UVU students and faculty traveled to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. to receive an honor award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. UVU made history this year by being the first university in the country to win back-to-back top honors at the national competition.
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a large program that began in 1969 and includes 18,000 students from colleges and universities across the nation. A goal of the program is to contribute to improving college theater across the country.
UVU competes in the KCACT festival every year. This year, UVU became the first university to win Outstanding Honor awards two years in a row at the KCACT Festival. The Outstanding Honors are the highest awards given at the KCACT Festival.
“We choose one show out of our season to “nominate” for the awards,” said Christopher Clark, theatre department chair. “There is also a week long regional festival in Los Angeles that we typically take 50-60 students to in February, and a national festival in Washington DC that the students go to if they win awards on the regional festival.”
Last year, UVU earned the Outstanding Production of a Play award for their performance of “Vincent of Brixton,” directed by Clark. At this year’s festival, UVU won a number of awards including Outstanding Production of a Musical for its performance of “Next to Normal,” a musical about a mother struggling with the familial effects her bipolar disorder is causing.
David Tinney, artist-in-residence at UVU, directed the musical and received Outstanding Director of a Musical at this year’s festival as well. UVU students Michael Grey and Jacquelyne Jones received individual awards for Outstanding Light Design and Outstanding Performance by an Actress.
“I think our students are incredibly hardworking and talented,” said Clark. “They really care about doing their best work – even if the work challenges them or pushes them out of their comfort zone. They aren’t afraid to tackle big challenges and do difficult work. I love that about them. And the faculty reflect this, too. They expect a lot from our students, and they get it. We’re just a department that cares about doing our best and doing increasingly better work year after year.”
UVU Faculty member Rob Moffat was awarded with Distinguished Achievement in music direction, while UVU’s Theatre Department collectively were awarded Outstanding Performance and Production Ensembles at the 46th KCACT Festival awards.
“Usually our productions are in rehearsals between 6-8 weeks before performance,” said Clark. “Next to Normal and Vincent in Brixton are no different. We’re talking about rehearsals every night of the week from 2-4 hours, and half days on Saturdays. It’s a lot of prep and rehearsal, and there’s no pay, obviously. But it’s worth it!