Theatre Scholarships Awarded

Coalier.jpgCentral Methodist University’s Center Stage scholarship competition once again brought a wealth of talent and potential to The Little Theatre with Tuesday’s contest. Half a dozen high school seniors brought home scholarships after the event, with Columbia’s Gram Coalier taking the Gold level prize.

Coalier, a Rock Bridge High School student, performed Biff’s monologue from Death of a Salesman and a portion of Noise Off. He says he’s been involved in theatre for several years now but in the last couple of years has become more invested in the art.

“It wasn’t until 10th grade that I was really invested in it,” Coalier said. “I got into the all-school musical and play and have found a home in being different characters. Theatre, for me, is a combination of the arts, every detail made perfect to bring emotion.”

Also receiving scholarships on the day were Elizabeth Thomas of St. Marys, Kan. and Laura Roth of Blackwater at the Silver level, along with Margaret Powell of Pilot Grove, Lillian Wade of Marshall, and Tucker Sauer of Affton at the Bronze level. All received offers of theatre scholarships to add to their academic offers and other financial assistance.

The competition was so strong that Dr. Dori Waggoner, chair of the fine arts department at CMU, asked for permission to make larger offers than originally planned to the students in attendance.

“[You brought] exactly the kind of work ethic and skill that we want in our program,” Waggoner told the students before presenting the awards. “We really see you guys fitting into our culture.”

Dr. Mark Kelty, professor of theatre, expressed the same enthusiasm toward the students, adding that he was moved and impressed by the essays submitted for the competition.

“I seriously got choked up, and I’ve been in education for a long time,” he said. “It just reinforced for me why I’m still in education. . . It fills me with hope and great pleasure to read the things that you guys had to say.”

Last year’s top scholarship winners from Center Stage, Elana Dodson and Arielle Prince, are both currently preparing for the latest Little Theatre production, The Little Prince, premiering for the public on March 5.

For more information on the CMU theatre arts undergraduate program, visit

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