The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) has begun, but according to Brad Dell, Regional Chair for Region 5, the planning for it began four years ago.
“There’s just no question that it is an avalanche of tasks and responsibilities and I get bored with saying that I’m busy,” Dell said. “I don’t want that to be a reason to not do good work. The struggle is, I wanna have an impact. That is doing really good work and balancing that desire to be a visionary and thinking big picture in having to deal with the small tasks that are required to make something function.”
Every three years, people are nominated to serve as one of the three chairs, Regional Chair, Design and Technology Chair and National Playwrighting Program Chair. Dell was selected to be the Regional Chair in 2015 after serving as the Regional Vice-Chair.
Outside of being the regional chair, Dell is an associate professor of theatre at Iowa State University, where he teaches three courses a semester and directs one show a semester, usually their big musicals. On top of that, he is also the artistic director of Repertory Theatre Iowa, a semiprofessional company in Des Moines.
As the regional chair, Dell has a lot of responsibilities from working with the executive committee to plan the festival, being the liaison between special guests and the community, and representing Region V at the national festival.
Since the festival is in Des Moines this year, Dell is also the festival host where he is the primary communicator with all hotels, and performance and production venues. He is also in charge of the festival volunteers and is thrilled about having the conference here.
“I think Des Moines is going to be a really fantastic place to have a festival,” Dell said. “The city is being incredibly supportive. It’s going to be a walkable festival so there will be no shuttling and I think the venues are going to be really exciting.”
Dell says schools should participate in KCACTF because of the endless opportunities it can present to students and faculty.
“I think that the opportunity that students have to work with one another and network and to learn from professionals is such a phenomenally unique opportunity,” Dell said. “I also think that it’s a tremendous way that we can celebrate theatre community and I think that community and being together and working together and celebrating compassion and sympathy are some of the most important things that theatre can be about.”
KCACTF is a wonderful petri dish of fabulous things, according to Dell.
“The greatest joy of it is, over the last twelve years of my involvement with KCACTF Region V, I have made friendships that last a lifetime,” Dell said. “It’s not only a phenomenal community for the students to get creative but truly most of my best friends in the world I have met and fostered through KCACTF. It’s a wonderful group of artistic collaboration and friendship and that is really a gift to me and I think many others.”