IUP is hosting the Region II Kennedy Center Theater Festival through Monday, January 16. This means that 1,000 faculty members and students from colleges and universities from the eight-state region are here on campus for workshops, lectures, and performances. This is the second time that IUP has been selected to host the event; we also were the site for the 2010 festival, which featured keynote speaker Bill Pullman.
The keynote presenter for this year's festival is John Cariani. He's been in many television series and popular movies, including Kissing Jessica Stein, and was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical) for his performance in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. He also has an interesting IUP tie: He was one of the stars of Elephant Sighs, the movie written by former IUP theater professor and playwright Ed Simpson.
There are a number of plays open to the community throughout the festival in the Performing Arts Center's Fisher Auditorium, along with four special productions for festival audiences. These plays, offered in the Waller Hall Mainstage Theater, are open to community members as seating permits (available seats will be distributed starting about 10 minutes before the performances).
Productions have to be selected for festival performances, and the competition is fierce; 80 colleges and universities are eligible to enter a production for selection.
So, IUP is very proud that festival officials selected an IUP production, Lindsey's Oyster, for showcase at the festival. The show will be presented in the Waller Hall Mainstage Theater on Friday, January 13, at 5:00 p.m. This is among the performances for which festival attendees have first priority for seating. Tickets are $10 per person.
This show, in addition to presenting outstanding student talent and excellent direction by IUP's Jason Chimonides, represents IUP's inaugural commitment to the National Theatre Conference's Initiative to Celebrate American Women Playwrights. (Note: This production may contain language and situations to which some audience members may object.)
Make sure to check out the festival website to find about more about the peformances. An amazing opportunity for outstanding theater, right in our own backyard.