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UMD's Richard III Selected for Regional Festival

Richmond & Richard
Paul LaNave as Richmond and Corey Ryan Boe as Richard III
Richard & Elizabeth
Corey Ryan Boe as Richard III and Cat Brindisi as Queen Elizabeth

UMD Theatre's production of Richard III has been selected by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) and is one of five plays in a six-state region for the KCACTF's Region V Festival. Richard III will be presented on the campus of Iowa State University in the Ames City Auditorium on Thurs., Jan. 20. at 10 am and 2 pm. This is the fifth time in ten years that UMD Theatre has been selected to participate at the KCACTF Region V Festival.

Professor Tom Isbell, who adapted the script and directed the production, cheerfully describes the festival as "the most sleep deprived week of the year." He also points out that the emphasis of the festival is on education, not competition. In addition to productions, the week includes workshops, special activities, and scholarship events for actors, singers, dancers, directors, designers, stage managers, playwrights, and dramaturgs.

Scholarships include the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. 300 actors present a scene with a partner. "A group of professionals and academics from outside of our region gives feedback," Isbell said. "And everyone gets feedback." From there, a group of 64 is selected to present two scenes. Lastly a group of 16 is selected to present the same two scenes plus a monologue or a song. "The top two will go on to the national festival in Washington, D.C. in April," Isbell said. In addition to financial scholarships, internships at theatres around the country and the world are available. It is possible that Richard III could be chosen to go on to the national festival but that's not the purpose of the regional festival. The art and craft of theatre is the main focus.

Richard III
Corey Ryan Boe as Richard III in the foreground.

Isbell's version is based on a 1700 adaptation of Shakespeare's original script. Isbell condensed it into a single 90-minute action-packed production. He included additional material by Sir Thomas More (who wrote a history of Richard III) and Raphael Holinshed (whose Holinshed's Chronicles was a major source for many of Shakespeare's plays). Isbell also added text by early 18th century actor-manager-playwright, Colley Cibber, who adapted many plays for the London stage. Most of Cibber's adaptations were unsuccessful, but his Richard III was performed well into the 19th century.

UMD is part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region V (5) which consists of six states. Region 5 is part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) that will select students and productions to continue onto the National Festival in Washington D.C. from April 18-23, 2011. This festival began in 1969 as a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide and a network of over 600 academic institutions. For additional details about the KCACTF Region 5, visit their website:


Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann,

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