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The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

KCACTF National Festival 2017

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosts 125 outstanding theater students from colleges and universities across the nation as part of the 49th annual National Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, April 17-22, 2017. From January 3 through March 4, 2017, thousands of student artists from eight regions presented their work and 125 will be selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for an expenses-paid trip to participate in National Festival events taking place at the Kennedy Center.

The National Festival includes short play readings featuring the finalists of the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play and the KCACTF Ten-Minute Play Award; the National Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship auditions; master classes, visits to Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and the opportunity to network with peers from across the nation and the Washington, D.C. theater community. The National Festival closes with the presentation of awards for excellence in production, directing, choreography, acting, writing, design, stage management, dramaturgy, and dramatic criticism.

Events Open to the Public

Ten-Minute Play Readings

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:00 PM 
Theater Lab, Free (a Millennium Stage event)

Approximately 120 student-written Ten-Minute Play submissions are received at
each of the eight KCACTF regional festivals (totaling nearly 1,000 submissions).
A select few from the regional festival are chosen as a national finalist. One
playwright will receive a cash award of $500.

 

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions

Friday, April 21, 2017
Family Theater

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education and professional development. Each year, up to 300 nominees audition at each of the eight regional festivals. Two performers and their scene partners from each region are invited to attend the national festival to audition for the national scholarships. Each of the 16 regional finalists receive a $500 scholarship and week-long, expenses-paid trip to the national festival, where an adjudicating panel made up of artistic directors, actors, producers, and casting agents view the audition presentations of monologues, scenes, and songs. Two $3,000 scholarships will be awarded and scholarship finalists are also eligible for prestigious summer fellowships. The national scholarships and performance awards will be announced at the end of the conclusion of the auditions on Friday, April 21 in the Family Theater.

Additional Events

The John Cauble Short Play Awards Program

This program recognizes outstanding one-act plays. Four finalists have been selected to showcase their work at the national festival at the Kennedy Center. One playwright will be awarded a $500 prize. Awards will be announced at the closing day awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. Concert readings of these plays, featuring distinguished actors from the Washington, D.C. theater community, will be presented throughout the national festival and are by invitation only.

Interested parties should contact KCACTF@kennedy-center.org for schedule and more information.

Master Classes

Regional nominees and award-winners in the categories of performance, directing, playwriting, and dramaturgy, design, dramatic criticism, and stage management take part in master classes with artists from across the nation and the Washington, D.C. theater community.

KCACTF National Festival Dates:

  • 2016 - Week of April 11, 2016
  • 2017 - Week of April 17, 2017
  • 2018 - Week of April 9, 2018
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