“The Bible Women’s Project” wins national college festival awards
At the beginning of the spring 23 semester, the theatre program’s play “The Bible Women’s Project” was selected to go to the northeast regional division of the Kennedy Center American Theatre College Festival (KCACTF).
“The Bible Women’s Project” went on to be a competitor at the national KCACTF festival in April, which celebrates the top talent from the eight regions across the county.
The national respondents from all eight regions met to discuss the productions submitted for consideration for awards and named “The Bible Women’s Project” as worthy of three national awards: the Citizen Artist Award, the Distinguished Performance Ensemble and the Distinguished Devised Play.
Overall, the northeast regional division received five national production awards, with Salve Regina winning three of those with “The Bible Women’s Project.”
“I’ve been so proud of all our students all year long with the bold shows we’ve produced, but the vulnerability and risk-taking that ‘The Bible Women’s Project’ cast has to do on a regular basis when they perform this show makes me particularly humbled that they continue to give themselves to this work,” said Dr. Tara Brooke Watkins, director of the theatre program.
The Citizen Artist Award, which is KCACTF’s top honor, recognizes programs in higher education using theatrical production to promote long-term societal impact through an artistic lens, to encourage empathetic exploration of the complex cultural and physical world, and to advocate for justice on campus and throughout the world.
Respondents were impressed that “The Bible Women’s Project” boldly challenged the structures of church and theatre while at the same time giving attendees a powerful experience of church and theatre, according to Dr. Watkins.
“At the festival alone, they had to perform in back-to-back performances with very emotional post-show conversations with audience members,” Dr. Watkins described. “Not only did they perform beautifully each time, but they held space for people to respond with their own challenging stories. Sometimes, they went into the audience and actually held people as they cried.”
The cast received the news end of April and immediately began brainstorming about what needs to happen next with the play.
“I’m open to continuing this journey, as it always appears to be a play that speaks to people in ways I am always humbled by,” said Dr. Watkins. “What that next step on the journey is, though, I don’t know.”
Besides their production nomination, Salve Regina students were also nominated for acting and musical theatre categories. Anna Annese ’26 made it to the finals in musical theatre at the regional festival and Nathan Nelson ‘23, a theatre major, made it to the semi-finals in acting.
This isn’t the first time that the theatre program has garnered national recognition, having won an awards at the national level in 2003 and 2004.