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Professional Development Intensives


The Educational Theatre Association’s Professional Development Intensives (PDIs) programs consist of one- or two-day interactive, hands-on opportunities for theatre educators to develop their arsenal of professional skills on a specific topic. Topics range from directing a musical to curriculum development to stage lighting.

EdTA's PDI seminars also allows attendees to advance a graduate degree or earn credit required for continuing education.

The PDI program is typically run in conjunction with other Association events, such as the Thespian Festival or the National Conference. Attendees can minimize their time out of the classroom, maximize their budget for professional development, and allow for wider networking opportunities.

If you are interested in teaching a PDI at one of our events, please fill out a proposal.


Confirmed PDIs

2015 EdTA National Conference

Thursday, October 1
9:00am - 3:00pm

A guidebook for the high school director, Bruce Miller
This PDI will provide teachers with a useful approach to mounting a high school production that focuses on what student actors should be doing on stage. The day’s work will focus on directing essentials such as script analysis and synthesis, blocking, character development, and telling the story through action. We will discuss how to examine and craft plays, scenes, beats, and moments. Teachers will explore ways to communicate with their students clearly and effectively in the spirit of collaboration.

Improv: It’s not just for comedy anymore, Missy Whitis
Many think of improv as unscripted comedy, but it can apply to any form of spontaneous theatre. Improv teaches creativity, innovation, communication, teamwork, and leadership. This six hour intensive on improv has five sections:

  1. Pedagogy (a.k.a. Jokers belong with Batman)—We will discuss why and how to teach improv.
  2. Storytelling and playtime: Bringing order to chaos—We will explore classroom methods that demonstrate how to incorporate improv all year long as we strengthen theatre games using motivation and collaborative and connective learning.
  3. The boy band way—We will discuss different types of improvisers and how to find each student’s unique gift.
  4. It’s not about being funny—We will tackle exercises to spark immediate engagement from students.
  5. Bringing it all together—We will discuss how teaching the rules of improv and continued application will change your critical assessment and conception of how your students “do” improv. Your students will thank you for raising the bar!

Sunday, October 4
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Character creation through mask and mime, James Van Leishout
Mask and mime can free the actor from an over-reliance on dialogue and the face. This freedom allows the body to participate more fully in the character creation process. Together, we will explore the blank mask, stock outside/in masks, the inner mask, and discover how mime is created through isolation, props, and attention to detail in everyday activities.

Directing tablework: Unlocking the door to dynamic performance, Amy Feinberg
How can a director best communicate with actors to shape performances within a unified version? In this intensive, we will explore the actor/director relationship and how to craft connection, specificity, and meaning to unlock the door to an organic process that begins with the script, works with impulses to guide blocking, and ultimately results in grounded, active, and driven performances. This session puts the techniques of Meisner and Stanislavsky to work on the director’s side of the table, while encouraging buy-in and ownership of the crafting from actors.