Professional Development Intensives


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.

The University of Northern Colorado is able to offer graduate credits for those attending the professional development intensives. View details.

Thursday, September 19, 2019  9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


How Do I Fill Nine Months?: Building Class Plans Full of Diverse Curriculum *Class Full*

All levels of experience

Shawnda Moss

Shawnda Moss works for the Utah State Board of Education as an education specialist and educator preparation program specialist. She taught in the BYU theatre education and directing programs and created the Theatre Education Curriculum Database. She received degrees in directing, theatre education, and theatre for young audiences. Early in her teaching career she established a theatre program that was respected statewide in theatre educator’s circles. She continues to work with theatre students as a curriculum generator, master class instructor, and play director. She loves to perform and can be seen acting on local stages whenever her busy life allows.

A student asks the dreaded question: What are we doing in class tomorrow? You have no idea. Often you are just one step ahead of your students. Learn how to create curriculum that leads to semester or yearlong class plans full of diverse performative and academic units for your students. Working backward with the big picture in mind provides strategies for generating class plans for all levels of theatre arts classes. You no longer fear that question from your students because you have developed yearlong curriculum plans that will keep them excited, engaged, and developing their theatre arts skills.


Practical Viewpoints: Facts and Fixes

Advanced experience/skills - 301

Greg Hellems

Greg Hellems is professor of acting and musical theatre and head of the B.F.A. musical theatre program at Wright State University. As a professional director-choreographer, Hellems works across the U.S. and Canada in regional and educational theatre and for national and international theme parks and cruise lines. He is on the faculty of Interlochen Arts Camp as director-choreographer for the high school musical production and musical theatre intensive. He received his M.F.A. in directing from University of Cincinnati-CCM. Viewpoints training with Anne Bogart and SITI Company and with Tina Landau as assistant director on several productions.

This six-hour workshop is divided into two parts. Part one will be an introduction or refresher in the physical practice and use of Viewpoints. With the help of a takeaway lesson plan, you will have practical tools to expand your students’ imaginative power, ability to improvise, and physical creativity. Part two will be an interactive experience in which participants can submit questions or problems about the teaching or use of Viewpoints before the start of the session. The answers can be added to personalize your lesson plan.


Teaching National Core Arts Standards Through Playback Theatre

All levels of experience

Gordon Hensley

Gordon Hensley holds a B.S. in teaching theatre grades K-12 and an M.F.A. in theatre education. He is a professor and director of the theatre education program at Appalachian State University. Gordon created and teaches a college course in theatre for social change and another using Playback Theatre. He has worked professionally with Essential Theatre in Phoenix as a Playback Theatre practitioner and has performed in or directed more than 80 productions. Gordon has an extensive background in facilitating teacher training and in-curriculum development.

This highly interactive workshop explores Playback Theatre performance techniques for the classroom. Playback is a heavily improvisation-based technique that transforms real-life stories into theatre pieces. Using the National Core Arts Anchor Standards as a framework, participants will conceive, perform, understand, and relate to Playback Theatre as a teaching pedagogy and a way to develop artistic literacy with students. Topics include an overview of Playback, National Core Arts Standards, specific training in Playback techniques of fluid sculpture and three sole, conductor training, and a review of how this genre connects to the Common Core.


Teaching Your Students to Costume, from Concept to Stage

All levels of experience

Shirlee Idzakovich

Shirlee Idzakovich is a costume designer from New York City. She is an award-winning costumer with more than 100 shows under her belt. Credits from New York City: Austen’s Pride, Crashlight, A Little Princess, Roughly Speaking, Dracula. Regional: Woman in Black, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Secret Garden, South Pacific. Ballet: Don Quixote, Coppélia. International: Miss Saigon. Many workshops of shows as well as a contributing editor of costuming plots. Her passion is teaching the next generation of costumers so they are ready for work. NEA/EdTA Curriculum Frame Team; university speaker; guest artist.

Let’s start from the beginning. You do shows, you need costumes, and now you have kids who want to help. Let me show you how to teach them, from concept to stage. We will start with how to make their own croqui and then how to sketch (even the non-drawing people) and map out the costume plot, from budgeting to gathering materials to making or using found objects, to pull together their costume for the stage.


We Write the Story: Producing Student Works

All levels of experience

Leslie Van Leishout

Leslie Van Leishout’s diverse background includes the Vancouver Film School and Washington Shakespeare Festival. She was theater education coordinator at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, high school theatre teacher/troupe director for more than 20 years, and Washington Thespian co-chapter director. She has written articles for Teaching Theatre and been on the EdTA National Individual Events rubric committee, Arts Standards and Assessments in Washington State, and National Coalition for CORE Arts Standards. Awards include two EdTA Outstanding Theatre Department Awards, Washington State Golden Apple, and induction into both the Washington State and EdTA halls of fame.

Would you like to see every student in your department shine? Allow every student that wants into the play to perform? Combine all theatre learning into one amazing project? Then come to We Write the Story and learn how to make the magic happen year after year. This formula combines student writers, producers, directors, actors, and technicians into an original performance piece that allows everyone to be a star. Join this class to get all the resources you need to make it happen at your school.

Sunday, September 22, 2019 – 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Main Stage Adjudication Training

Intermediate skills/experience - 201

This workshop provides emerging and experienced adjudicators a practicum in main stage adjudication for certification and re-certification. It takes practice to learn how to phrase comments for directors who are highly protective of their productions. The adjudication forms include summative assessment benchmarks that provide recommendations for directors to use as lessons for future productions with their students and for EdTA staff to determine whether to invite schools for main stage production. An effective adjudicator requires: extensive knowledge of all styles and types of theatre, a sensitivity to students’ ages and abilities, an understanding of the physical theatre (including the limitations of school physical plants), and an ability to write comments that encourage qualitative improvement and progress in the art of theatre. After viewing videos of high school productions, participants will practice writing effective critiques, discuss these, and edit them based on feedback of how a director might view the comments.  Pre-registration required | No Charge | Not eligible for CEU credit.