Advocacy in the Age of COVID

James Palmarini

EdTA Director of Educational Policy

The current pandemic has upended everyone’s lives, both personally and professionally. Despite the challenges of our time, we know that theatre education matters more than ever in the age of COVID. Educators, parents, students, and other supporters need to “make the case” for why theatre experiences are important for students as they re-enter the education environment in the 2020-21 school year. Join EdTA Director of Educational Policy James Palmarini to walk through a step-by-step grassroots strategy for advocating on behalf of your theatre programs with school and legislative decision-makers. Be prepared to talk, plan, and brainstorm. We’re stronger together than apart.

The Aerosol Disbursement Study

James Weaver

Director of Performing Arts and Sports for the National Federation of High School State Associations

In May, the National Federation of High Schools, the College Band Directors National Association, and a coalition of more than 125 performing arts organizations — including EdTA — commissioned a study on aerosol rates produced by activities in music, speech, debate, and theatre. Over the last few months, researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Maryland have conducted testing to determine the risk of COVID-19 infection that disbursement of aerosol droplets can cause in varying performance situations. In this session, Dr. James Weaver, director of Performing Arts and Sports for NFHS, will review the findings to date and discuss how they might impact theatrical performance in the 2020-21 school year.

All’s Well that Blends Well: Blended Learning in the Arts Classroom

Alexander Nathan Kanter

Master Instructor of Theatre, Indian River State College

Nicole Schuller

Media Specialist, Astronaut High School

With many school districts now requiring the effective integration of technology and online learning into classroom curricula, theatre teachers often feel left behind, ill-equipped, or under-trained to find discipline-specific teaching methods that demonstrate student technology mastery. This workshop will introduce the trending educational system of “Blended Learning” and explore ways theatre teachers can incorporate this technology-friendly methodology in their performing arts classrooms. We will discuss the fundamentals of Blended Learning, specific activities and technological tools that can be used to support theatre curricula, and how to demonstrate theatre students’ effective mastery of technology to administrators.

The BACKstage Exam

James Palmarini

EdTA Director of Educational Policy

Dana Taylor

Teaching Artist

The Educational Theatre Association and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) are collaborating to launch the BACKstage Technical Theatre Pilot Exam, a digital test for high school students designed to measure their competency in a broad range of technical theatre knowledge. The exam, written by a team of teachers and industry professionals, will be conducted in two parts — a pre- and post-test — in schools throughout the United States. Approximately 10,000 students are scheduled to take the exam during the 2020-21 school year. Join longtime Teaching Theatre technical editor Dana Taylor and EdTA Director of Educational Policy James Palmarini for an overview of the exam and a Q&A about its content and purpose.

Culturally Responsive Theatre Education

Joshua Streeter

James Madison University Associate School Director, Assistant Professor of Theatre: Theatre Education

This workshop will investigate culturally responsive education and provide applications for the secondary classroom. Together, we will identify steps a teacher can take to unpack their own practice and rethink their curriculum and methods. Then, we will explore ways to develop a classroom community (virtually or face-to-face) rooted in culturally responsive practice.

Digital Storytelling

Joshua Streeter

James Madison University Associate School Director, Assistant Professor of Theatre: Theatre Education

This workshop will explore how to create digital stories to bring personal narratives into the classroom. This form connects to a study of performance, design, directing, and dramaturgy.

Digitizing the Fourth Wall

Tim Kashani

Apples and Oranges Studio

From staged readings to full productions, virtual galas to audience engagement, the theatrical world must rethink how to proceed, putting innovation center stage. School theatre is no exception. In this session, Apples and Oranges Arts co-founder Tim Kashani (Broadway: Hair, Memphis, and An American in Paris), a leading producer of virtual entertainment ― and production advisor to Virtual ITF ― will share practical advice for all aspects of virtual theatre productions: presentation, content development, rehearsal, education, and development.

