More than 1,500 collegiate students, faculty, staff, and guest artists will visit Des Moines this week for the 2017 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 5. The festival, which runs through January 28, welcomes more than 80 Midwest universities and colleges, approximately 15 of which are from Iowa. Students will spend their time developing theater skills and celebrating work produced by their peers in four of Des Moines’ major performing arts venues: Des Moines Civic Center, Hoyt Sherman Place, Temple for Performing Arts, and Des Moines Social Club.

“We are excited for the opportunity to showcase our city to students from across the Midwest, as well as Kennedy Theater representatives, and other premiere arts organizations from across the country,” says Greg Edwards, President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “Our region offers rich performing arts opportunities and venues, and this festival is a great example of the diverse events our team goes after and our city can successfully host.”

Des Moines was selected to host the festival because of its strong theater scene and long list of arts and culture offerings. This is the first time an organization, rather than a college or university, has served as the host for a Region 5 festival. The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau secured the festival for two consecutive years.

“We are thrilled to bring the festival to Des Moines in both 2017 and 2018,” says Brad Dell, Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 5. “Besides being extremely walkable, Des Moines offers unique venues and will provide our students with a one-of-a-kind experience on and off stage.”

Photo, video, and interview opportunities are available throughout the week. Please contact Addison Bratvold at (515) 971-5159 for assistance. Today, the media can attend one of two performances at the Stoner Theater, inside the Des Moines Civic Center:

  • January 23: Noon – 2 p.m.

  • January 23: 3 – 5 p.m.

The festival is hosted by the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau in partnership with Iowa State University and Grand View University. Sponsors of the event include Des Moines Performing Arts, Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines Social Club and Iowa Pork Producers.

About Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Started in 1969, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. Since its inception, KCACTF has provided more than 400,000 students with the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition of excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide.