Hollins Earns Commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Hollins Earns Commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Accolades and Awards, Playwriting

January 10, 2024

Hollins Earns Commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival KCACTF Region IV

Hollins University has received commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) National Awards Committee for “Distinguished Achievement in Support of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins.”

“The commendation reflects the financial and travel support Hollins provides for students and faculty to participate each year in the KCACTF Region IV Festival,” explains Playwright’s Lab Director Todd Ristau. “Hollins has seen a remarkable level of participation at the festival and a consistent level of success across many award categories.”

The festival annually showcases work from student theatre artists representing colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia.

The Playwright’s Lab is presently preparing for the 2024 festival, which will be held February 6 – 10 in Albany, Georgia. “Hollins routinely dominates the various award categories in New Play Development and this year is no exception,” Ristau notes.

Chrysalis by M.F.A. student Gwyneth Strope is among the plays invited to be staged in Albany. Last year the play received the KCACTF Region IV’s David Shelton Award, honoring a full-length, student-written play. “This production is currently part of our 2024 Hollins-Mill Mountain Theatre Winter Festival of New Works,” Ristau says. “Winter Festival includes a mix of graduate students, undergraduate interns, and actors from the local community as well as artistic contributions from departmental faculty and visiting professional designers.”

In addition, M.F.A. student Kolin Lawler’s play, Astroturf, has been invited to Region IV Ten Minute Play Festival, and one-act plays by M.A. student Chloe Riederich and M.F.A. student J. Harvey Stone, Bumble’s Big Adventure and The Greenhouse, respectively, are two of the three regional finalists for the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play.

“So, we will have a large contingent of graduate and undergraduate students representing Hollins at KCACTF again this year,” Ristau says.

A national theater program, KCACTF brings together 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the United States. The program’s goals include:

  • Encouraging, recognizing, and celebrating the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs.
  • Providing opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight and achieve professionalism.
  • Improving the quality of college and university theater throughout the country.
  • Encouraging colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students; the classics, revitalized or newly conceived; and experimental works.

Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatregoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide.