The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

According to their mission statement The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a conference designed to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs. It “provides opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight; and achieve professionalism”.

One opportunity that the festival offers is entrance into the Design and Technology Expo. Participants create a display to showcase the work they did on a theatrical production during the pervious year. The display hangs all week and the festival goers are free to walk through and observe. All of the participants have a session with a professional theatre practitioner. During this session the student present their work and then receive feedback.

I entered my lighting design from Festival of Short Plays 2013: Thornton Wilder. The lighting research and design for Festival of Short Plays 2013: Thornton Wilder encompassed experimentation with lighting techniques, color theory, textual analysis and how they affect the interpretation and atmosphere for six of Thornton Wilder’s plays. The design then was then transformed from a theoretic artistic concept a fully realized production.

I was responded to by William Kenyon the head of the Design & Technology Program at Penn State and Steve Shelley a freelance lighting designer and author of A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting. They responded positively to my work and gave me advice on how to improve my drafting skills and better document my process. I earned 1st place in the Regional Lighting Design category for region five, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

~Shannon Barondeau

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