WCSU to host Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
National theater program returns; WestConn production nominated

DANBURY, CONN. — Next week, Western Connecticut State University will, for the second consecutive year, host the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide that has “served as a catalyst for improving the quality of college theater in the United States,” according to its website. During the festival, participants will attend lectures and workshops from industry professionals, and theater departments and student artists will showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

In addition to hosting the festival, WestConn’s Department of Theatre Arts will reprise its fall semester production, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” as a nominated performance for Region 1 festival judges. The musical comedy will be directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Tim Howard.  

After last year’s Region 1 festival, WCSU’s “Parade” won five national awards, including “Outstanding Production of a Musical,” “Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical,” “Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical,” “Best Director of a Musical” and “Outstanding Choreography.” The awards were presented at the National KCACTF held at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The honors represented the largest sweep of awards at the festival by any theatre arts program, and the most ever received by WCSU for a production.

Howard, who won the KCACTF national award for “Best Director of a Musical” last year, also directs this year’s musical comedy entry.

“We are incredibly proud to be selected by KCACTF for the second year in a row,” Howard said. “After the success of last year’s historic and heartrending ‘Parade,’ I really wanted to expose our students and audiences to a completely different style of theatre. We are thrilled the festival has acknowledged our hard work and we can’t wait to share this love letter to musical theatre.” 

An encore public performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone” prior to its staging for the festival judges will be at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. General admission tickets are $25. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/the-drowsy-chaperone-tickets-26782549326 or call (203) 837-8732.

WCSU School of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Brian Vernon said participation in KCACTF is important for the university and its students.

“The experience and connections at KCACTF create life-long memories; it’s multi-faceted,” Vernon said. “Each region brings together an array of professional-level classes, workshops, lectures, performances and more. The atmosphere at KCACTF regional festivals is always electric. Most of the participants attending the festival have undergone some level of adjudication. Participants, then, are surrounded by the best actors, designers, directors, choreographers and more. There is always a layer of mutual respect, curiosity and support. So much is packed into a few days that the impact of the event may take days, weeks, or even months to fully process. Future and current students of theatre will learn, rejuvenate and be inspired.”




Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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