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Judy Fort Brenneman Takes First Place at the Region VII National Critics Institute

Judy Fort Brenneman recently received first place in the Region VII National Critics Institute (NCI), held in conjunction with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), for her review, "Rocky Horror Show: Fresh, In So Many Ways." The KCACTF is a national educational theatre program that identifies and promotes quality in college theatre production and education. In addition to regional and national conferences, KCACTF sponsors regional and national awards, scholarships, and grants for student actors, designers, dramaturgs, playwrights, and critics. This year's Region VII festival was held February 18-22, 2008, at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. Michael Phillips, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Western Oregon University, led the NCI workshop.

As first place winner, Brenneman will attend the national KCACTF in Washington DC, April 14-20, 2008 on full scholarship, joining the NCI winners from other regions—a total of eight student critics in all—in developing their skills as theatre critics.

Brenneman is a published author and freelance writer, but this is her first foray into writing critical reviews. "I've been exploring possible ways to combine my writing ability, creativity, and fascination with live theatre," she explains. "I wanted to get a better understanding of how a play goes 'from the page to the stage,' so I signed up for my first-ever theatre course, Introduction to Theatre, taught by John Hill at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, last fall—and discovered the intrigue of critical reviews. Such reviews are much more than a bland journalistic report of synopsis and recommendation. In their fullest form, they demand analytical rigor, artistic appreciation, and a deep understanding of story, all driven by passionate interest and enthusiasm."

Although the national conference also has a competitive element—the first place winner receives a full scholarship to attend the O'Neill National Critics Institute in Waterford, Connecticut, in July—Brenneman says she isn't focusing on that. "It's more than a wonderful opportunity—I get to see some of the best college productions in the country, write about the experience, and talk about writing with people who are as enthusiastic as I am. What could be better?"


John Hill, FRCC Theatre Professor, Wins Major KCACTF Award

John Hill, Adjunct Instructor of Theatre, Larimer campus of Front Range Community College, Fort Collins, Colorado, was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Medallion during the 2008 Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), held in Laramie, Wyoming in February. The award, established in 1972 and considered to be one of the great honors in theatre education, is presented to faculty in each region who have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and to the development and quality of the KCACTF. The numbered medallions commemorate the dedication of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by President Nixon in 1971. Each medallion is cast of the same bronze that was used to make the towering bust of President Kennedy that stands in the center's grand foyer.

Hill currently serves KCACTF Region VII as the Regional Vice Chair for Design and Technology, a three-year term that will be followed by a three-year term as the Regional Chair, and as the Festival Scheduling Czar. During the last eighteen years, Hill has served KCACTF in three separate regions (V, VII, and VIII) in capacities ranging from workshop facilitator and presenter to circuit design coordinator, festival planner, and respondent.

At Front Range Community College, Hill teaches a wide range of theatre courses and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Front Range Family Theatre Project. Established in 2004, this summer theatrical program creates a convergence of audience and performers in a shared theatrical experience designed to engage, entertain, and educate. The project is committed to making quality, live theatrical performance available to all young people in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. Over the past four years, the Theatre Project has reached a total audience of more than 8000 kids and families under the tent on the Longs Peak Student Center Plaza.

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