productions and organizations both on and off campus. Most recently, Tolle had a leading role as Stella in the College production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and has also appeared in “Hair,” “School for Wives,” “Laramie Project,” “Dead Man’s Cellphone” and “Mid-Summer’s Night’s Dream.”

She’s artfully integrated both of her majors into her studies as well as into her activities. In addition to the marketing internship at MET, she served as marketing intern at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore and currently is a marketing intern for the College and social media coordinator for the College Theatre Instagram, which she created.

“Alex herself is an amazing student.  She's personable, intelligent and engaged. It's a fabulous opportunity to network — to meet and learn from top professionals in the field as well as with other students who may be the next generation of leaders in the arts,” says Theatre Arts professor and department chair Elizabeth van den Berg.