Students participate in theatre festival

During the week of Jan. 16, Penny Weiner, associate theatre professor and three theatre students participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Iowa. The goal of the festival is to showcase the talents of theatre students in regions throughout the United States.

According to KCACTF, over 400,000 college theatre students have had the opportunity to participate in the showcase of their work and talent since the festival was first established in 1969. They have also catered to having over 16 million theatregoers for approximately 10,000 festival productions across the nation. The ACTF also recognizes a variety of key goals, including enhancing professionalism, developing greater opportunity and strengthening not only the theatre skill of students, but also their insight into the theatrical world.

Participating students are challenged to participate in 10-minute play festivals, various workshops and other award opportunities. Students are also encouraged to submit their own written plays for this festival in hopes of developing their scripts and improving them throughout the process of constructive critique from the playwriting chair.

Overall, the festival is used to evoke the creative process in every student of theatre, no matter their current level of skill or expertise in the field. The festival also works to encourage the colleges in which the students derive from to use student written and new plays in their own theatre productions.

“It is always a goal to inspire creativity and expose the students to other students with the same passions as theirs but are from other places,” said Weiner.

Among the students who went were Kayla Rodgers, Jimmy Bert and Heather Ives. While Weiner herself worked as a mentor for the students going through the festival, the students were able to compete in many plays and attend workshops.

“The biggest benefit to me was meeting all sorts of people from all over that have a passion for theatre, too,” said Jimmy Bert, sophomore nursing major. “I got to make some friends and hopefully, I made some important business contacts for later on.”

Each year, a group of theatre students from Washburn go out to the American College Theatre Festival in Jan. or Feb. in hopes of gathering opportunities and exploring theatre more in depth. It also offers a national festival for the four to six finalists chosen by a group of three selective judges. The Washburn theatre department will continue in the aspiration of the benefits of this festival in the upcoming years and encourage students interested in theatre to sign up for the next trip to the nationwide festival.