Emerson Stage

Emerson at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF)

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center's founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide that has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.

The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents. The KCACTF regional festival showcases performances, design exhibits, workshops, and seminars.

In the past, topics have included playwriting, auditioning, voice, movement, stage combat, theater for children, scene painting, scenery construction, makeup effects, and so on. There are sessions for the beginning theater artist and the experienced faculty member. During January and February, a total of eight regional festivals are held throughout the country.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival provides opportunities for students to compete regionally and, if selected, nationally in all areas of theater, including design, acting, production, and playwriting.

Emerson Stage is a proud participate in The KCACTF Region 1, which includes institutions from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Eastern New York.


2011–2012

Six students attended The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region I (KCACTF REG I), which took place at Fitchburg State University, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, from January 24 to 29, 2012. Shanna Allison '13, Alysa Dillon '12, Juliana Gregori '12, Kirk J. Miller '12, and Erik Skovgaard '12 competed in the area of Design, Technologies, and Management and Tierra Bonser '12 competed in the area of Dramaturgy. At the festival, the students were granted the following awards:

  • Shanna Allison, National KCACTF Fellowship for Excellence in Stage Management, Show: She Loves Me
  • Tierra Bonser, LMDA/KCACTF National Award for Excellence in Dramaturgy, Show: The Golden Age
  • Alyssa Dillon, Regional KCACTF Award for Allied Design and Technologies, First Place, Show: Man of La Mancha
  • Alyssa Dillon, USITT New England Tech/Innovation & Craftsmanship, Show: Man of La Mancha. She also received a year membership in the USITT NE Chapter and a voucher for specialty books
  • Juliana Gregori, National KCACTF Award for Excellence in Costume Design, Show: Cloud Nine
  • Kirk Miller, National KCACTF Award For Excellence in Lighting Design, Show: Robin Hood
  • Erik Skovgaard, National KCACTF Award for Excellence in Sound Design, Honorable Mention (2nd Place), Show: The Hallway Plays

Emerson faculty member Debra Acquavella led workshops at the festival. Several Emerson alumni also presented workshops and seminars, and Jared Bowen '98 gave the keynote address.

Three Emerson students: Shanna Allison, Tierra Bonser, and Juliana Gregori attended the National Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival held in Washington DC from April 16-21, 2012 as award recipients from the Regional Festival. Tierra Bonser was invited to return to the Kennedy Center in late July for the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop and New Play Dramaturgy Intensive In association with the National New Play Network.


2010–2011

Eight students participated in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region I (KCACTF REG I), which took place at Fitchburg State University, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, from January 25 to 30, 2011. Jen Bertha, Suzie Calhoun, Tyler Kinney, Erik Skovgaard, Michele Teevan and Liz Zevin competed in the area of Design, Technologies, and Management. Gabriel Graetz and Kelley Holley competed in the area of Dramaturgy. 

Emerson students received the following awards at the Region 1 Festival:

  • The National Barbizon Award for Excellence in Scenic Design went to Tyler Kinney for Bud, Not Buddy. He will go to the National Festival in Washington, D.C. in April 2011.
  • The National Barbizon Award For Excellence in Lighting Design went to Jennifer Bertha for Bud, Not Buddy. She will go to the National Festival in Washington, D.C. in April 2011.
  • The National KCACTF Award for Excellence in Sound Design, Honorable Mention went to Erik Skovgaard, for Bud, Not Buddy.
  • The S*P*A*M* Award for Excellence in Stage Properties went to Elizabeth Zevin, for The Actor's Nightmare.
  • Kelley Holley was the Runner up for the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for Light Up the Sky.
  • Gabriel Graetz received the Dramaturgy ATHE/KCACTF Regional Award for Program Notes for The Actor's Nightmare.

2009–2010

Emerson students received various awards last week at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 1 held at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham. The students who received awards are:

National LMDA/KCACTF Award for Dramaturgy Initiative, First Place

  • Jessica Baxter – Show: Incorruptible, Emerson College
    (This student has been awarded a scholarship to participate at the National Festival, April 12–17, 2010)

National Barbizon Award for Excellence in Costume Design, First Place

  • Sydney Robinson – Show: Six Characters’ in Search of an Author, Emerson College
    (This student has been awarded a scholarship to participate at the National Festival, April 12–17, 2010)

National Barbizon Award For Excellence in Lighting Design, First Place

  • Tracy Wertheimer – Show: Esperanza Rising, Emerson College
    (This student has been awarded a scholarship to participate at the National Festival, April 12–17, 2010)

National KCACTF Award For Excellence in Sound Design, Second Place

  • Brendan Doyle – Show: Esperanza Rising, Emerson College

Regional Merit Certificate for Scenic Design

  • Megan Kinneen - Show: Illyria, Emerson College

Regional Merit Certificate for Props Design

  • Joanna Stenning – Show: Incorruptible, Emerson College

In addition, Debra Acquavella participated as workshop leader and Stage Management interview coordinator.


2008–2009

Emerson Students Shine at KCACTF REG I - 2009

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region I (KCACTF REG I) saw the biggest design expo to this date. This year there were a total of 89 entries, in Design & Technology, Stage Management, and Dramaturgy. Students were evaluated on their professional demeanor, subject matter knowledge, and quality of their visual installation. The Performing Arts of Emerson College was represented in the categories of Design & Technology as well as Dramaturgy. The entries that received awards are as follows:

National Barbizon Award in Costumes

  • Honorary Mention: Jacquie Rachal, Emerson College, Lady Windermere’s Fan

National Barbizon Award in Lighting

  • 1st Place: Anna Clancy, Emerson College, The 100 Dresses
    (Note: Tim Boland made it to the 2nd Response round with his Lighting Design for Lady Windermere’s Fan)

National Alcone Award in Makeup Design

  • 2nd Place Alternate: Emily Damron, Emerson College, Lady Windermere's Fan
  • Honorary Mention: Sydney Robinson, Emerson College, The Hundred Dresses

National KCACTF Award in Dramaturgy

  • 1st Place: Anne Morgan, Emerson College, Show: Little Women

Emerson College Performing Arts Faculty who presented Workshops:

  • Debra A. Acquavella, Co-Head of BFA Stage/Production Management; Emerson Stage Production Manager
  • Magda Romanska, Assistant Professor, Head of Theatre Studies, and Dramaturgy Advisor, Performing Arts; KCACTF Region I Dramaturgy Chair

2007–2008

BFA Seniors Stephanie Cluggish (Design-Tech Costumes) and Kirsten Opstad (Design-Tech Lighting) competed at the KC/ACTF Region I last January and received the prestigious Barbizon Award in Costume and Lighting Design. They were both awarded a full paid scholarship to participate in the Nationals held at the Kennedy Center this past April in Washington DC.

Stephanie Cluggish was awarded the Runner Up for the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Costume Design. She was also one of four students awarded The Kennedy Center Summer Intensive Fellowship Collaborative Process: The Designer/Director Relationship, with Ming Cho Lee and Linda Cho.

Kirsten Opstad received a full paid scholarship to participate in this years Broadway Master Lighting Class Series held during the summer.