UWG Professor Honored with Kennedy Center Medallion

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shelly Elman, UWG theatre professor, recently was honored with the Kennedy Center Medallion for her six years of work with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Elman has served as the Region IV Chair for the organization for the last three years, organizing the annual regional festival and providing 800-900 students each year with higher levels of opportunity.

The KCACTF Region IV includes Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Puerto Rico. For the regional festival, Elman coordinated up to 50 guest artists, including Tony Award winners, from around the country to perform workshops and provide guidance for the hundreds of attending students. She said the students from across the southeast region were not only soaking up the talents, skills and knowledge from these very generous guest artists but also from their peers.

During her tenure as Region IV Chair, Elman was able to introduce hundreds of students and faculty to the University of West Georgia. Additionally, she created opportunities for UWG students to visit and interact with current actors and other professionals. In 2009, Bill Bowers, actor and mime with Broadway credits such as Beauty and the Beast and The Scarlet Pimpernel, visited UWG and directed Bill Irwin’s adaptation of Moliere’s Scapin. He has since continued to direct and will return to UWG to direct in February 2014.

UWG students are well represented at the regional conference, winning multiple awards and honors. At the last festival, one of the UWG students won three awards for each of his designs that were in the competition, and one of the UWG acting and directing students won a fully paid weeklong trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C., where he worked with eight of his peers across the country in workshops led by nationally known directors.

Elman is continuing to expand the UWG Theatre Department. She is currently working on an innovative capstone class through a partnership with the Mass Communications Department that works to create an original Internet theatre company. The theatre students provide the content for the website and the mass communications students work to film and edit the content. The site features flash mobs, a web series and more, and serves to help bridge the gap between theatre, film and the Internet.

For more information on UWG’s Theatre Department, please visit www.westga.edu/~theatre/.