A theater festival could set the stage for future growth in Sioux Falls. 1,500 students from seven states are visiting for the week as part of the Kennedy Center for American College Theater Festival. City leaders are hoping they will come back as more than just visitors
On Monday, a small group of students were in the Orpheum Theater Center turning scraps of material into costumes. The fitting room workshop is a tailor-made part of the festival to help them develop future careers in theatre.
“This is my third year at the festival and it’s like the coolest thing ever,” Nora Sonneborn said.
Sonneborn is a theater student in Bloomington, Minnesota. Even though she’s our neighbor, this is her first time Sioux Falls.
“People are so nice and it’s awesome,” Sonneborn said.
Missouri theater student Savannah Scarbrough is also stepping into the role of first-time visitor here.
“I love it. The city’s really beautiful even with the cold, it’s still gorgeous,” Scarbrough said.
The surge of college students is a unique opportunity for Sioux Falls to market itself and encourage the newcomers to move and work here after they finish school.
“I mean, they’re the age we want to move here,” Teri Schmidt, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.
Schmidt says the local businesses, venues and our hospitality are all tools to shed light on what living here would be like.
“They’re looking for their future, so it’s up to us as a community to open that door and extend a welcoming hand,” Schmidt said.
Brady Mallory: When you’re done with school, if a job opportunity arose here, would you look into it?
Sonneborn: Yeah, definitely.
These students are visitors, but by the end of the week, they may see why Sioux Falls could be their perfect fit.
“You know, I probably wouldn’t have considered it before coming here because I had no idea what Sioux Falls was like and now I do,” Sonneborn said.