March 11, 2010
Laura Byland, associate professor and director of theatre at Oklahoma Baptist University, was recently selected by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VI to serve as the Oklahoma vice chair. Region VI includes colleges and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Byland's committee responsibilities include traveling to region VI colleges and universities to adjudicate productions for advancement to the regional festival. She visited four regional schools this year as the respondent. At the regional festival Feb. 22-28 at Amarillo College, she reviewed portfolios and responded to regional lighting designers.
"Personally I am really enjoying meeting and working with regional faculty and seeing what other schools are producing," Byland said. "This helps lift the profile of OBU theatre in the region."
Byland began teaching at OBU in 1992 and has served as director of theatre since 2001. She created outstanding scenic and lighting designs for numerous collegiate, community and commercial theatres; designed make-up and costumes; and directed productions. She developed and is the director of OBU's Theatre for Young Audiences, which presents a children's production each spring semester that is performed for nearly 3,000 area students.
Byland has overseen award-winning work during her tenure at OBU. Her recognitions include a 2009 award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) for Excellence in Set Design; a commendation from the National Selection Team from Region VI of the KCACTF for directing; The University of Oklahoma's School of Drama award for Outstanding Lighting Design; and the Outstanding Young College Educator by the Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communication Association.
Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center's founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theater-goers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide.