By Visiting Assistant Professor Terry Dana Jachimiak
From January 9 to 13, several faculty and students from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts embarked on an exciting journey to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Region III. This festival, widely known as KCACTF, stands as a beacon for emerging talent in the realm of theater arts. It’s a vibrant stage where students get to shine, compete, and nurture their artistic skills on a regional platform.
Behind the scenes, two VPA faculty members, Associate Professor Kent Cyr and Assistant Professor Jeff Sherwood, played integral roles in the festival’s planning and execution. Cyr, with a remarkable six-year stint as the Festival Technical Director, provided invaluable support to numerous college theater productions within the region. His expertise ensured the seamless execution of performances on the festival stages. Sherwood, in his capacity as Co-Vice Chair of Design, Technology, and Management, contributed to the festival’s success by overseeing various technical theater aspects, including the National and Regional Design competitions, Design Storm, and Stage Management Fellowship and Initiative. To add to their contributions, Sherwood, Cyr, Distinguished Professor Christopher Plummer, and Visiting Assistant Professor Terry Dana Jachimiak II led workshops for eager students hailing from Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and parts of Ohio.
For the attending students, this festival was a treasure trove of experiences. They had the opportunity to participate in professional workshops, attend juried shows, network with professionals from all corners of the country, and showcase their own work in various competitions. It was a whirlwind of creativity and camaraderie.
The accolades poured in for our Michigan Tech University students, validating their exceptional talents. Evelina Cremeens earned the Regional Sound Design award for her outstanding work on *Hamlet*. Conner Pierson, collaborating with a talented team from different colleges and universities, clinched an Honorable Mention in the Design Storm category. Sommerdai Kier and Riy Dalman dazzled everyone by winning multiple awards, including the Fastest Sound setup and the coveted Gold Award in Tech Olympics. Tara Estrada’s swift knot-tying skills also earned her a first-place finish in the Fastest Knots section of Tech Olympics.
Christopher Plummer was also recognized at the festival and received the 2024 KCACTF Region III Michigan Faculty Service Award.
The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival showcased the incredible talents of our students and highlighted the dedication and expertise of our faculty members. It was a celebration of creativity, innovation, and the thriving theater community at Michigan Tech.
Tara Estrada presenting Costume Design.
Sommerdai Kier presenting Costume Design.