While most Anderson University students will be spending their winter break enjoying time off from hectic schedules, junior communication arts major Tyler Dague will be pursuing his passion for theater journalism. Recently, Dague was accepted to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). [Editor's note: Due to winter weather conditions, Dague was unable to make the trip to KCACTF.]
Founded in 1969, KCACTF is a nationwide theater program. According to their website, “The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.” The program is broken up into several different regions. From Jan. 6-11, Dague will participate in the Institute for Theater Journalism and Advocacy in region 3, which includes students from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. “I am one of only 14 students who will be a part Theater Journalism and Advocacy for region 3,” said Dague.
During his time at KCACTF, Dague will attend seminars concentrated on theater and film criticism. He will also attend three shows put on by KCACTF actors and develop reviews for each show. These reviews will be put in a publication that will be circulated around the festival.
Laurel Goetzinger, associate professor of music, initially approached Dague about the festival. “I was contacted by Laurel Goetzinger about the festival my sophomore year, but, by the time I had gotten to it, it was too late,” said Dague. “For the next year, the festival kept playing in my mind.” When it came time to apply for the festival this year, Dague was prepared.
One of the reasons Dague is a perfect candidate for KCACTF is because of his individually created cognate to pursue his passion. A cognate, much like a minor, gives students the opportunity to create their own program from existing classes at AU.
Dr. Jeffery Wright, dean of the College of the Arts, worked with Dague to put together an arts journalism cognate. “Tyler came to me and expressed his interest in arts journalism,” said Wright. “Since we don’t have a major in that area, he asked if it would be possible to put together a cognate. I thought it would be beneficial for him to have experience in music, theatre, and dance and that created his cognate.”
Currently, Dague serves as co-editor for the Andersonian, AU’s student-run newspaper. With a background in writing, Wright believes that the cognate and KCACTF will be beneficial for Dague. “It is exactly the kind of thing that he needs at this point,” said Wright. “Tyler has proven himself to be a good writer and he has fit into the performing arts very nicely. He needs to experience a larger community of arts journalists.”
As part of the admissions process, Dr. David Baird, professor of communication and faculty advisor for the Andersonian, wrote a letter of intent and recommendation for Dague. “I’m very happy for Tyler that he was invited to join the program,” said Baird. “Given his strong interest in theatre and the performing arts more generally, this will be a good fit and opportunity for him. I’m sure he’ll be a model participant and bring a lot to the table.”
Dague credits his acceptance to the help he received at AU and feels prepared for his time at KCACTF. “AU has helped me, in a number of ways, to prepare me for the KCACTF,” said Dague. “I've been able to review nearly all of AU's theatre and performing arts events through the Andersonian, and I've gotten a lot of great feedback from professors and performers. They've opened my eyes to all the potential theatre has to offer, and it's been fun along the way. If anything, AU has provided me a flexible and encouraging outlet to pursue my passions in arts journalism, and I can't thank them enough.”
— Kelli Oxley is a senior from Anderson University, majoring in communication arts. Oxley is the administrative manager with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.