Willamette Theatre Students To Compete In Prestigious Regional Competition

The Willamette University Theatre's cast from "How I Learned to Drive" was chosen to compete in the prestigious Kennedy Theatre American College Theatre Festival's regional competition in Anchorage, Alaska during the week of Feb. 12. Five plays will be chosen from regional competitions throughout the country to perform at the national competition in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Susan Coromel, co-chair of Willamette's theatre department, referred to the regional festival as "the Rose Bowl of university theatre." In addition, Willamette University is the only Oregon university, the only liberal arts university and the only primarily undergraduate program chosen to compete.

The American College Theatre Festival holds annual regional competitions and selects a small number of plays to be performed. This year approximately 40 plays were entered, with four chosen to compete. Willamette University, along with the University of Wyoming, Western Washington University and the University of Alaska, were the four schools invited to perform plays from their fall theatre season. Willamette participates in a region that includes Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

"Participation in the competition and the reputation of the American College Theatre Festival increases Willamette's visibility," said Coromel. "The judges that travel to Willamette to view our plays always say they are so impressed with the quality that comes out of our small University."

The Willamette University Theatre will conduct a benefit performance of "How I Learned to Drive" on Friday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. to offset the cost of traveling to the competition. Ticket prices for this performance have not yet been determined. For more information, contact the theatre box office at 503-370-6221. Penske Trucking is underwriting the cost of transporting the set design and props for the play.

In addition to the play being chosen for this prestigious competition, six Willamette student actors will take part in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition at the regional competition in Anchorage, Alaska. This competition provides students with scholarships. Regional winners are also invited to the Kennedy Center to compete on the national level.