Students attend theater festival in Flint, MI


Dennis Henry.

Four Indiana University Kokomo students recently attended the region three Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Flint, MI, where they attended workshops and numerous plays to learn more about performing arts. Pictured are (left to right) Clarissa Vasquez, Dezi Dagey, Mason Lewis, and Anna Marcum.

From Jan. 11 to 15, Indiana University Kokomo students got to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for Region 3 on the University of Michigan-Flint campus.  

The festival was one of eight regional events organized nationally by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, where roughly 800 students participated from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.  

This year’s festival was the first to happen in-person since 2020, due to past years’ COVID-19 regulations and safety.  

The festival hosts a variety of events for students to participate in, including professional development workshops on acting led by instructors, playwright contests, plays, and more.  

“There were workshops about the business side and acting side of theater, so if acting isn’t your thing, there are still opportunities for you there.” Said Dezi Dagey, an IU Kokomo theater minor who attended the trip. “I came out of there with a new outlook on how I want to approach theater in the future: be more confident and don’t hold myself back.” 

Dagey added that her favorite part about the trip was watching the performances, including 3 short plays and a cabaret.  

“The more live performances you see, the better you get as well,” says Dennis Henry, IU Kokomo Visiting Lecturer in Theater, who took the four students on the trip.  

Of the four students, Clarissa Vasquez and Mason Lewis were cast as actors in the national 10-minute playwrighting contest.  

Henry added that for the students, auditioning for different directors helps them make new contacts and learn more about performing.  

“The festival also provides a great opportunity to see what other universities are doing,” Henry said. 

Henry points out that the festival is crucial to networking, as meeting different people in the field will help students branch out and further establish a career in theater.  

Although IU Kokomo does not offer a theater major, students can minor in it and are able to participate in performing arts courses and productions to hone their skills.  

Henry plans to attend the festival next year, and hopes for more participation among IU Kokomo students, as the festival is both fun and provides valuable experience for those interested in performing arts and theater. 

For more information on the trip or other theater/performing arts options IU Kokomo offers, contact Henry at [email protected] or visit under the page “Humanities and Social Sciences.”