Traverse City, MI
College:College of Arts and Humanities
Degree Program:Theatre MFA, Theatre for Young Audiences Track
Research Focus:Theatre for Alzheimer's and Dementia patients and Arts and Aging.
Sitting in an audience full of young people, watching them experience live theatre, gives Kate Kilpatrick goosebumps every time. It is that feeling that inspires her in her work in theatre for young audiences.
Kilpatrick, who earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre from Michigan State University, chose to attend UCF for her MFA in large part because of the option to focus on Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).
Kilpatrick believes strongly in the importance of theatre for young people, says, “I think it is important to recognize that what brings us to TYA is a deeply-rooted recognition of the impact the arts can have on a person. We know how a single play can change a student’s life. We understand the fundamental life skills that theatre can teach a young person. We invest an excess of time and energy into creating engaging art because we believe in the power of play.”
Kilpatrick’s experience expands to audiences of other ages, as well – she is currently the lead investigator for the Multimodal Performing Arts Intervention (MPAI) Arts and Wellness research study, which aims to use theatre as a tool for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia as a form of stress release. She is also the graduate research coordinator for The Arts and Aging: An Interdisciplinary and Intergenerational Initiative Project, which was also created to relieve stress for memory loss caregivers.
In addition to being drawn to the opportunity to work with young audiences, Kilpatrick was also drawn to UCF because of the partnership the theatre department has with the Orlando REP. Through the Orlando REP, Kilpatrick has been able to make connections with a variety of organizations in central Florida. Kilpatrick also has praise for specific professors – she says that Dr. Julia Listengarten continuously challenges her and has taught her the importance of representation, authenticity, and integrity and that Associate Professor Vandy Wood’s encouragement of a creative process that focuses on collaboration and artistic flexibility has affected Kilpatrick’s life both as an artist and as a student.
Speaking to her fellow students, Kilpatrick urges them to make a conscious effort to appreciate their time here. “Learning is fun,” she says, “enjoy it while you are here.” Kilpatrick also advises any incoming Theatre for Young Audiences students to always stay connected to why they are here, and why they chose to be a part of this magical community.
During her academic career at UCF, Kilpatrick has received the Order of Pegasus and is a recipient of the Provost Graduate Fellowship. Kilpatrick graduated in spring 2020 after hoped to continue doing work that balances theatre and education, as well as continuing to write plays for young performers.
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