October 23, 2017 – Approximately 2000 people are expected to attend the Florida Theatre Conference Festival November 8-11, 2017, at Santa Fe College. The largest event of its kind in the eastern United States, the festival offers participants who range in age from middle school to mature thespians, high school students to college faculty, and college students to theatre professionals the opportunities to attend a variety of workshops, performances, auditions, a college fair and a vendor fair.
Interested area residents may also attend with $5 day passes that can be purchased during the festival at the registration desk in the lobby of the SF Fine Arts Hall. The day passes provide admission to workshops and to the opening and closing ceremonies.
The conference’s opening ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 8, features a performance of “Julius Caesar” by the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s touring company from Sarasota. Doors to the SF Fine Arts Hall Theatre open at 7:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 8 p.m.
“The Asolo’s touring company is known all over Florida for its adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays that have been performed in schools.” explained SF Theatre Professor Terry Klenk, one of the festival’s organizers. “The Asolo’s performances are always thrilling and well received!”
This year, the festival will honor Lauren Caldwell of Gainesville’s Hippodrome Theatre with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the conference’s Professional Theatre division. As Artistic Director of the Hippodrome, Caldwell is the creative mind behind the scenes of the theatre’s dramas, comedies, musicals and holiday shows. She decides whether the yearly season will have a theme, selects the plays and directs the performances.
Caldwell, who has been involved with the Hippodrome since the early 1990s, will receive her award along with other Lifetime Award winners in the Middle School, Secondary School, and College and University divisions at the festival’s closing ceremony Saturday, Nov. 11. The winner of an overall Lifetime Achievement Award will also be announced. Doors to the Fine Arts Hall Theatre will open at 7:15 p.m.
Klenk, who is on the Board of Directors of the Florida Theatre Conference, expressed gratitude to the Gainesville community and to the college for their support of this arts-related event that has a positive economic impact on local businesses.
The Florida Theatre Conference (FTC) is a nonprofit educational theatre organization founded in 1956 to provide programs and services to individuals and theatre groups. The organization’s goals are to celebrate the diversity of Florida theatre, to nurture communications among theatre groups, to advance high standards and to encourage public appreciation.
The festival is organized by FTC and Santa Fe College and sponsored in part by Publix Super Markets, Inc., and by Santa Fe College and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Visit Gainesville, a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council.
For more information about the festival, call Terry Klenk at 352-395-5092.
For more information about the Fine Arts programs at SF College, call Alora Haynes at 352-395-5296.