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National theater program returns for third year; WestConn production nominated: WCSU to host Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

DANBURY, CONN. – For the third consecutive year, Western Connecticut State University will host the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) from Jan. 30 through Feb. 4, 2018.

KCACTF is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide that has “served as a catalyst for improving the quality of college theater in the United States,” according to its website. During the festival, participants will attend lectures and workshops from industry professionals, and theater departments and student artists will showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

In addition to hosting the festival, the WCSU Department of Theatre Arts will reprise its fall semester production, “Evita,” as a nominated performance for Region 1 festival judges. The musical is directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Tim Howard, who won the KCACTF national award for Best Director of a Musical for “Parade” in 2016 and “The Drowsy Chaperone” in 2017.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be selected by KCACTF for the third year in a row,” Howard said. “With this honor comes huge responsibility. We are very proud of the production and especially proud of our wonderful students. On behalf of the entire artistic and design team, we are thrilled to share our production of ‘Evita.’”

An encore public performance of “Evita” prior to its staging for the festival judges will be at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28, in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call (203) 837-8732.

The 14 national KCACTF awards WestConn received in 2016 for “Parade” were unprecedented for any university theatre arts program. The university’s 2017 winner, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” earned 11 national awards from the KCACTF judges and an invitation for director Howard and student Jillian Caillouette to attend the national KCACTF festival in Washington, D.C.

Pam McDaniel, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, said, “It has been our pleasure to host the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival these past three years. Having representatives from across the region and from the Kennedy Center office on our campus has increased the visibility of our program beyond our imagination. The opportunities provided our students and the recognition of the quality of the department’s work have been invaluable. It is with sadness that we see them leave at the end of this year and with gratitude that we welcome them for their final year.”

WCSU School of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Brian Vernon said participation in KCACTF is important for the university and its students.

“The School of Visual and Performing Arts is thrilled to be hosting the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for the third year in a row,” Vernon said. “I know first-hand that the experience and connections that one makes create lifelong memories. So much is packed into a few days that the impact of the event may take days, weeks, or even months to fully process.  Future and current students of theatre will learn, rejuvenate and be inspired.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.