by Abby

ISU Experiences: KCACTF Region 5 Festival

Last month, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival with ISU Theatre. This annual week-long conference is filled with workshops, performances, and celebrations of all aspects of the performing arts across the Midwest. This year, the conference was held in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

One of the groovy things about this conference is that you don’t have to be a performing arts major to attend. If you’re involved with ISU Theatre and want to learn and network with other artists across the region, then this is a really unique interdisciplinary opportunity to do so.

Here are some of my highlights from the week:

Learning from professionals across the region. There were workshops ranging from audition psychology, to community engagement, to fighting creative block.

Watching invited performances from schools across the region. Iowa State’s Iphigenia was one of these! Getting to watch a new audience experience this production and react so positively was fantastic.

Exploring downtown Sioux Falls. I got to reconnect with friends from Minnesota in the local diner, get homework done in cute hipster coffee shops, and explore whimsical local art supply stores. There were plenty of unique restaurants to try and cold brew coffees to be had within walking distance of our hotel!

Nitro Coldbrew Coffee at Coffea Roasterie

Making new friends from across the region… by being stuck in an elevator for an hour. A group of us were in one of the hotel elevators for a short delay and, being that this was a theater conference, proceeded to play theater games for the duration of the adventure. Afterwards, we got diner at the hotel and witnessed a fantastic puppet show from one of the overlooking hotel room windows.

The elevator crew <3

Trying the fanciest Tiramisu I’ve ever witnessed thus far in my life. Seriously, just look at this- and all of the little decorations were edible!

Crafted by CH P√Ętisserie

Wandering the Design Expo that was up for the week. There were so many cool concepts- from lighting, to costumes, to sound design- that I went back several times.

Participating in the ASPIRE Arts Leadership Intensive. This was a day-long workshop about being a leader in the arts and theater company management planning all with an equity, diversity, and inclusion emphasis. To prepare for the workshop, each of us participants created a portfolio proposing our company which we then discussed in-depth all afternoon. This was seriously such an incredible and helpful experience and I would highly recommend looking into applying for next year! (Talk to Brad Dell if you have any questions).

Celebrating at the awards ceremonies where Iphigenia, Brad Dell, and Joi Wright from Iowa State were recognized! The love and support in that theater were absolutely infectious. The full list of awards and recognition for ISU Theatre can be found here!

What a week. I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this festival with such a wonderful group. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in attending during your Iowa State adventure, please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information!

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