Indiana University of Pennsylvania's production of “Violet Sharp” has been selected for regional competition at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region II.

The competition will be held at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia Jan. 13 to 17.

“This is the sixth time in seven years that an IUP theater production has been selected for this honor,” said Michael Hood, dean of IUP's College of Fine Arts. “This record of performance is unprecedented in this or any other region across the country. Our theater and dance department has great reason to be proud,” he said.

“Violet Sharp” was presented in October by IUP Theater by the Grove. The play is about a 27-year-old domestic servant of Charles Lindbergh's family that is suspected of kidnapping the Lindberghs' infant son. It was directed by Barbara Blackledge.

Blackledge was awarded a Certificate for Meritorious Achievement for her direction of this production, and theater majors Scott Fetterman, of New Tripoli, and Jessica Sabol, from Morrisdale, each earned a Certificate for Meritorious Achievement from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for their work on the production as videographer and dramaturg, respectively.

Dramaturgy is a specialized branch of theater art that involves translating the elements of story to stage. It often involves research, contextualization and creative composition.

Sabol was chosen by the Kennedy Center Festival national selections team in April 2008 as its number-one choice in the dramaturgy category for her work with IUP's “The Beauty Queen of Leeanne,” which was selected for the regional competition in 2007.

About 28 students and faculty from the program will travel to Philadelphia to spend the week representing IUP at the festival.

In order to defray costs for the IUP group attending the festival, there will be a benefit performance of the production Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. in IUP's Performing Arts Center's Waller Hall theater.

Only nine productions throughout the region have been invited to perform in their entirety at the festival. More than 70 productions from colleges and universities around the northeast region were entered in this competition.

Now in its 40th year, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national program promoting quality theater production in colleges and universities.

Region II includes 60 colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

In 2006, IUP was honored by having two productions selected for the Region II Festival: “Pockets” and “Major Demons.” Three IUP students in the past five years have won national honors in the Kennedy Center Festival competition.

In addition, in 2007, Blackledge was selected as a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival National Committee faculty fellowship recipient. As a fellowship recipient, Blackledge attended the national festival in April to mentor student-award recipients and participate in the master classes.