The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities across 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. KCACTF is a year-round program in eight geographic regions in the United States.
Every year, the Emerson College Performing Arts Faculty and Staff chooses the best production projects to represent Emerson College at KCACTF competition. The nominated projects go to compete in regional festival, and if they win, in the national competition that takes places in April, in Washington D.C.
LMDA/KCACTF National Student Award is sponsored by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE), and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). The national winners win fellowships to the O’Neill Theatre Festival and the National New Play workshop at the Kennedy Center.
Since the inception of the dramaturgy program at Emerson College in 2008, three Emerson dramaturgy students won the LMDA/KCACTF National Dramaturgy Awards, and six students were runners up or winners in the regional competition.
In 2017, two recent Emerson alumni Kerri Killeen (’16) and Sam Buntich (’16) were winners in two categories for their work on Emerson Stage’s 2016 production of Richard III, directed by Maureen Shea. Killeen and Buntich’s work was honored with the Dramaturgy Program Note Regional Award, as well as the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award (Alternate).
In 2016, Beth Gilchrist won a runner up for the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Regional Award for her work on Theresa Rebeck’s O Beautiful.
In 2015, Emily White won both the Regional LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award and ATHE/KCACTF Program Note Regional Award for her work on Middletown, directed by Sarah Hickler. Read more about Emily’s win at Emerson News.
In 2014, Robin Goldberg won ATHE/KCACTF Program Note Regional Award for the program note she wrote for Big Love.
In 2013, Julianna Fultineer won ATHE/KCACTF Program Note Regional Award and was a runner up for the Regional LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for her work on Tartuffe.
In 2012, Tierra Bonser was awarded the LMDA/KCACTF National Dramaturgy Award and she won the Fellowship to the Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights’ Workshop and New Play Dramaturgy Intensive in association with the National New Play. The Fellowship provided Tierra with a scholarship to spend eight days at the Kennedy Center during summer working as a dramaturg for a festival of new works. Tierra was nominated for this award on behalf of her work on Louis Nowra’s The Golden Age, in the spring of 2011, directed by Benny Sato Ambush. Tierra’s first dramaturgy experience resulted in an annotated script, interactive lobby display, production blog, and diligent research work which helped shape the production as a whole. After her KCACTF Fellowship, Tierra worked for the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida before becaming an intern at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is completing her M.A. in the Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
In 2011, Kelley Holley was the Runner up for the Regional LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for Light Up the Sky, and Gabriel Graetz won the ATHE/KCACTF Regional Dramaturgy Award for Program Notes for The Actor’s Nightmare. After graduating from Emerson, Kelley completed her M.A. in Dramaturgy at the San Diego State University. She currently serves as the Literary Manager at The Science Fiction Theatre Company in Boston. Kelley also worked as dramaturgy for such organizations as The Playwright’s Project and American Repertory Theater.
In 2010, Jessie Baxter won the LMDA/KCACTF National Dramaturgy award for her work on The Incorruptible. Jessie spend her summer as a literary fellow at the Tony Award–winning Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and she was offered and accepted the position of a Core Apprentice dramaturg at The Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis. Since then, Jessica has been a Dramaturgy Associate for the Company One, and she is the Literary Director for FreshInk, a new theatre company in Boston, which she founded.
In 2009, Anne Morgan won the LMDA/KCACTF National Dramaturgy Award for her work on the musical Little Women. After spending a summer at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Anne completed a literary internship at the Huntington Theatre in Boston, where she was eventually hired as the Marketing Associate. After spending three summers in various roles in the Literary Office at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Anne is now the Literary Manager at O’Neill Theatre Institute. In this position she provides dramaturgical support to all of the center’s conferences and assists with the management of the selection processes (about 1,300 applications).
Once the project is nominated for the regional competition, the student needs to put together and submit a portfolio. To learn more about this process, the submission guidelines and deadlines, visit KCACTF Region I website: http://www.kcactf1.org/dramaturgy.html
Most recently, KCACTF started KCACTF Undergraduate Theatre Scholar Awards. To read more about the process for Region 1 awards, go to: http://www.kcactf1.org/scholarly-papers.html
To learn more about the LMDA/KCACTF National Dramaturgy Award, visit their national website: http://kcactf.weebly.com/dramaturgy.html