IUP Theater and Dance to Host Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Posted on 1/11/2018 12:42:06 PM

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.