Production Responses and Responsibilities

Respondent Responsibilities

Before Response

  1. As soon as you receive confirmation of an assigned response, contact the director:
    • Alert him/her of the date of your attendance and response. If you have some flexibility with dates, ask which date works best. Some shows sell out quickly.
    • You may also ask for an extra ticket if you want to take someone with you.
    • Ask for directions to the theatre and information about where to park.
    • Double-check curtain time. Sometimes there’s a change from the entry form listing.
    • Exchange cell phone numbers with the director to provide contact in case of emergency.
    • Be sure to inform the director about eligibility requirements for Irene Ryan nominees:6 semester hours for under-graduates and 3 for graduates.
    • You may also need e-mail addresses for stage managers or student directors for the report form
  2. Be prepared academically, mentally, and physically for the response. Read or peruse the play and background information ahead of time. You may request a draft of a new play.

The Day of the Response

  1. Arrive in plenty of time for the production.
  2. Upon arrival, check in at the box office. Identify yourself as the KCACTF respondent.
  3. The stage manager or director will tell you where and when the response will take place. You may be asked to wait for actors to get out of costume.
  4. Check that the KCACTF logo and statement appear on the program. This is required inthe program for every show that the school enters.

During the Show

  1. Be professional during the performance. Do not make comments or draw attention to yourself with excessive note-taking, by using a lighted pen, or employing a computer to take your notes. (It has happened.)
  2. Be sure to note the time for the start and finish of the show and the length of intermission. You will need the running time when you write your report.

During the Response

  1. Feel free to begin informal interactions with students as they enter the space. Select words and behavior that promote an atmosphere of receptiveness and mutual respect.
  2. Briefly introduce yourself—there’s no need to impress the group with your experience or credentials.
  3. Be sure to talk about the mission of KCACTF to celebrate student work and to offer challenges for further growth. Also talk briefly about the Festival. Share the handout “Student Opportunities at Festival.
  4. Review this important policy with the whole group: when a school enters one show during the year,
    • Any playwright at the school may enter 2 ten-minute, 2 one-act, and 2 full-lengthplays in the Michael Kanin categories they fit.
    • Any student designer of any show may enter designs at Festival after filling out anIntent to Participate Form available on the regional website.
  5. Let students know their efforts were worthy of our attention. Students should leave theresponse feeling that their hard work has paid off.
  6. Let the performance team know that we as respondents do not have all the answers. Weare one set of eyes coming in from outside. Advise students not to make any changes without consulting the director, who always has the final say.
  7. Avoid using the words “but” or “however.” These words call attention to the latter partand negate the former part of the sentence. Also avoid “what I wanted to see…,” as that phrase moves the response into a director’s note. And our job is not to re-direct.
  8. Respond to all elements of the production, including design. Always try to use the“three-positive-points-to-one-challenge” model for all elements of your response. If you need assistance in responding to design elements, refer to the “Response to Design Elements” document in the “Online Information” for respondents.

After the Response

  1. Speak to the director in private about:
    • Irene Ryan Nominations— a total of two for Associate entries, three for Participating.
    • Meritorious Achievement Awards. This is for people who go above and beyond in the collaborative process who don’t have a dedicated category available for further opportunity at the festival. Examples might include publicity, graphic design/poster art, house management, kid-wrangler, choreography, non-student guest actor, playbill design, musician, etc.  Please do not offer blanket or overall Meritorious Achievement awards for ensemble.  Generally there are no more than two per show, but you can send additional Meritorious Achievement Awards to the Regional Chair. Students eligible for other opportunities at the festival including performance, design, technology, stage management, dramaturgy, arts leadership, devised, directing, theatre journalism/advocacy and playwriting should not be given Meritorious Achievement Awards.
    • Stage Managers may now self-nominate like other students in the DTM areas.  Please see for more details about how to apply.
    • If the production features student directors, you will also need their e-mail addresses.
    • Consult with the director if you feel a particular scene might be a strong Festival“Invited Scenes” entry. In the report, describe and evaluate the scene, and report the director’s willingness to bring the scene if it is selected. Please include the director’s cell phone number.
  2. If you are asked to write a letter of support for any person or theatre program on the basis of this response, we recommend that you respectfully decline. If you do write a letter, you must clearly understand that you do not represent the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. You are responsible for any legal ramifications.
  3. Please submit your on-line report within 3-4 days of seeing the performance. You will find the “Response Report” form at under the “Respondents” button near the top right of the home page. Schools are anxious to receive their Irene Ryan Nominations, and that happens only after your submit your report.Please note that there is a box in the Response Form that reads, “Please provide feedback regarding the production and response session here.” Please write a brief description of the production approach and a summary of positive elements, as well as the challenges you shared in the verbal response with the production team. These reports are read and help in the final selection process of shows invited to Festival.


    • Fill out a complete date, with month, day, and year.
    • Enter the correct circuit number from the drop-down box.
    • Fill in the complete school name from the drop-down box.
    • Please do not use ALL CAPS when filling out your report.
  4. If you have driven 100 miles (one way) to the response, you may receive overnight accommodations, if you get pre-authorization from the regional chair. Make the circuit coordinator aware of your need when you accept the assignment. You may donate your mileage and receive credit on your personal taxes as a related work expense, or receive reimbursement. To receive reimbursement, go to, click on the “Respondents” button, and then on “Expense Report.”

Response Structures

  • 5 minutes Introduction – Thank them for inviting you to respond.
  • Give them background information about KCACTF – Inform them about Regional Festival.
  • 1-2 minutes Lead Line (“Hook”)
  • 2-3 minutes Explain how your response is structured
  • 15 minutes Overall General Response
  • 30 minutes Cast/Crew/Production Personnel
  • 5 minutes Conclusion – Thank them for allowing you to see the show