Central Texas College recently announced Yesenia Herrington, drama professor in the Fine Arts department, received the 2022 Kennedy Center American College and Theatre Festival’s Uta Hagen Award. Created in 2019 to honor the centennial birth of legendary actor, director and acting teacher Uta Hagen, the national award is presented to a female acting instructor at a Kennedy Center American College and Theatre Festival affiliated college or university. It is the result of the combined sponsorship of the festival, HB Studios and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre
The Uta Hagen Award provides Herrington a full scholarship from HB Studio to attend the Hagen Teachers Lab in New York City in August and a $1,500 grant. The teachers’ lab is a five-day program where artists and educators from around the world can continue their professional development. It is designed to serve teachers, future teachers and professional actors who wish to explore and expand their understanding and experience of Uta Hagen’s approach to acting and teaching. Herrington will the learn the depth and value of Hagen’s object exercises and scene study process then apply those skills with hands-on training to empower the actors through clear, specific guidance.
An actress, director and educator, Herrington received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University with a double major in theatre and communication. She then earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Texas at Austin. Her film and television credits include the award-winning documentary “Horton Foote: The Road to Home,” the award-winning National Geographic mini-series “The Long Road Home,” HBO’s “The Leftovers” and AMC’s “The Son.”
On stage, Herrington’s role as Carolina in the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of “The Madres” by Stephanie Allison Walker earned her a 2018 Broadway World Austin nomination for best leading actress. Her major voice-over credits include work for Verizon Wireless, TxTag and MODEC International.
In 2010, Herrington founded C2C Multimedia – the company focused on elevating arts education and media for underrepresented populations. Her work was recognized and nominated for a Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce “Rising Star” award. In 2015, Herrington was invited by President Barack Obama to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment of the Arts at The White House. And last year, she was selected to participate in the second “Producing 101” cohort sponsored by Theatre Producers of Color in New York City.
Herrington began her CTC career in 2017 as the drama professor and has directed student productions each fall semester. The productions, which include “Water by the Spoonful;” “Ugly Lies the Bone;” and “Anon(ymous);” have received numerous special merit certificates of achievement. In addition, she has leveraged her industry contacts to provide opportunities for her acting students to earn talent representation prior to leaving CTC and assisted them in making the transition to four-year college theatre programs.
“It’s an honor to receive the Uta Hagen award and be able to attend the teachers’ lab,” said Herrington. “I am grateful to the collective vision of KCACTF, HB Studios and the
College of Fellows of the American Theatre for investing in me as a professor of practice. This will be a transformational experience in my career which will undoubtedly have a far-reaching impact on my future students.”