SOU's Carlos-Zenen Trujillo (left front) at Kennedy Center festival

SOU theatre student honored at Kennedy Center event

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University student Carlos-Zenen Trujillo was among the award-winners recognized at last month’s 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF ) in Washington, D.C., and announced last week by the Kennedy Center.

Trujillo – a senior majoring in theatre at SOU – was one of two students from throughout the U.S. to be presented the John Cauble Awards for Arts Leadership, which were accompanied by $5,000 cash prizes. Cauble is a professor emeritus and founding director of UCLA’s Graduate Program in Arts Management.

The KCACTF is a national program that involves about 20,000 college and university theatre students each year in its state, regional and national festivals. Participants are encouraged to celebrate the creative process and share their experiences with other budding theatre artists.

Many students were honored with scholarships, fellowships and cash awards at the Kennedy Center’s national event after their work stood out during the program’s eight regional festivals earlier this year. Trujillo was among more than 120 students who were selected to receive all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C., for the national festival.

He attended the Kennedy Center festival as one of nine regional ASPIRE Arts Leadership Fellows. The weeklong fellowship – which focuses on equity, diversity and inclusion – is intended to cultivate future theatre leaders from the ranks of promising women students and students of color.

The nine ASPIRE fellows met with Deborah Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and other leading theatre professionals. The program also included leadership skill-building, exploration of challenges facing America’s theaters and professional networking opportunities.

The KCACTF organization is intended to help improve the quality of college theatre in the U.S., and has participants from more than 700 academic institutions nationwide.

This year’s 50th anniversary festival included a concert that featured Tony Award-winners Jason Robert Brown and Lindsay Mendez; Helen Hayes Award-winner Tracy Lynn Olivera; and the Kennedy Center Musical Theatre Fellows. There were also roundtable discussions with a group of prominent playwrights, readings of short plays, auditions for acting scholarships and opportunities for master classes.