USITT presented one of its highest awards
to KC/ACTF during the Awards Banquet at the 2009 Annual Conference & Stage
Expo. Gregg Henry accepted the accolade on behalf of the organization.
Here are the introductory remarks for the award.
When I returned from Vietnam in 1971, I
worked on two productions at the University of Iowa that were
invited to participate in a fairly new organization called the
American College Theatre Festival. One was a production of Marat/Sade and the other an arena production of Story
Theatre. The festival
was at what is now Webster University. I had never been at such
an event in my life. There were design exhibitions, auditions,
and shows every night. Immediately after each performance, the
critics would take the stage and tell everyone at the production
what they thought was right and what they thought was wrong.
After it was over, we took apart the set and took the show back
Such was my introduction to an organization
that I have been closely aligned with since -- until stepping
down as USITT’s Representative to KCACTF last year.
was founded by Roger L. Stevens in 1969. The earliest National
Festivals were performed in tents on the National Mall. Since
those beginnings, the program has grown into a network of
more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country and
involves 18,000 students yearly. Theatre departments and student
artists showcase their work and are critiqued, both at home,
and at eight regional festivals. The winners attend workshops
with theatre professionals in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere
each year and are awarded scholarships and opportunities that
may launch their careers.
The goals of KCACTF are in harmony
with many of the goals of USITT:
- to encourage, recognize,
and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in
university and college theatre programs;
- to provide opportunities
for participants to develop their theater skills and
insight; and achieve professionalism;
- to improve the quality
of college and university theater in America;
- to encourage
colleges and universities to give distinguished productions
of new plays, especially those written by students; the
classics, revitalized or newly conceived; and experimental
KCACTF has become
the organization where we can go to meet other professionals
outside of technical theatre, management, and design. It
is where the playwrights, the critics, the directors, the actors,
converge, do workshops, and talk into the night.
It has become an essential part of this country’s
It is with great pleasure that I present
highest award, the USITT Award -- given to recognize a lifetime
contribution to the performing arts community -- to the Kennedy
Center American College Theatre program.
The plaque reads:
Kennedy Center American College Theatre
In recognition for the advancement of theatre
over the past forty years and providing a catalyst for quality
theatre involving over 18,000 students throughout the United
States annually. KCACTF has enriched the lives of over 400,000
college and university students through a nationally renowned
festival. We honor your extraordinary commitment to education
and the advancement of the performing arts community.