Professional Development Intensives

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PDIs are in-depth, six-hour courses taught by experts and thought-leaders in the field of theatre education. They provide an opportunity for an educator to deepen understanding and hone skills on a specific topic. Completion of a PDI enables attendees to apply for graduate credit or earn continuing education credit. Pre-registration is required for all PDIs.


Theatre History: It’s Not Just Names and Titles

Curriculum/Teaching Techniques

Shawnda Moss

Theatre history, like all good instruction, is complex, interconnected, relevant, and integral to the foundation of all theatre practice. Unfortunately, too often theatre history becomes a dry, boring, memorization unit of obscure facts, names, and titles. Make your theatre history curriculum better with engaging, active, student-centered strategies to explore and experience the principles, people, and events of theatre throughout time. Bullet points and classifications have their use, but they’re not nearly enough. Give theatre history a home in your theatre curriculum, and you’ll find there’s likely a moment of history in every lesson you teach.


Jason LeClair

Combat in Context: Acting with Stage Combat


Jason Robert LeClair

Combat in Context explores acting alongside stage fight choreography within a scene. Three types of combat and three of the most famous combat scenes are covered in the session. Participants will learn how to escalate choreography to relay to the audience the conflict and climax of the scene with movement attached to the dialogue. Every director should know what to look for in safe fight choreography and how to best set up what they want to see happen to get to the truth of a scene.


Adam Rose

Speech for the High School Actor: Explore the FUNdamentals of Speaking for the Stage


Adam Michael Rose

Experience a new, skills-based speech pedagogy that colleges and conservatories nationwide are starting to use. This action-packed workshop is based on the principles of Knight-Thompson Speechwork, and it will dive into key elements of the vocal tract, explore a wide range of speech actions, and take you on a tour of sounds used in languages from around the world. Whether you’re new to the speech game or a seasoned pro, you’re invited to experience a fun new set of speech games and exercises that will prepare high school actors for better clarity and intelligibility for the stage.


Shirlee Idzakovich

Teaching Your Students To Be Costumers

Costume Design/ Construction

Shirlee Idzakovich

Do you have students interested in costuming, but you don’t know where to start in teaching them? Leaving this session, you will be able to teach all the students in your theatre department how to render costumes, conduct character analysis, research character choices, plan budgets for costuming, and follow through with costumes. An all-inclusive workshop on how to teach students about costuming and the careers involved in the process.




Bruce Miller headshot

A Guidebook for Directing the Student Actor


Bruce Miller

This session will provide teachers with a useful approach to getting the best possible acting work from their students in a production — work that is clear, compelling, and believable. The day’s work will focus on specific directing essentials including script analysis, blocking, and good storytelling through tangible actions. We will examine the overall story of the play, the scene, the beat, and the moment with the purpose of using craft to make each as effective as possible. Teachers will also explore ways to communicate with their students clearly, concisely, and effectively in the spirit of collaboration.


Erin Carr headshot

Discovery Through a River of Viewpoints


Erin Carr

Explore the relationship between Jerzy Grotowski’s psychophysical work and the Six Viewpoints, created by Mary Overlie. We will begin by exploring the Six Viewpoints of time, shape, space, emotion, movement, and story and discover the connection to impulse response. Then, we will follow this path into Grotowski’s rivers, bridging desire and instinct. Through this work, we will explore the relationship between movement and emotional/imaginative associations, as well as the application with text.


Gai Laing Jones headshot

Main Stage Adjudication Practicum

Adjudication Training

Gai Laing Jones

This free professional development session provides an educational practicum in EdTA main stage adjudication for emerging and experienced adjudicators. Learning how to phrase adjudicator comments to distribute to theatre directors who are highly protective of their students’ and their own creative production takes practice. The EdTA main stage adjudication forms include summative assessment benchmarks that provide recommendations for theatre directors to use with students as lessons for future productions and allow the EdTA staff to determine total points to invite schools as part of the International Thespian Festival.