December 8, 2014 | By Jake Weber
Albion College Theatre received its first-ever invitation to compete for a spot in the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). Albion's production of Sean Michael Welch's Thread of the Warp, directed by Mark Hoffland, will have three performances at the 2015 Region III KCACTF competition, January 8-10 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Over a 35-year span, only two Albion shows have ever been performed at Region III, both with honorable mention, non-competing status. Thread of the Warp had its world premiere at Albion College last month, while Welch was a visiting scholar in residence with the department.
"I am thrilled for our students to have their work seen by students, professors, and professional theatre practitioners from the Great Lakes states," said faculty member Amber Cook. "For us, this is proof of the quality of education and training we offer our students. It's a huge testament to their hard work, and a lesson in hard work and dedication and reaping the benefits."
"We were like a little Justice League of talented people who came together for good," said first-year student Tyler Moylan, who plays angst-ridden protagonist Jacob Bloom. Moylan especially credited Hoffland and Welch's guidance "down to details," which strengthened the show.
"It's very exciting to perform now for so many more people," said Moylan, who will also participate in a two-person skit competition at Region III. "I hope this challenge will make me a little better and stronger and wiser."
If Albion is chosen as one of Region III's top productions, the show will travel to Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2015, to the noncompetitive national festival at the Kennedy Center, all expenses paid.
"We take students to this conference every year," added Cook, noting that Region III is the biggest of the Festival's eight regions, often having up to twice as many competitors as any other. "This is a huge honor, competing against schools that might be six times as large as us."
Founded in 1969, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide, honoring excellence through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.