ASPIRE KCACTF/LORT Leadership Program

KCACTF Region VIII /LORT – Leadership Program

ASPIRE Leadership Program Coordinator: Rachel Parker, Southern Utah University,

ASPIRE – The KCACTF/LORT Leadership Program

The ASPIRE KCACTF/LORT Leadership Program is designed to cultivate a new generation of artistic and administrative leaders for the American Theater with a focus of engaging people of color, women and members of other groups that are consistently underrepresented in the field. This diverse national cohort of fellows assembled from the eight regions of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival will engage in topics concerning Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as well as a weeklong curriculum designed to explore leadership in the performing arts, investigate institutional challenges in the profession, and create professional networking opportunities in the field.

To be considered for the ASPIRE Leadership Fellowship, candidates must apply for and be selected at the regional level.

Student Applicants must:

  • Participate in a KCACTF regional festival.
  • Participate in workshops led by ASPIRE Program Directors at the regional festival.
  • Be interviewed by ASPIRE Program Directors at the regional festival.

As a result of this process, one student from each regional ASPIRE Leadership Program will be selected to participate at the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Applicants for the ASPIRE Leadership Program are evaluated based on the candidate’s potential and interest to:

  • Demonstrate artistic and administrative vision.
  • Lead and inspire others.
  • Collaborate with all members of a team.
  • Engage within the community at large.
  • Think outside the box and innovate.
  • Articulate the theatre’s role and relevance in global diversity and current events.

This week-long immersion occurs as part of the annual national convening of the American College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The residency’s curriculum is designed and led by professionals from League of Resident Theaters member- institutions in partnership with staff from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The fellowship curriculum includes, but is not limited to:

  • Workshops in management techniques and training in institutional processes within the regional theater model.
  • Discussions with Kennedy Center leadership and staff, using the Kennedy Center’s resources for discussions about challenges and opportunities in the performing arts
  • Site visits to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and DC-area theaters including Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and others to examine real world examples of leadership and institution
  • Discussions with professionals from around the country within the field around the issues they face in their various communities

For further information, please contact:

Rachel Parker, Southern Utah University,



Open to all students, participants will hear from current professionals working in the areas of arts administration and management. A workshop schedule will be announced prior to the festival.

Learning Outcomes

Through workshops and internship opportunities, students accepted to this program will:

* Gain hands-on experience in arts administration

* Apply scholarly theory directly into professional practice

* Be given the opportunity to network with peers and professionals in the field

* Become empowered advocates for the arts

Acceptance Criteria

The Arts Leadership Program is open to all students. Applicants do not need to be majoring in Arts Administration or a related field to be considered. Participation is limited

to 15 students. The applicant’s submission will be assessed based on the following two areas:

* Leadership skills as evidenced through the applicant’s collegiate activities, civic volunteerism, and experience with arts organizations.

* Communications skills as evidenced through a written Statement of Purpose, as well as the recommendation letters, addressing educational and career goals.