Published: May 1, 2019

SOMERS – UW-Parkside’s Jessica Baker went to compete in the 50th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), held at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C from April 16-20. Student artists from across the United States were invited to appear at KCACTF in recognition of their outstanding work from the eight regional festivals that were held from January through February of this year. Baker was the KCACTF Region 3 Theatrical Design Recipient for Lighting Design, which earned a spot to compete at the KCACTF National Festival.

During the festival, Baker had the chance to connect with other accomplished undergraduate and graduate student designers and directors, as well as participate in thought-provoking, engaging workshops. She had also been involved in classes taught by two female lighting designers that have worked on Broadway, the O’Neil Theaters, and more.

“KCACTF not only taught me more about my craft, but also give life lessons,” said Baker. “For example, how to do your taxes as a freelance artist. More importantly, I have met people that I will work with in the future, made great contacts and made new friends.”

For her efforts during the national competition, Baker was offered an internship opportunity with the illustrious Eugene O’Neil Theatre, a Brodaway threatre located in midtown Manhattan.

The O’Neil, named in honor of four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eugene O’Neil, has launched some of the most important voices and works in American theater. Among the hundreds of play and musicals developed and premiered at the O’Neil are such notable works as: In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes; Avenue Q by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty; Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others; and, Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori's Violet. Baker was offered an opportunity to work in lighting for O’Neil in 2020.

In addition to her offer with the O’Neil, Baker will also take on an internship at The Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota, this summer. She work there as an electrician and light design a show.


Contact Info:
Lesley Heins-Walker
Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

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