EdTA’s Recommendations for Reopening School Theatre Programs

James Palmarini

EdTA Director of Educational Policy

The Educational Theatre Association’s Recommendations for Reopening School Theatre Programs guide was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of helping schools nationwide decide how best to restart their theatre programs safely in the 2020-21 school year. Since the guide’s release in June, the ability of schools to do so has continued to evolve, with variation throughout the country. In this session, EdTA Director of Educational Policy James Palmarini will review the guide’s suggested protocols, advisories, and resources and engage in an open discussion with attendees about how they are re-engaging students in both instruction and performance as the school year begins.

Embodying Character

Paul-Robert Pryce

HB Studio

Michelle “Mitch” Uranowitz

HB Studio

Participants will be led through a basic physical warmup that explores the actor’s “neutral body.” From there, we will use simple text analysis as the springboard for character building. Drawing from the Uta Hagen technique as well as Rudolph Laban’s psychological gestures, we will dive into ways of building strong and clear gestural language that supports an actor’s ability to make quick, assertive, and grounded choices about character, whether it be in scene study or in the audition room. The presentation explores ways in which students can translate ideas from the text to their bodies.

Engaging Your Students, Your Audience, & Yourself in a Changed World

Projects with Jason Creative Team

Projects with Jason

Jeff Daniels

Artist-in-Residence, Projects with Jason

Carey Crim

Artist-in-Residence, Projects with Jason

Members from the Projects with Jason creative team will lead an interactive workshop highlighting ways educators can leverage available resources and create their own, using tools developed in the classroom and on and off the virtual stage. PwJ artists-in-residence Jeff Daniels (Emmy Award-winning actor) and Carey Crim (professional playwright) join the live discussions.

Sponsored Workshop:

Projects With Jason

How to Succeed at Streaming: A Step-By-Step Guide

Jason Goldstein


Gain specific takeaways on how your show can go on in a virtual environment. Through the lens of BookTix, we will demystify the elements needed to stream a theatrical production, from selecting and setting up your video and audio equipment, configuring software, selling and tracking tickets, clearing required licenses, developing marketing tools to engage virtual audiences, giving your video a polished look, and more. Even beginners will feel ready to livestream following this practical and informative workshop.

Sponsored Workshop:


Hybrid? Virtual? In Person? No Problem!

Cory Wilkerson

Educational Theatre Association, Education Manager

Explore the possibilities of EdTA's Theatre Educator Pro "Click to Teach" curriculum series with Education Manager Cory Wilkerson. Learn how to use these online resources no matter how instruction happens.

Keep Making Theatre Happen with Concord Theatricals: Virtual & Digital Rights and Flexible Season Planning

Rosemary Bucher

Amateur Licensing Coordinator, Concord Theatricals

Gabriela Morales

Amateur Licensing Coordinator, Concord Theatricals

How do you plan a season when the future keeps changing? Join Concord Theatricals’ Amateur Licensing Coordinators Rosemary Bucher and Gabriela Morales as they share insights about the evolving landscape of educational theatre licensing, especially when it comes to choosing shows for your upcoming season. They’ll review the difference between digital and virtual rights, information to include in your license request, what type of storytelling your community most needs right now, and more. Plus, bring your questions and thoughts for an open and uplifting discussion about how to make theatre happen during this time.

Sponsored Workshop:

Concord Theatricals

Licensing for Production or Livestream with Dramatists Play Service's Craig Pospisil

Craig Pospisil

Dramatists Play Service

Craig Pospisil, director of nonprofessional licensing for Dramatists Play Service, will talk about finding plays and licensing them during the pandemic, and particularly about getting the rights for video streaming of performances over the internet. Plays available for streaming, restricted plays, and brand new plays by DPS playwrights written especially for streaming media will all be discussed. Come with questions!

Sponsored Workshop:

Dramatists Play Service

A Primer for Teaching Under COVID-19

Donny Covington

Tech Theatre Educator, Richardson Tech Theatre Magnet School, Richardson, Texas

Christopher Trevino

Assistant Technical Director, University of Texas, Dallas

Join the authors of EdTA's "Primer for Teaching Under COVID-19" to explore the best tips for teaching theatre in virtual or hybrid situations and a way forward out of the chaos of 2020. Learn best practices for putting together an online class, ideas for bringing virtual productions to life, and ways to engage and communicate with your students. Explore the authors' plans for reinvigorating their practice by treating the 2020-21 school year as an investment year. Come away with new ideas you can use right away and hope for the future.

