USC Upstate Students Win Speech and Theatre Honors

February 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

Spartanburg, S.C. – Four University of South Carolina Upstate students comprised the first place winning team from South Carolina at the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association (SCSTA) College Competition, which was held on January 29. The students are Joelle Gwinn, Felicia Glidden, Torrin Grimes and Nick Whitworth. Joelle Gwinn and Felicia Glidden won first place in duet acting and Nick Whitworth won first place in design. Rich Robinson, associate professor of theatre at USC Upstate, coached the students in the competition. He also serves as president of the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association.

The South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association (formerly the South Carolina Speech Communication Association) is a professional organization that promotes the study of all areas of performance and oral communication: acting, oral interpretation/performance studies, theatre, broadcasting, public speaking, discussion and debate, and speech education. Its main purpose is the advancement of the total speech and theatre effort in the educational system of the state of South Carolina.

Additionally, two USC Upstate students received regional honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, which was held on February 1-5 in Daytona, Florida. Ahsha Daniels and Felicia Glidden advanced to both the semi-final and final rounds of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship auditions for the region. Daniels and Glidden were among 200 students who auditioned in the preliminary round. Only 32 students made it to the semi-final round and 16 students were selected for the final round.

Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty ‘Granny Clampett’ in The Beverly Hillbillies. All student actors in both Participating and Associate productions are eligible for consideration for these $500 regional scholarships.

 “This is a first for USC Upstate and we are very proud of Ahsha Daniels and Felicia Glidden’s accomplishments as they competed against students from much larger universities and theatre departments,” said Lee E. Neibert, assistant professor of theatre at USC Upstate.

For more details, contact Rich Robinson, associate professor of theatre, at (864) 503-5621 or or Lee E. Neibert, assistant professor of theatre, at (864) 503-5897 or

   Felicia Glidden and Ahsha Daniels

  Nick Whitworth, Felicia Glidden, Rich Robinson, Joelle Gwinn, Torrin Grimes