Lincoln, Nebraska is especially dramatic this week. Students in theatre programs from Minnesota to Missouri are all gathered here, both competing against and working with one another to celebrate their hard work over the past year.
This week is known as KCACTF, which stands for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. For theatre students from Winona, like myself, this week is the perfect opportunity to network, experience new things, and share a common love of theatre with anyone clutching a headshot.
The Region Five Festival, which includes Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa, is the largest KCACTF festival in the United States.
It happens every year and changes location every two, meaning this is our second and final opportunity to purchase a cornhead hat. One of the biggest festival events is the Irene Ryan scholarship competition, which sends two regional champions to compete at the Kennedy Center in New York.
Auditions are also popular, especially for students looking for summer or post-graduate work, and a variety of different workshops also keep students busy. Some of the most notable workshop titles from the festival include “Beginning Foil Fencing,” “Physical Theatre Explosion,” and “Shakespeare Made Sexy” parts one and two.
Even though I had no idea what most of those workshop titles mean, that was part of the experience of KCACTF. Every student experienced something unfamiliar. Sometimes, that simply meant leaving home, or bonding with people in your department.
Other times, it meant making a friend from Wichita, Kansas or walking into a room of foil fencers armed with Reynold’s Wrap. Whatever the experience, there is always something new and exciting that reminds theatre students just how wonderful their art truly is.