USC Upstate Will Host Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Feb. 5-9

January 25, 2019 at 9:50 am

A prestigious theatre festival expected to bring hundreds of visitors and tens of thousands of tourism dollars to Spartanburg County is headed for the University of South Carolina Upstate. USC Upstate is pleased to announce it will host the 2019 Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival February 5 through 9.

“We are delighted to host this prestigious festival at USC Upstate,” said USC Upstate’s Chancellor Dr. Brendan Kelly. “Bringing 1,000 students, faculty, and performing arts professionals to Spartanburg to study, compete, and collaborate is precisely the type of educational endeavor that connects our community inextricably to our university.”

The festival will span from downtown Spartanburg to locations across the USC Upstate campus. Additional events will be held on the campuses of Converse and Wofford Colleges.

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.

“The students and faculty at USC Upstate don’t anticipate getting a whole lot of sleep between Feb. 5 and 9, but it will all be worth it to provide a week of inspiring theatre and transformative experiences for our KCACTF guests, who will be representing university theatre programs from across our nine-state region,” said Lee Neibert, associate professor of theatre and chair of Fine Arts and Communications Studies at USC Upstate.

In addition to having a significant financial impact on the community, the festival will help enrich the Upstate’s growing theatre community.

USC Upstate will play host to an impressive field of national theatre artists who represent the Kennedy Center, Neibert said. Those artists will provide feedback on student design and performance work, and conduct workshops aimed at providing students with professional development opportunities.

More than a dozen USC Upstate theatre students will vie for a variety of prestigious awards and scholarships during the festival and could advance to compete in the National Festival. The students include Najee Joyner, Jordan Montemayor, Gabrielle Sassone, John Gibbs, Hope Phillips, Kyle McIntyre, Harrison Reed, McCrary Earls, Townsend Reynolds, Jillian Wain, E.J. George, Alyssa Chaplin, Kelly Crisp, and Isaac Abee.

The Region IV festival is one of eight that will take place across the country this spring leading up the National Festival, which will be held at the Kennedy Center in April. Region IV includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Southern Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

“We are very excited to be coming to Spartanburg and the USC Upstate campus for this year’s festival which marks the 50th anniversary of KCACTF,” said Lisa Abbott, associate professor of theatre at Georgia Southern and KCACTF Region IV vice chair.

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.