Theatre students network at KCACTF

The theatre department traveled to Texas for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VI 2017.

The festival took place from Mar. 1 to Mar.4. Madison Paulus, a stage manager at the university used this event as an opportunity to network. 

“I think KCACTF is important because it forces us to network and branch out,” said Paulus, a junior business administration major. “Now, theatre professionals know my name and have seen my face. Now, I have contacts in two other states. This festival is important because I learned new and improved ways to do my job. I am now able to introduce new techniques to SLU and train other stage managers with them.”

The four-day event included a variety of workshops for students to attend.

“The thing I liked most about this event was the variety of workshops,” said Paulus. “We had the opportunity to choose whichever ones we wanted. It allowed me to meet an entirely new group of people. So, even though I am a stage manager, I was able to take acting and dancing classes. In the dance class, we learned the opening number to Broadway’s ‘Big Fish’ from the choreographer himself. It was almost surreal.”

Paulus felt she connected even more with her colleagues during the festival.




“The most memorable thing about KCACTF was actually not even at the actual festival,” said Paulus. “It was at the hotel, being able to grow closer with my colleagues. Staying up until 2 a.m., just laughing and learning about each other. It’s one of those things that we will still talk about 40 years from now, and that excites me more than anything I could’ve learned in a workshop.”

Students also had the opportunity to compete for a chance to win an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.

“My experience at KCACTF was very interesting,” said Jordin Jones, a sophomore education major. “I guess one word to explain my experience would be exhilarating. I appreciated everything. I attended festival as an Irene Ryan partner to Judah Fabre. He was a nominee for the Irene Ryan award, and I was his partner for his two scenes that he had to do in addition to his monologue. I was very grateful to have been chosen to be his partner because otherwise, I would not have had this amazing experience to be a part of the competition. Judah and I made it through prelims into semifinals, which is a huge deal, but unfortunately, we did not make it to finals. They take 16 actors and their partners to finals and Judah and I were 17th. 17th in the region isn’t bad, but next year the goal is to make it to finals.”

Jones feels everyone at the festival was passionate about his or her craft.

“What was most memorable about this event was how supportive everyone was,” said Jones. “Even though it was a competition, our competitors were so easy to talk to and make friends with. They would congratulate us and were genuinely happy for those of us who made it through the rounds and vice versa. I think that just shows how passionate everyone was about theatre and about their work that the award part of it was just an added bonus. So, the most memorable thing from this experience was just the passion that was so obviously evident in everyone.”

Jordin feels KCACTF allows students to learn from each other.

I think KCACTF is important because celebrating the arts is important,” said Jordin. “I think it is important for students to mingle amongst other thespians so that we can learn other techniques and so we can start networking, and getting our names out there, especially if wanting to do theatre professionally. I also think it is important that the Festival has something for everyone. There were things for Stage Managing, Costume, Lighting, Props, Directing, Acting, it is just so diverse.”

KCACTF inspired Jordin to work harder through seeing what fellow competitors had to offer and to consistently strive for excellence. 

“The thing that I feel has stuck with me the most is just the desire to want to work,” said Jordin. “After watching our competitors and being in that environment, it made me want to improve and to always remember to not get comfortable or complacent with where I am at, acting wise. I just want to always work harder than my last rehearsal.”