Theatre: CSU to Host Prestigious KCACTF Regional Conference

2012 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Promotional Poster

Colorado State University will host the 2012 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region VII conference held Feb. 13 – 17, 2012. CSU’s theatre program has commanded major awards at the Region VII festival for four consecutive years, and has gone on to the national competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for the past three years.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national theater program, with over 18,000 participants annually, and according to the organization’s website, “[KCACTF] has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theatre in the United States.”

The Region VII conference is comprised of nine western states including Alaska, northern Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., northern Nev., Ore., Wash. and Wyo. Students from schools in these states will convene to participate in workshops; attend symposia and colloquies and professional presentation; and work with resident artists. Additionally, they will participate in performance competitions where winners advance to the KCACTF final in Washington, D.C.

In December 2011, productions in each region were adjudicated for selection to compete in the regional festivals. CSU’s new work The Kafka Project, created by Walt Jones and the Company, was selected to compete in February’s conference.

Over 1,400 theatre students will occupy CSU’s University Center for the Arts (UCA) from Feb. 13 – 17. The UCA is a new state-of-the-art facility, completed in 2008, containing five premiere performance venues along with rehearsal and production spaces that make it an ideal location for festival. Additional workshops and symposia take place at the Hilton Fort Collins, which is the official host hotel for the conference.

“Hosting the regional festival this year is a great honor,” says Walt Jones, director of the Division of Theatre and Dance at CSU. “It gives us prominent status among this region’s theatre programs; along with our awards on regional and national levels over the past few years, we are really making our mark.”

Ten years ago, hosting this type of event would have been inconceivable, with separate departments of music, theatre and dance scattered in academic buildings across campus. But CSU’s commitment to investing in the arts through the UCA facility has brought together some of the best faculty, students and resources, creating a new hallmark for arts at CSU, and in the region.

Not only is the UCA a one-of-a-kind facility, but bringing together these departments and resources allows unprecedented collaboration, such as theatre students working with opera productions and dance concerts along with the scenic and costume shops, which are solely dedicated to CSU productions. This unique type of “cross training” fosters an environment that creates Broadway entry-level artists.

“Our facilities and expertise in production definitely put us way ahead of the curve,” says Jones. “This is the face of CSU theatre.”

Theatre students at CSU couldn’t be more thrilled to host their regional theatre colleagues at the UCA, as well.

“One of the most important aspects of theatre is collaboration,” notes CSU theatre major Chelsea Case, who participated in the festival last year. “The only way theatre can grow is from new ideas and new interpretations of old ones—we are the future of this field and we are creating new innovations right now.”

“It’s a unique opportunity to showcase our facilities and department here at CSU and also our Fort Collins community,” notes theatre major Willa Bograd.

“It’s one of those amazingly rare chances you get to be totally immersed in art,” reflects theatre major Jeff Garland, who also travelled to the KCACTF last year. “The UCA is going to be flooded with young new voices—which is so significant in shaping the future of American theatre—and this year we get to share the experience with our whole CSU family.”

During the festival, professional Canadian horror-clown duo Mump & Smoot will be the keynote presenters. In addition to performing their own shows at the UCA on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 2 p.m., the duo will provide instruction and presentations, encouraging students in reacting to their environment along with exploration in creativity—tools used in their full-length clown courses.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the kind of theatre the next generation of artists is doing and where they take it,” Mump and Smoot agree.

For a full performance and event calendar, more information, and to sign up for a free event e-newsletter, visit