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Aspire Arts Leadership Program

The ASPIRE Program will be a unified event for 2023, to be held in late February and early March. Stay tuned for more information. Workshops will be held at the Region 8 Festival, in place of this event. 

Aspire Arts Leadership Program Coordinators:

Maria Amon
California State University San Marcos

Roman Sanchez, California Arts Council / Teatro Espejo

Design, Technology, and Management

The Design and Technology Exhibition gives outstanding student designers the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Regional Festival, as well as the chance to attend the KCACTF National Festival or the USITT Conference. Throughout Festival, the designs will be critiqued by theatre professionals on the basis of quality, effectiveness, originality, and rendering techniques.

Design, Technology, and Management Chair:

Maile Speetjens
University of Hawaii, Manoa


Devised Performance

The KCACTF focus on Devised Performance gives space, voice, recognition, and credibility to processes and productions which are created outside the text-based traditions, and which utilize the non-traditional, non-linear, multi-disciplinary and collective tools of devising. As we develop our craft new perspectives and processes of creating good performance emerge. It is necessary for the health and life of performance to acknowledge and embrace non-traditional ways of perceiving and creating. In Region 8, students can be involved in creating devised performance in two ways: bringing works created at their institutions or being involved with Guest Artists at the festival.

Devised Performance Program Coordinator:

bree valle
Cuesta College


Welcome to the Region 8 Student Directing Programs. In the spirit of encouraging the next generation of stage directors, we have expanded the opportunities for those interested in pursuing directing at the Festival. For the SDC Student Directing Initiative, we are looking for experienced directors who will bring a scene from their home institution for presentation at the Festival. Finally, we will be presenting a range of workshops with directing professionals to expand directorial education.

Directing Program Coordinator:

David Seitz
Glendale Community College


The LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award recognizes student dramaturgs’ contributions to theatre production and educational projects in dramaturgy at their colleges and universities. It comes through collaboration between Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), with additional support from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).

Fellowship Opportunities: Regional Fellowship recipients will receive membership in LMDA, an all-expense-paid residency at the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in mid-April, and multi-day workshops with leading artists in both production and new-play dramaturgy. The recipients of the National LMDA/KCACTF Fellowships receive residencies with the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, or the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network’s MFA Playwrights’ Workshop in the summer.

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate student dramaturgs on a production or workshop, or who submit work created for a dramaturgy class. Students need not be enrolled full-time to submit work for consideration for this award. Projects must be completed (plays closed, workshops completed, projects turned in) by December 1 to be eligible. Projects completed after December 1 may be submitted for this award the following year.

Due to the smaller overall pool of students who are participating in these areas, all eight regional award recipients in each area will now be considered by a national panel of leading artists in the field, and the top four candidates in each area will be selected to attend the national festival.

Dramaturgy Coordinator: (send email for Intent to Participate information)

Shelley Graham
Brigham Young University

Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy

The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy offers a scholarship for an outstanding student critic to work with professional theatre critics and arts writers at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut, each summer. At all eight KCACTF Regional Festivals, nominated student critics write critiques of plays performed at the festival. One finalist is selected from each region to compete at the national level. The national winner attends the Eugene O’Neill Center during the national writing conference in July, working with leading professional newspaper, magazine, and new-media critics from across the United States. All expenses will be paid.

During our regional festival, student critics learn from peers and professional critics. They attend shows and write critiques in traditional and new media, and critique their critiques together in a seminar setting.

Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy Coordinator:

(send email for Intent to Participate information)

Arnab Banjeri
Loyola Marymount University

 InterAct Auditions and Interviews 

Student participants in the InterAct Program must complete the Festival Registration and pay both fees (Festival Registration and InterAct Registration) in order to be eligible for the auditions and interviews.

InterAct Audition and Interview Program Coordinators:

Matt Schleicher
Rio Hondo College

Ryan Scrimger

Jeffery Ingman

Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions

Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, California, has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan, who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty ‘Granny Clampett’ in The Beverly Hillbillies. All student actors in both Participating and Associate productions are eligible for consideration for the $500 regional scholarships

The Irene Ryan Scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The Irene Ryan Foundation awards 8 regional awards and two national scholarships annually. There are two scholarships of $3,500 each for the winners at the national festival in Washington, D.C.

Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions Co-Directors

Shaheen Vaaz
Pierce College

Vanessa Mizzone Pellegrini
East Los Angeles College


Musical Theatre Initiative & Cabaret

Region 8 is thrilled to offer the Musical Theatre Initiative and Cabaret at Festival 55 in Las Vegas, Nevada!

The goal of the Initiative and Cabaret is to celebrate and recognize outstanding musical theatre students within Region 8 and offer educational opportunities for working with musical theatre professionals. Selected performers will participate in a cabaret performance to be held at the end of the week at the awards ceremony.

National Stage Management Fellowship

Participation in the Stage Management Fellowship provides students with a wonderful way to engage with and learn from active industry professionals, showcase their talents, receive personalized feedback to assist in their continued development, and interact with and learn from other young stage managers. The fellowship is intended to give you additional tools to refine your skills as a stage manager while also expanding your network and helping to create lasting connections.

Finalists for the Stage Management Fellowship are selected from throughout the region and will receive an invitation to participate in the Region 8 Fellowship. Based on participation in the regional festival, one regional participant will be awarded a fellowship to attend the national festival and participate at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Stage Management Coordinator:

Amber Bielinski
University of Utah

National Playwriting Program

National Playwriting Program’s Mission Statement

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival National Playwriting Program is dedicated to supporting student playwrights in the development of their original work for the stage, with dramaturgical and performance opportunities that emphasize respect of the written word and for the playwright’s contribution to the theatrical process.

National Playwriting Program Chair:

Carol Damgen
California State University California, San Bernardino

National Playwriting Program Vice Chair:

Miguel Torres Cruz
California State University, Fullerton



Proposals must be submitted by January 26th for priority processing. We are seeking workshops in all areas: Performance, Directing, Design, Theatre Technology, Make-up, Devised Theatre…and more. If you have any questions, contact:


Workshop Coordinator: (email workshop proposals to)

Amanda Crabb
Utah Valley University