Cassandra Hackbart, Sophomore Theatre Major, received the “Outstanding Cold Audition Award” at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s (KCACTF) regional conference in January besting over 130 students from schools from Ohio to NJ.  Her success was and had an instant impact.  Six WLU students (5 Theatre and 1 Music Major) attended the festival to show their talents and receive feedback on their work.  Cassandra Hackbart and Derek Park attended the festival as Irene Ryan Acting Students to vie for a national scholarship in acting.  Their acting partners, Kassidy Wells and Tiffani Atkins, worked hard to support their acting partners’ efforts in the competition.  Spencer Thomas was invited to display his work as the scenic designer for one of the WLU Theatre performances.  All of these students were able to get a lot of positive feedback abut their work as artists in theatre.  Three of the students: Wells, Hackbart, and Jaccob Trifonoff, auditioned to be cast in the New Playwright Project’s workshop.  Over 130 students auditioned for the plays and all three of the WLU students were cast in the productions.

KCACTF started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman.  It 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.

The goals of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival are:

§  To encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs;

§  To provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight; and achieve professionalism;

§  To improve the quality of college and university theater in America;

§  To encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students; the classics, revitalized or newly conceived; and experimental works;

The KCACTF is divided geographically into eight regions, each holding a festival where the students and institutions meet for workshops, responses to artistic works, and many opportunities to extend the knowledge of the theatre majors.  Our region, Region 2, held their annual meeting in Indiana, PA where over 1,200 students gathered to celebrate their achievements and grow as artists.