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Walking around Fresno State, students pass by posters for the latest play and visit the box office in the Speech Arts building to buy tickets for the play.

Rising actress


Contributed by Jim Medeiros

Walking around Fresno State, students pass by posters for the latest play and visit the box office in the Speech Arts building to buy tickets for the play.

But little do most know that when they pass the posters or the booth, there is a good chance that they are passing by an award-wining actress who has received critical acclaim.

Ferin Petrelli, a theater arts major at Fresno State, recently headed to Washington, D.C. for the American College Theater Festival’s (ACTF) national competition along with 16 other regional winners. She was one of two award winners for her region, which took her to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

“It was just so surreal,” Petrelli said about the feeling when her name was called as one of the two regional award recipients.

Though she didn’t win at the national competition — getting to that point was no small feat. She was nominated along with over 300 other people to go to the ACTF regional.

The competition had only three rounds filtering down the 300 to 36, then to 16. Out of the 16, two were given the regional award and the honors to go to Washington, D.C. to compete for the national award.

The actors had to perform scenes from plays of their choosing in front of some big names, such as “Desperate Housewives” creator and producer, Mark Cherry.

Petrelli has been acting since she was a child, saying she was always putting on plays for her parents.

“When you love acting, you do it your whole life,” Ferin said.

She is now working on her seventh play at Fresno State. One of her newest roles will be in the play The Adventures of Dash Riprock and the Tentacles of Doom.

Getting prepared for roles is something Petrelli doesn’t take lightly. Whether it was for The Polish Joke, which got her nominated for the regional competition, as well as Macbeth and A Lie of The Mind — she looks into every last detail. How the character walks, talks and even how they would eat cereal are all things that Petrelli takes into account for each role she takes on.

Even with the regional award and the accomplishment of reaching the national competition, there are still parts she wants to play. She aspires to play Helen from the play Fat Pig as well as some parts from Shakespeare, including Beatrice from Much to do About Nothing. She also would like to try her hand at writing one day

Actors that have influenced Petrelli include well known actors such as Meryl Streep and William H. Macy, to the more obscure names such as Clarence Leachman. In the end, her goal is to make a living doing what she loves, being up on the stage making the many characters she portrays come to life.

“If I can just act and not worry, how am I going to pay the rent, that would be amazing,” Petrelli said.