Texas Tech University

By Invitation Only

David Postlewate

September 27, 2022

Mary Lantz and Maddie Hiatt

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students in 8 regions across the nation. Students from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico share their talents at the region 6 festival each February for a chance to be one of the 125 invited to attend the national festival each spring. 

This past summer, Bailey Patterson (MFA Performance & Pedagogy, Maddie Hiatt (MFA Performance & Pedagogy), and Mary Lantz (BFA Musical Theatre) were awarded trips to Washington D.C. in recognition of their success at KCACTF's national festival. Patterson, with Hiatt as her partner, was the national winner of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.  Mary Lantz was one of eight national recipients of the Musical Theatre Fellowship. Although Patterson had to reschedule her visit to the nation's capital until next summer, Hiatt and Lantz each attended myriad workshops and met with several professionals in their fields.  

Let us start from the beginning. What was the pre-Washington DC process like?

Maddie HiattHIATT: Bailey Patterson and I rehearsed for a few weeks before submitting our scene from Lilith in Pisces. Bailey, the nominee, also submitted two monologues. Mike Yarick, a graduate of the MFA Performance and Pedagogy program, helped us film our pieces, and we sent them through. We won for our region, and eventually, the national award! Technically, Bailey was the winner, but as her partner, I was also awarded a trip to D.C. and a scholarship. 

What were your days like in D.C?

Mary LantzLANTZ: Each day was packed full of warm-ups, workshops, discussions, Q&A's, along with some opportunities for performing. Actress Sonja Parks, who has appeared in many professional companies around the world, led workshops and masterclasses filled with valuable information. Intimacy workshops, dance auditions, mask and physical theatre workshops, voice practices workshop, a Shakespeare workshop, and a few Q&As with local DC directors and actors were all part of the KCACTF experience. We saw the Folger Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream inside the beautiful National Buildings Museum. The four towering marble columns and the gilded architectural design created an immersive and fitting environment.

Both Hiatt and Lantz were delighted to work with other passionate young artists from all over the country who care deeply about making the theatre world more accessible, sustainable, and inviting to audiences and young artists alike.  And both are grateful to The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for the opportunity to dive deep with highly knowledgeable industry professionals who share what it takes to have a happy and successful career in the arts.