December 22, 2009

Playwrights among those invited to theater festival

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Department of Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will represent the University at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival early next month.

Two plays written by SIUC playwrights are among those invited to the Region III conference set for Jan. 5-9 at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.

The plays are “Box Office,” written by graduate student Steve Ackerman (currently of Carbondale), and “Drowning,” written by graduate student Jeff Nichols (currently of Carbondale). Both were on the bill of “Journeys” in 2009. Journeys is an annual presentation of new plays written by SIUC students. Both plays also feature SIUC actors and directors.

Other SIUC students join the playwrights at the regional competition. They are:

• Racquel McKenzie (Evanston) -- competing for the Irene Ryan Acting Award.

• Ellen Conn (Toledo, Ohio) -- competing in the dramaturgy category with her dramaturgical work in SIUC production of “The Secret Garden.”

• Rachel Goffinet (Hurst) -- competing in the pilot project of New Play Dramaturgy in conjunction with the 10 Minute Play festival. She will work with student actors, directors, stage managers, with a faculty mentor, to help go “page to stage” with a new play.

• Stephanie Molitor (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) -- presenting her pieces from “Working Week” in the Costume Parade costume crafts workshop.

In addition, Anne Fletcher, associate professor of theater history, will serve on the review panel for the dramaturgical competition.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national theater program including more than 600 academic institutions. The festival helps to recognize university and college theater programs, provide opportunities for theater students to develop their skills through public performance and competition, and provide a showcase for new plays and new takes on established plays.

Region III, of which SIUC is a part, includes other colleges and universities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The top competitors at the regional competition are eligible to perform at the non-competitive national festival at the Kennedy Center.

For more information about the festival, visit For more information about the SIUC Department of Theater, visit