Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of College Theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents. Region I of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has traditionally involved institutions from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, but now includes Eastern New York. The festival is an exciting time for student technicians and designers. Last year there were sessions that explored state of the art lighting of technology, career opportunities in technical theatre, the use of color, and tips for creating the ideal portfolio. Some of the many other sessions had topics such as how to get into grad school, lighting design techniques and tools, and an introduction to free software.
A major element of this annual festival is the Design & Technologies Exhibition which provides opportunities for students to share work from all areas of theater; some realized projects and some ‘paper’ projects. Design displays are presented at the festival to a panel of respondents who are professional not affiliated with the region. Design awards in Region I are given at both the national and regional levels. At the national level, one student from each design discipline is invited to bring their exhibit to the National Festival in Washington, DC in the spring.
The region’s festival this year is held at University of New Hampshire, from Tuesday 1/26 to Saturday 1/30/10. The design students participating these year include: Megan Kinneen for Set Design (Illyria), Sydney Robinson for Costumes (6 Characters), Tracy Wertheimer for Lighting (Esperanza Rising) and Brendan Doyle for Sound (Esperanza Rising). The students were recommended by the KCACTF Respondents that attended our shows and vetted by the Design-Tech Faculty. This year Design Faculty Rafael Jaen will serve as Co-Chair for Design, Technology and Management. Stage Management Faculty Debra Acquavella will serve as Stage Manager Coordinator and Workshop Leader.
Below, Tracy Wertheimer’s display boards: