KCACTF in the Year Ahead (2011-2012)

Hello, Region IV!

I hope you’ve had a relaxing and enjoyable summer thus far. I am forwarding you an important letter from Gregg Henry, Artistic Director of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Please make sure you read it carefully. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If I don’t know the answer I will certainly find someone who does.

Please know too that Region IV is in fine shape financially and that we are working to make Festival 44 in Daytona Beach an exciting one for you. Gregg Henry’s message is below.

Take care,

Shelly Elman
Professor of Theatre
Chair, Region IV, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival
University of West Georgia
Martha Munro Building, Room 207C
Carrollton, GA 30117
678.839.4704 (Office)
678.839.4708 (Fax)

Read below or download the letter in PDF format here.

From: Henry, Gregg [mailto:GHenry@Kennedy-Center.org]
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2011 9:02 AM
Subject: KCACTF in the Year Ahead

Dear Colleagues-

The federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was severely reduced this year. Instead of receiving the anticipated $16 million in directed funding for July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012, the Kennedy Center will be allowed to submit one grant application for $7 million. With the loss of at least $9 million in federal funds, the Kennedy Center and VSA has strategically realigned programs and staffing. Thirty-six positions in the Kennedy Center Education Department and VSA were eliminated effective July 15, 2011.

In this context, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has had $325,000 cut from its operating budget in the coming year. This represents approximately 30% of the operating budget.

After multiple conference calls discussing the program’s priorities in the year ahead, the KCACTF Executive and National committees, have determined to proceed with changes that provide maximum benefit for the most students with an eye towards making a minimal impact on individual awards, fellowships and professional development opportunities for your students in all of the disciplines.

Some important things to keep in mind as you read about the upcoming changes detailed below:

1) Programming at our Eight Regional Festivals will remain largely unchanged. Thousands more students have their KCACTF experience each year at Regional Festivals than at the DC Festival, so we have worked to preserve this experience as best we can despite these budget cuts.

2) We have realistic hopes that these budget cuts and resulting changes in the festival will be temporary. Restoration of next year’s [FY 2013] budget is underway in the upper administration of the Kennedy Center.

Production Registration Fees

Entry fees for participating and associate entries will not change. “Early Bird” registration specials will remain in effect for productions registered prior to October 1st.

Productions and Participating Entries
The major change in the upcoming year is that full productions will not be invited to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in April 2012. Instead, those productions invited to the regional festivals will be eligible for national recognition and acclaim with awards for:

[a preliminary list]
Outstanding Production of a Play, a Musical, a Classic, a New Play

Outstanding Devised Work

Outstanding Scenic, Costume, Lighting and Sound Design

Outstanding Choreography

Outstanding Direction of a Play, of a Musical

Outstanding Performances by an Actress and Actor in Leading and Supporting Roles
And Others [or fewer] as circumstances warrant

The selection process for this one year change in the method of recognizing excellence will be codified at the KCACTF National Committee meeting in August. Individual awardees, and a representative of the production awards, will be invited to an award presentation at the Kennedy Center National Festival in April 2012.

Design Programming
All existing Design/Technologies/Management awards, fellowships and residencies will continue in the upcoming year without reductions.

A new award will replace the existing Alcone Award for Makeup Design Excellence, expanding the award category to include other affiliated technologies and crafts. These regional award recipients will receive an expense-paid residency with USITT instead of the National Festival at the Kennedy Center.

The Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards
All of the National Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards and residencies with the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, Sundance Theatre Lab, and others, will continue in the upcoming year. Each full-length playwriting award will be reduced to $1000 [$500 for runners-up], the KCACTF Ten-Minute Play Award and John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play will be reduced to $500.

Performance Awards and the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships
All of the performance awards, Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships and residencies will continue in the coming year, with the exception of the Sundance Theatre Lab Acting Fellowship, which will be suspended in the upcoming award season.

Dramaturgy and Critics Institute
All programming, recognition and award residencies will continue.

The National Teaching Artist Grants and Faculty Fellowships
In order to preserve student scholarships, residences and awards, the seven National Teaching Artist Grants and the eight National Festival Faculty Fellowships will be suspended in the coming year.

The Summer Intensives
Both Summer Intensive programs, in Playwriting and Designer/Director Collaboration [led by Ming Cho Lee], will be suspended in Summer 2012.

If you have questions about these adjustments, please contact your Regional Chair after August 10, at the conclusion of the KCACTF National Committee Meetings.

KCACTF is a vital national organization that exists to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. Student opportunities lie at the heart of everything KCACTF does. By taking these difficult steps, we believe that the goals of the organization remain intact – both in the short and long terms – for generations of theatre artists yet to come.

As Darrell Ayers, Kennedy Center Vice President for Education wrote in a message to the KCACTF National Committee: “We will have to work differently to accomplish our mutual goals. With every great challenge, comes great opportunity… in this environment our work becomes even more important.”

With Best Wishes,

The KCACTF National Committee
Susan Shaffer and Gregg Henry, at the KCACTF National Office