Nine UCR Students to Participate in The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Regional festival in Hawaii is Feb. 11-14

UCR’s Hana Bookman in the 2015 performance of “Spring Awakening.”

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – Robin Russin, professor of screenwriting at the University of California, Riverside, will chaperone nine UCR students to The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF): Region VIII in Hawaii. The festival will be Feb. 11-14.

UCR students have participated in KCACTF since 2007. Last year two undergraduate students, Jacqueline Malenke and Allison Molnaa, were nationally recognized and awarded in the categories of national design and stage management.

One graduate and eight undergraduate students will attend the festival. Those participating in the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting award competition include: Ephraim Eshete, Fernando Echeverria, Giselle Austria, Haley Bess, Hana Bookman, Kristen Asada, Samantha Abdala, and Victoria Ringo. Participating in the 10-minute playwriting category is Taylor Hatch.

“We’re delighted that so many of our actors and stage crew have been recognized with invitations to compete,” said Russin. “We’re especially proud of Creative Writing and Writing for the Performance Arts M.F.A. student Taylor Hatch, whose ten-minute play was chosen from dozens of submissions for regional competition, and who won the Planet Earth award for her one-act play.”

Robin Russin

Robin Russin

Russin is currently the regional vice chair of the KCACTF National New Play Program. “I’m involved in adjudicating and choosing plays submitted from other regions and organizing the casting and production of our region’s new plays at our regional festival,” Russin explained.

KCACTF is a national theater program that involves 20,000 students annually. For 46 years, the organization has worked to improve the quality of college theater in the United States. Over the years, KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country.

Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF student and faculty participants celebrate the creative process and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. The goals of the festival include: to celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs; to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight; to achieve professionalism; and to encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays – especially those written by students; the classics, revitalized or newly conceived; and experimental works.

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