You may find the following information useful to carry with you when responding.  It’s a great reminder of all that we do at the regional festival, and can be given to the director for posting on a callboard!

The Goals of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Are:

  • to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater 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 works.

National Playwrights Program (NPP)

Ten Minute, One-Act and Full Play opportunities available at both the regional and national level.  See website for complete listing of awards.  Multiple opportunities for students and faculty at festival, in the development and presentation of new voices.

Student Directors

  • Student Directing Lab offers director training to young directors
  • Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) Scholarship Competition, for more advanced directors, allows students to bring work and re-work it at festival in consideration for National Recognition.

Stage Managers

Stage Managers are welcome to participate in the design exhibit and/or apply to participate in Stage Management opportunities at festival to be considered for the National Stage Management Competition in DC.

Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy

Open to theatre, journalism and English students, participants write reviews and work with professional theatre critics at the regional festival and one regional winner attends the National Festival.


  • The Student Dramaturge Initiative allows students to work with professional dramaturges and have their work considered for National Festival Presentation.  (1 student per region selected each year).
  • Guerrilla Dramaturgy invites students to apply their dramaturgy skills on-site at festival.

Theatrical Design Excellence

  • All student designers of entered productions (including props, hair, makeup, special crafts, etc.) and stage managers are eligible to enter the design exhibit.
  • National Award nominees are considered in Scenery, Lighting, Costume, Makeup, Sound Design and Stage Management, while regional awards are presented in all areas.
  • Non-participating realized work and classroom projects may also be considered for festival responses and regional awards.

Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions

Two actors from each Associate level show and three from each Participating level production compete for the two regional winning scholarships and the many additional opportunities awarded at the National Festival.

Scholarly Paper Competition

New since 2010, the National Office invites students to submit their scholarly work for national recognition.

Devised Work

The National Festival is interested in devised work in all of its potential forms.  Please keep this in mind as you are viewing productions which vary from the traditional model of theatre.

** Please remind students that many of these events DO NOT require nominations from respondents and they are encouraged to apply!!