USC Upstate Hosts Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

January 7, 2020 at 2:58 pm
A photo of USC Upstate theatre students performing on stage.

For a second consecutive year, the University of South Carolina Upstate will host a prestigious theatre festival that is expected to bring hundreds of visitors and tens of thousands of tourism dollars to Spartanburg County. USC Upstate is pleased to announce it will be the site of the 2020 Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) February 4 through 8.

About 1,000 participants, including students, faculty and an impressive field of national theatre artists who represent the Kennedy Center, will descend on the university’s campus to compete for scholarships and take advantage of a range of professional development opportunities.

“We are delighted to host this festival for the second year in a row,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Brendan Kelly. “Spartanburg’s growth remains closely linked with its commitment to develop a thriving local arts community, and we are pleased to bring our energy and excitement to this endeavor.”

Economic impact numbers provided by the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau showed the 2017 Region IV festival held at Georgia Southern University attracted 1,100 attendees. It generated more than $322,000 in sales, nearly $65,000 in tax revenue, and 1,675 room nights at surrounding hotels.

Thirteen USC Upstate theatre students will vie for a variety of awards and scholarships during the festival and could advance to compete in the National Festival to be held April 6-10 at the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts. The students include Kyle McIntyre, John Gibbs, Jordan Montemayor, Marshall Branham, Amiya English, Kat Powell, Kenia Simpson, Bra’Derious Tate, Kayla Hall, Hope Phillips, Joanie Blackwell, Alyssia Chaplin and Eric Makowski.

The USC Upstate Theatre Department’s recent production of “Anon(ymous)” was nominated for festival recognition.

“It’s a huge honor for us to host the Region IV KCACTF again,” said Lee Neibert, associate professor of Theatre at USC Upstate and chair of the university’s Fine Arts and Communication Studies Department. “Last year’s festival went really well. It was a great opportunity for us to show off our campus and Spartanburg. A lot of work goes into it, but this is a very meaningful event. Our students learn a lot about their craft. They learn to be ambassadors for the university and make connections that will no doubt benefit them in the future.”

For more information about the festival, please call Neibert at 864-503-5987, or visit:

About the Kennedy Center

Named for the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy Center opened in 1971 with a vision to present the greatest performers and performances from across the nation and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving the nation as a leader in arts education.