Four Boston College students received honors last month as they represented the university in the Region 1 sectional of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Fitchburg, MA. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a conference that Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, started in 1969. The KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide, which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.
The KCACTF sends respondents to 600 theater programs in academic institutions across the nation to assess students and help select representatives for the KCACTF competitions. Besides adjudication and competition, all KCACTF participants take part in over one hundred educational workshops that assist theater students in developing their skills and preparing them as professionals. Through the state, regional, and national festivals, participants also celebrate the creative process, see one another’s work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. Each year, students earn recognition and win awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.
This year, KCACTF respondents at BC selected Theater major Juliana Forsberg-Lary to represent the university at the regional competition for her portrayal of Beatrice Husdorfer, the domineering and short-tempered single mother in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. At the competition, she and her partner, Robert Scobie, presented scenes from Closer (Patrick Marber) and The Children’s Hour (Lillian Hellman).
Forsberg-Lary was named second runner-up in the Irene Ryan acting competition, which had over two hundred entrants. This third-place finish means that Forsberg-Lary, along with Scobie, is first alternate to represent Region 1 at the national competition in Washington D.C. this spring.
John Delfino (A&S ’12) and Patrick Brazil (CSOM ‘12) also placed in the competition. Delfino took first place in the regional Lighting Design competition for his design of the BC Theatre Department’s production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in January of 2011. Brazil took second place for his recent design on Trestle at the Pope Lick Creek in November of 2011.
Other students who participated in the festival include designers Meghan Crosby (A&S ’12), Sara Komorowski (A&S ’12), Nancy McNamee (A&S ’12), and actors Shannon Debari (A&S ’13) and Zachary Desmond (A&S ’12). Crystal Tiala, Associate Professor of Design in the Theater Department, helped to coach and prepare design students, while Patricia Riggin, a professor in the Theater Department, assisted and trained students in acting.
“It’s incredibly exciting for our students to be awarded for their hard work,” says Tiala, “This annual event has grown significantly over the past decade, bringing in schools from New York to Maine to compete in events such as acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, design, technology, and administration.”