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Artists of Concordia Theatre invited to perform at regional Kennedy Center Festival


The Artists of Concordia Theatre (A.C.T.) has been invited to present its landmark production of “In the Soundless Awe” at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s (KACTF) regional festival at Saginaw Valley University in Michigan, on January 8-12.

KACTF is a national theatre consortium bringing together university and professional theatre artists. Regional festivals offer a variety of activities for students and theatre artists, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs.

Festival officials visit colleges throughout the country and select five to seven of the finest University productions for each regional event.  “In the Soundless Awe” was one of only a few productions selected out of hundreds to be showcased at the festival.  Productions at each of the regional festivals are also judged, and winners are showcased at the Kennedy Center’s annual, noncompetitive national festival in Washington, D.C.

“In the Soundless Awe” was developed by Concordia University Chicago faculty members Andy Pederson and Jayme McGhan as the result of a faculty research grant. The play is based on the real life sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis by a Japanese submarine and the horrific aftermath during which American sailors were eaten alive by sharks while awaiting rescue. Charles B. McVay III, Captain of the USS Indianapolis, committed suicide in 1968 after decades of relentless night terrors about the five nights and four days he and his men spent floating in the shark-infested South-Pacific. The play follows McVay’s final moments through myriad flashbacks, performed live on a flooded arena stage and through multi-media presentations surrounding the audience.

“It is quite an honor to be selected for this festival,” said McGhan. “Everyone involved with the production deserves recognition for their hard work. We’re proud to represent Concordia-Chicago on a regional, and hopefully national, stage.”

McGhan, who also directed the production, is nationally recognized for his theatre work and is the author of 14 award-winning full-length plays as well as dozens of short plays. He is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists as well as an Artistic Associate at Stage Left Theatre, and is a former Regional Representative of the Dramatists Guild. 

Andy Pederson is a playwright and assistant professor of English at Concordia-Chicago.  His plays have been produced in Chicago, Atlanta, Memphis, Vermont and at The Mid-American Theatre Conference. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild and alumnus of Goddard College’s MFA program, he is resident playwright of The Just Passing By Theatre Company of Morris, Ill.

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Categories: Arts