Published on February 21, 2018 by Ashley Smith  
students in theatre session

Samford Theatre for Youth students will perform at the Southeastern Theatre Conference’s Theatre for Youth Invitational Festival March 8 in Mobile, Alabama.  

According to Laura Byland, “The invitation to present at this festival is a great honor and will be Samford’s first appearance. Only three companies are selected to perform.”  Byland is associate professor of theatre and dance. 

Byland will accompany 13 performers and 5 design/management students. They will present The Jungle Book, an adaptation by recent Samford graduate Kendra Ball of Rudyard Kipling’s book.  The theatre students toured this program last spring in local schools and will be presenting the program at Virginia Samford Theatre for area school children this week and then at Samford on March 28 at 4 p.m. in Bolding Studio.  

The festival provides valuable exposure to professionals, new audiences and peer students. Over the last quarter century, the Theatre for Youth Invitational Festival has showcased more than one hundred works to more than 25,000 young people. 

As part of the Annual Convention, the festival brings together artist and audience, playwright and publisher, performer and producer to explore the infinite world of Theatre for Youth and to work with and get feedback from some of this country’s pre-eminent figures in the field, Byland added. This year, the respondents include Suzan Zeder and Ernie Nolan, both highly respected professionals in theatre for young audiences. Byland highlights the value of this learning experience for her students and looks forward to taking part in the theatre for youth forum. 

To learn more about Samford’s theatre for youth program, visit

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.