The 50th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater
Festival is underway across the nation, and IUP will host over 1,000
participants from our eight-state region. IUP’s Department of Theater and Dance is
pleased and honored to announce that, on January 16 through 20, participants from over
50 colleges and universities, including IUP, will celebrate the “best of the
best” in Region 2 comprising Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland,
Delaware, New Jersey, and parts of New York and Virginia.
Seven plays selected from 70 participating
productions around the region in the past year will perform in Waller Hall and
Fisher Auditorium. Along with the
productions are a range of activities, competitions, and workshops from morning
to midnight, including a design/technology/management exposition co-curated by
IUP’s professor of costume design and technology, Nancy Pipkin-Hutchinson, who serves as vice-chair of KCACTF Design/Tech/Management.
At last year’s Festival, IUP Theater and Dance was selected
to perform We Are Proud to Present…, and received the honor of a Kennedy Center
national award “for insisting that theatrical production is central to the
urgent community, national, and international conversations on the campuses of
higher education nationwide.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s Festival is Tony Award-winning choreographer and performer Maurice Hines. Hines’ Broadway credits
include Eubie, Bring Back Birdie, Sophisticated Ladies, and Uptown…It’s
Hot! He became the first African-American
director for Radio City Music Hall when he directed the Radio City Spectacular.
A featured event includes an IUP Theater alumna, Caitlin
Antram, now a member of Pig Iron Theatre Company of Philadelphia. Pig Iron will present a day-long workshop on
methods for Devised Theater, a form which IUP has become known for, with research
productions and publications by professors Rick Kemp and Carrie Cole.
Department Chair Brian Jones is pleased with the broad
involvement of Theater and Dance faculty and staff members. Faculty technical director Vince Lobello,
Fisher Auditorium technical director David Surtasky, and staff carpenter Corey
Lunchuck will support technical needs of visiting companies. Professors Rachel
DeSoto-Jackson, Michael Schwartz, Holly Boda-Sutton, and Joan Van Dyke will
provide workshops at the festival as well. The support of the College of Fine Arts, too,
has been essential. Dean Michael Hood,
and Jones’ colleague chairs Nathan Heuer (Art) and Stephanie Caulder (Music)
have graciously shared their resources.
IUP Conference Services, under the direction of Kathy Evanko,
is providing organizational support throughout the campus for this
multi-faceted event. Indiana Tourist
Bureau director Denise Liggett, who will help welcome the Festival at opening
ceremonies, sees this as a big deal for Indiana County, with so many visitors
coming to town for an extended stay during what is characteristically a slow
time in the local economy. The local
hotels are all full, and area restaurants, shopping, and destination locations
can expect to see a boost as well.