Topic: College of Fine Arts

March 28, 2013

For the ninth straight year, Ball State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will send a national qualifier to Washington, D.C. for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which involves 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Senior theatrical studies major Melody Ekstrom will attend KCACTF’s national conference April 15-21 in recognition of her regional win in the dramaturgy competition for her work in Ball State’s 2012 production of “Spring Awakening.“ Dramaturges help the director, actors and creative team understand and re-create the context of a play.

Ekstrom was mentored by Tyler Smith, assistant professor of theater and dance. She explained she wouldn’t be where she was in this competition without the department’s support.

“I am honored to represent the talented and dedicated students of Ball State on the national level,” she said. “I know I will learn a lot from this opportunity, and I’m extremely grateful for that.”

Ball State has participated in KCACTF since 1981. For the past nine years, the university’s program has sent some of its most talented students on to the national competition. Of all national qualifiers, designers Brody Steel, Glen Anderson, Marciel Greene, Christopher Swader and Justin Swader have won top honors at the festival, with Kevin Depinet as runner-up.

Associate Professor of Theatre Kip Shawger said those involved with the program are firm believers in KCACTF’s mission of allowing students nationwide to see one another’s work and share experiences in the community of theater artists. “They see different experiences, meet different people and are provided with great experiences through the KCACTF’s atmosphere,” he said.

Ekstrom was one of 50 students to represent Ball State at January’s regional KCACTF showcase in Saginaw, Mich. Those with the best and most diverse productions are selected to have their work showcased at the national festival.

For more information about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, visit