Over 1,000 Visitors Expected in Americus Feb. 6th-10th for Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Co-hosted by GSW

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Georgia Southwestern State University the Department of Theater, Communication & Media Arts, and the Rylander Theatre will host the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region IV’s 50th anniversary festival from February 6 - 10, 2018. Over 1,000 students, faculty, guest artists and presenters from colleges and universities in the ten-state region will travel to Americus for the event, along with special guests and dignitaries from across the nation.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival was founded in 1969 and is a national theater program designed to encourage, improve, and celebrate college theater programs. Dozens of workshops, exhibitions and performances will take place during the five-day festival, most of which are juried events to select participants for the national festival at the Kennedy Center in April.

GSW last hosted this festival in 2007. At that time, the University President’s office calculated the economic impact of the event for the Americus area at $750,000.

This year’s festival is expected to have a similar boost to the local economy. The influx of visitors for the festival coincides with the #MyAmericus campaign. Using this hashtag on social media, locals and visitors can help Americus in its bid to be featured on Season 3 of the TV series "Small Business Revolution.” This opportunity could provide the community with $500,000 should Americus be selected as the winner.

The Rylander Theatre’s managing director, Heather Stanley agreed that this event will be beneficial for the local economy.

“From a community aspect, the economic impact of the festival is very impressive,” said Stanley. “These festival attendees are contributing to the local economy - they're staying in our hotels, they're dining in our restaurants, they're buying gas and supplies while they're here, and that has a significant impact over a very short amount of time.”

“We are thrilled to help host KCACTF again and hope wonderful new memories are made while they are here with us,” Stanley said.

GSW’s Jeffrey Green, professor and Chair of Theater Communication & Media Arts, serves as the Immediate Past Chair for KCACTF Region IV and is the local events coordinator for the festival this year.
“Americus is a great town for conferences of this size,” Green said. “This will be the fifth one [our department] has secured for the campus and community.”

GSW has a number of students whose work was selected for inclusion in the festival, based on their work in juried productions on campus during the fall semester. Alexa Whitaker, Jamie Green, Joey Hamilton, Robert Ladimer and Seth Zarandona were all selected to present in the Irene Ryan scene showcase auditions. Their partners will be Bri-Anna McDonald, Raquel Eplin, Olivia King, Hannah Pendergrass and Lily Ingle, respectively.

Mark Culpepper was also selected to present in scenic design, and Di’Jon Dupree was selected in sound design. Kasie Ware and Rachel Holder were both selected for their work in stage management. In addition, Micky Snow, Autumn Banks, Cara White, Jessika Marlow, Jay Daniel and Sofie Glumer, along with many of the previously listed performers, will present in the Devised Theater category. In all, over 60 GSW TCMA majors and Theater Appreciation students will actively participate in the festival.

“Festivals like this serve to heighten the visibility of the campus and community across the multi-state southern region and nationally,” Green added.

For more information about the festival, contact Jeffrey Green at jeff.green@gsw.edu.