X Fest Goes Before The Board

On November eighth a group of X Fest veterans went before the SIUE Board of Trustees to discuss the ambitious theater festival and how it’s become a part of SIUE’s theatrical landscape. During their talk the group discussed how the festival came into being, the impact it has had on the students who participated in the program, and future ambitions for the event.

“The board seemed very engaged in the enthusiasms that everyone seems to have toward X Fest,” Chuck Harper shared.

X Fest is the combined brainchild of Harper and Peter Cocuzza who felt that an experimental theater festival would be a great way to generate interest in the SIUE theatrical program during the summer months. For the past three years the SIUE Department of Theater and Dance has worked in conjunction with Arts and Issues to bring unique, and generally all ages appropriate, acts to SIUE for one night only over a four day period. Aside from a unique variety of acts the festival also offers students a chance to attend workshops with the visiting artist.

Cocuzza and Harper where joined in front of the board by current SIUE students and X Fest veterans Wesley Robinson and Sharaina Turnage as well as returning alum Anna Skidis. The group shared their experiences working on the unique event and the impact it has made on them.

“It was clear from the way they talked about it that it was more than just a class for them,” Harper said.

A relatively young event, X Fest is still evolving and finding it’s niche in the local theater community as well as within SIUE’s theater program. Harper shared that the one of the big changes they’re looking into is moving the festival from the summer into early September so that more students can take advantage of the opportunities the event offers. One of the long term ambitions for the festival is to increase the number of days and acts shown.

“Every year it happens we’re grateful,” Harper explained, “Our dream is that this is something that will really from a performance point of view put SIUE on the map at a national level”

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