Students traveled to Lincoln, Neb. this past week to compete against other college theatre programs, interview with various programs, audition for productions and attend workshops at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).
Three students gained notoriety in competitions. Ethan Newman won second place for national light design, Shannon Barondeau placed for regional light design, and Roxane Langard received a best portfolio designation for her costume designs.
Newman, a senior, stayed busy during his week at KCACTF participating in many of the activities.
“I did professional interviews with professional theater
companies for internships in the summer and long-term. I did an interview with the University of Nebraska for grad school. We presented design boards, too,” he said.
Sophomore Bill Hitt attended the festival for the second time during his Simpson career.
“I participated in summer stock auditions. That’s where you go to a theater over summer and work for them. They will look at the roles they have for next season and get back to you if they want to hire you,” he said.
Hitt also participated in a design expo. “It shows the props you had and the design concept. I brought my board and I had a suitcase out which was a prop for a
show. Judges come around and ask you questions about your design. It’s a really helpful experience to put something together to present to someone else in the professional world,” he said.
Gillian Randall, a sophomore theatre major, also attended the festival.
“This year I saw four stunning productions and went to a few workshops that I really enjoyed. My workshops were mostly focusing on acting and dramaturgy,” she said.
“I think it’s really important because we get outside of our department and see that theater is everywhere. It’s really important to see other shows and see what they are doing. It can be inspiration. It’s nice to see where our theater stands among other theaters,” Hitt said.
Students gain more than just theater experience while at the festival.
“The actual concrete is that you’re interviewing with professionals, making connections and networking, which is a huge part of theater. It’s better to know more people than to be good,” Newman said. “I went to a workshop on if we should go to grad school and I interviewed with Nebraska and I decided I want to go to grad school. I kind of figured out my life plan from this.”
“I went to a workshop that emphasized careers in art administration. That was really helpful to me because I have that connection now,” Hitt said.
Hitt said it is important for students to know KCACTF is open to everyone, not just those in theater.
“There are a variety of things to do and see, as long as you’re interested in art,” he said.