For the first time in Santa Monica College history, a student has qualified to compete for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship in April in the prestigious Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival’s national competition in Washington, D.C.

In another first for the college, a student will be participating in the stage manager’s competition in the nation’s capital.

Anthony Cloyd of Santa Monica, a theatre arts major at SMC, bested approximately 200 other student actors in the festival’s regional competition, held earlier this month at Weber State University in Ogden, UT. Cloyd, 23, who won a $250 scholarship for his performance, was the only community college student to compete in the finals.

Cloyd will be one of 16 students from the eight regions of the U.S. competing in Washington, D.C. Two students will be selected as winners of the Irene Ryan competition and will each be awarded a $3,000 scholarship.

Cloyd’s scene partner, 22-year-old Celia Rivera of Baldwin Hills, an SMC alumna now at USC, will also go to Washington, D.C. and will be eligible for the $250 Kingsley Colton Award for Best Partner.

“Anthony and Celia had great chemistry in their scenes,” said SMC Theatre Arts Department chair Perviz Sawoski. “Their performance was free of affectation and they were having fun with the scenes, which were well prepared and handled with clarity and specificity. We are very proud of them.”

In addition, 20-year-old Alycia Perez of Westchester will go to the Kennedy Center after winning the regional contest in stage managing, where she competed against 18 other students.

“Alycia Perez is an organized and hard-working stage manager wearing many hats,” Sawoski said. “One of her greatest attributes is working effectively under pressure. She definitely deserves this honor.”

Cloyd and Rivera performed scenes from two plays, The Talented Tenth by Richard Wesley and The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe. They will perform the same scenes at the Kennedy Center as they did in Utah, and Cloyd will also repeat a monologue from William Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida that he performed at the regionals.

“I’m so honored, beyond honored,” Cloyd said of his trip to nationals. “It shows that SMC is just as good as a four-year university. I’m very proud to represent SMC.”