Re/Directing Practice: Cultivating Safe Space in Rehearsal & Production

Jade Lambert-Smith

Founder of PG Entertainment and Troupe Director

Using popularly performed plays for high school audiences, Jade Lambert-Smith will workshop optimal practices for developing a fully inclusive production and rehearsal process. Teachers will reflect on their role when producing theatre written by artists of color and/or traditional theatre casting BIPOC performers. Participants will also examine opportunities to create a safe space for all performers to excel in rehearsal and performance by addressing common pitfalls that occur due to unconscious bias.

The Show Can Go on After the Pandemic: Live Streaming and More ...

Jim Hoare

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW)

What is livestreaming? What shows can be streamed? Can I make cuts and adapt a show for social distancing? How will licensing fees be calculated if I cannot fill my house? Are licensing fees negotiable? Jim Hoare (TRW) and Jason Goldstein (BookTix Live) will lead you through the process and answer your questions.

Sponsored Workshop:


Streaming & Expanding Your Live Theatre Audience

Steel Wallis


Jeff Tidwell


Learn about ShowTix4U, an online ticketing, content creation, and streaming platform. Developed for school and community theatre makers, ShowTix4U has incorporated numerous streaming options and integrations with leading licensing houses. Created by a global leader in production resources with more than 20 years of experience developing arts software and supporting organizations across the United States and Canada, the ShowTix4U platform is built for ease-of-use to celebrate the theatre you make.

Sponsored Workshop:


Streaming & Licensing

John Prignano

Music Theatre International (MTI)

Join MTI’s Chief Operations Officer and Director of Development and Education John Prignano for an informal session about licensing and producing shows during this new and challenging time. He will discuss MTI’s new streaming platform, answer important questions about MTI’s policies, and provide guidance on streaming your next MTI show.

Sponsored Workshop:


Streamplays: Creating Live Theatre Productions Online

Eamonn Farrell

Video Designer, Anonymous Ensemble Theatre

Liz Davito

Sound Designer, Anonymous Ensemble Theatre

Lucrecia Briceno

Lighting Designer, Anonymous Ensemble Theatre

Members of Anonymous Ensemble offer a workshop geared toward the creation of live theatrical productions online. Learn how to make work in this exciting new medium by translating skills you already possess as a theatre maker.

Teaching Acting Online: Let's Get Creative!

Brian Jennings

Head of the Theatre Department, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

Learn successful strategies for teaching acting online using scene work, monologues, and creative video assignments to engage and instruct.

Teaching Through Online Games: The Roses & the Thorns

Debra Macut

Lead Teacher, Hershey Area Playhouse

Jill Panyard

Theatre Academy Director, Hershey Area Playhouse

Two popular EdTA presenters, Jill Panyard and Debra Macut, share the challenges and successes of teaching performance skills online using theatre games. Tips for students in grades K-12.

Technology for Distance Learning in Musical Theatre

Realtime Music Solutions

In light of the pandemic’s obvious effects on musical theatre programs, we’ll discuss the benefits and challenges of technology in the COVID era. We’ll review the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to remote rehearsing and theatre education. We’ll also demonstrate our Rehearsal Live Share technology, which allows you to work remotely with ensembles of performers, singers, and musicians without the lag and synchronization issues commonly associated with Internet-based music-making. Finally, we’ll talk about best practices for running sessions smoothly when you need to be on the same page but can’t be in the same space.

Sponsored Workshop:


Writing & Directing a Play for Virtual Production

Nik Sorocenski

Director of Marketing, Playscripts

Ian McWethy


Playscripts’ Director of Marketing Nik Sorocenski sits down with playwright Ian McWethy to discuss how to put on a virtual production. You'll hear about the process of writing a Zoom play, tips for first-time directors, and more. Plus, learn about new products and policies Playscripts has put in place to help educators keep the curtain up.

Sponsored Workshop:

Bway Licensing Co & Playscripts

More workshops will be added as they are confirmed. Please check back frequently.