Theatre Arts Professor Receives National Playwriting Award

California Lutheran University Theatre Arts Department Chair Ken Gardner has received the National Playwriting Program Excellence in Education Award.

“I’ve been impressed with Ken’s support of new work at California Lutheran,” said Char Nelson, who presented the award as Chair of Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VIII. “He brings great energy to the program, and I can see by the way students interact with him that they appreciate his commitment.”

Gardner, a member of the Academy for New Musical Theatre in Los Angeles, was originally hired to run CLU’s Children’s Theatre Program, for which he wrote and developed many touring children’s plays. He has been teaching theatre arts at the University for 24 years, and 11 of his original plays have been produced on campus. The Thousand Oaks resident has always involved students in his writing, encouraging them to improvise and develop dialogue and to help edit final scripts.

Gardner has also directed more than 70 productions, including shows on the Equity Waiver circuit in Los Angeles. Two of his CLU productions have been invited to regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festivals.
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a 40-year-old program designed to encourage, recognize and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs. Region VIII covers a six-state area.

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