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The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Rules & Regulations


  • Round One - A maximum of three minutes in the regional preliminary round to present a two-person scene and a monologue.  Only one (1) selection may include singing.
  • Round Two - A maximum of six (6) minutes in the regional final round to perform the preliminary round scene and a contrasting two-person scene (which may or may not incorporate singing) using the same partner for both scenes.
  • Round Three - A maximum of six (6) minutes in the regional final round to present the semi-final round audition scenes plus the monologue or solo musical number from the first round.

Timing of the audition will begin with the first action or word in character following the setup and introduction and will not stop from that point onward. The timekeeper will stop participants when they reach the time limit at each round.

Musical Acting Audition

All musical accompaniments must be live. No recorded accompaniment will be allowed. If a scene in the audition incorporates singing, the scene must be in dialogue or duet with the partner. The accompanist will not count as the partner (unless the accompanist performs as a character in the audition).

Student Status

Only those performers who are bona fide students during the festival year are eligible. For the purpose of these awards, a bona fide student is:

  • An undergraduate student* registered for at least six semester or equivalent quarter hours;
  • A graduate student* registered for at least three semester or equivalent quarter hours;
  • Or a continuing part-time student* enrolled in a regular degree or certificate program.
*Undergraduate, graduate, and continuing part-time students must be matriculating and pursuing a degree at the time of the KCACTF official response. The chair of the theatre department (or their delegate) must verify the candidate and partner's bona fide student status.

Number of Nominees

Each college or university may nominate one student performer from the cast of each of its participating entries and one student performer from the cast of each of its associate entries. KCACTF representatives may nominate two additional performers from the casts of participating entries, and one additional performer from the casts of associate entries.

Partner Limitations

No Irene Ryan nominee may serve as partner for another Irene Ryan nominee. A student may serve as partner for no more than two (2) Irene Ryan Scholarship nominees per festival. All scene partners must have been a bona fide student at the time of the initial KCACTF response or during the term in which the regional festival occurs (confirmed in writing as outlined above). Nominees and their partners need not be students at the same institution.

Composition of Preliminary and Semifinal Rounds

Sixteen nominees shall appear in the final round at regional festivals. If more than sixteen nominees qualify for the regional festival, the regional chair will determine a screening system that will yield sixteen finalists. Whenever possible, the auditions should be combined with oral feedback sessions from judges, an audition workshop, or both.

Final Round Scheduling

The regional screening and final rounds should normally occur prior to the performance of any regional festival production. However, if the regional chair can ensure that final round judges will not have seen any of the finalists in any other capacity, such as productions, workshops or showcases prior to the final round, the final round may be held any time during the regional festival.

Selector Eligibility

Academic professionals affiliated with institutions within the region are not eligible as selectors for any round of the regional festival.

Furniture and Props

Two armless chairs and one table will be provided at each round of the auditions. No other furniture is allowed. If simple hand props are used, the nominee must provide them.

On-site Rehearsal

At the regional festival, a rehearsal shall be scheduled in the performance space before the final round of auditions. Coaches may attend this rehearsal.