Twenty five students and five faculty and staff from the Simpson Theatre Department will be traveling to Lawrence, Kansas to take part in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) next week.
KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another’s work and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists while taking part in the festival opportunities.
According to the festival’s mission statement, the emphasis of the week is to encourage, recognize and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs while providing opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight and achieve professionalism.
The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing and design.
“I love being surrounded by people who love theater like I do,” senior Chelsea Donison said. “As a senior this will be my fourth and last year attending the theatre festival, where I hope to learn more about myself and what I want to do in the future.”
Donison is looking forward to watching performances while exhibiting her passion for acting and theater.
At the festival, students will attend workshops, listen to others perform and act in an Irene Ryan Scholarship audition.
The scholarship recognizes talented acting students and provides financial assistance to those who wish to further their education in theater.
Eight students from Simpson have received Irene Ryan nominations which in turn allow them to participate in the competition. The award is named after actress Irene Ryan who played Daisy “Granny” Moses on the original 1960s hit TV show The Beverly Hillbillies.
The competition allows the student to perform with a scene partner of their choice in order to exhibit themselves as expressive vocal and physical instruments, show their understanding of the text and reveal their ability to demonstrate range and contrast.
“The Simpson students that are attending this year’s festival will be participating in acting, directing, and technical design competitions,” Ann Woldt, assistant professor of theater and education outreach coordinator, said. “They will also have a chance to audition and interview for Summer Stock employment.”
Woldt said this is a great opportunity for students to make invaluable contacts that will help them throughout their lives as theater professionals.
Simpson students find work each summer based on their Summer Stock employment auditions and interviews that go on during the Theatre Festival week.
Several theater companies will be in attendance to find performers for their summer collections. It is an opportunity for students who are looking for summer work, an internship or even a year-round position for their future.
Sophomore Tiffany Flory, who participated in Summer Stock last summer, said the experience gave her a chance to interact and learn from fellow actors.
“I got the chance to do an acting internship with a theater company in Alexandria, Minn. after auditioning for Summer Stock at last year’s festival,” Flory said. “It was a great opportunity for me to continue acting and get a chance to meet and work with many remarkable people.”
Flory also mentioned that she is looking forward to the atmosphere and celebrating the art of theater. For Flory, this was is a great way to see other schools’ productions and get the chance to learn from well-respected actors.
Outside of performing, there are many other areas to participate in for those interested in design and technology, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy or simply attending the festival to take everything in.
Such events that take place are the Design and Technologies Exhibition, the David Thayer Lighting Competition, Stage Management, Costume Parade and the Stage Crew Showdown.
All of the competitions, auditions and shows give students from around the area an opportunity to display their talents and enthusiasm while expressing their love for all aspects of the theater.