Workshops

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Workshops are 90-minute drop-in courses available to all registered EdTA National Conference delegates. Additional workshops will be added leading up to Conference. Check back periodically for updates.

Browse workshop categories:

ACTING/IMPROV

Acting Through Your Gut Not Through Your Head (Fredricksen)
This workshop will explore the radical acting techniques of the 1960s such as those used by the Living Theatre, Open Theater, and Joseph Chaikin. These sound and movement techniques will challenge your students to explore what their bodies and voices can do to express themselves. Once my students embraced these techniques, everything else became easier to teach. By the end of the workshop, you will be able to teach your students to act scenes through their gut. See my article in the January Teaching Theatre.

Back to Basics: Focus on Acting and Professionalism to Change the Game (Mahany)
In this workshop, we’ll discuss how a focus on acting and professionalism can positively change the game for their students — those moving forward toward careers in theatre and those not. I’ll explain my findings on what seems to work best for student performers, from my point of view as a professional New York actor and an artist with a passion for theatre and arts education. Together with teachers, I’ll discuss and proffer thoughts on how best to approach curriculum that will guide students toward fruitful college and professional careers.

Improv: How to Be Present, Connect, Communicate, and Spread Happiness (Rock)
Improv is an amazing tool for improving communication, confidence, and creativity. This workshop will help you understand how to use improv to be more present and connect with people in any interaction — how to engage more deeply, listen generously, find agreement faster, accept uncertainty and mistakes as opportunities, and be more open to possibilities as they appear. It’s not at all about being funny. It’s about being present, in the moment, combining forces, cooperating, and having fun while you’re at it.

Shakespeare Whispers into Your Ear: First Folio Technique (Long)
Crack the code and unlock the secrets to performing Shakespeare’s work. Explore the language and theatre of the world’s greatest playwright through the First Folio of 1623. Using Shakespeare’s methods, you will learn how to interpret text and build a foundation for inspiring performances. First Folio Technique is the foundation of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where Kevin Long frequently teaches.

Teaching Accents in School (Rose)
Theatre students are frequently asked to work with accents and dialects — from main stage productions to improv clubs. Teachers often feel overwhelmed and unable to teach accents. This workshop will give you the tools and confidence you need to teach accents — in a fun and engaging way.

Teaching Improvisation: Enhancing Your Theatre Classroom (Bailey)
Thanks to the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, students are more interested in improvisation now than ever. If you’re like most theatre teachers, you probably never had any formal training in improv. This workshop will present a practical approach to teaching improv that will provide a deep dive into skills to enhance all aspects of your theatre classroom with easy, fun, and effective techniques that you can use tomorrow. Take back control from those 15-year-old boys who think they know more about improvisation than you do.

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Defending Your Shows (Sherman)
The shows you select for production can be prohibited in advance or canceled even after rehearsals are underway. We’ll explore a range of opposition that can arise, sometimes from the unlikeliest of places and on the unlikeliest of titles, and discuss how teachers can — and can’t — fight for work they believe has value for their students and the school as a whole. We’ll look at specific cases and the larger issues at stake, including free speech, copyright, censorship, and the value of plays and musicals in the secondary school experience.

Moving Beyond Participation: Capturing Data-Driven Assessment Evidence (Moss, Moss)
We know theatre must be assessed like any subject. But it’s tricky to evaluate something so subjective … or is it?  In this three-hour Learn and Create Lab, master how to create valid, strong assessments for your drama classes that provide the evidence you need to make data-driven curriculum decisions. Dive into the pros and cons of assessment strategies as you are led through practical assessment advice in generating formative and summative assessments using student’s written responses. Take your assessments beyond the participation grade and capture tangible evidence of your students’ progression. *Double workshop session*

The Parent Factor: How to Build an Effective Parent Booster Group (Rutherford)
Finding yourself in need of an effective and functioning parent booster group to help build your theatre program but not sure how to do it? This workshop will explain specific functions of the Groves Performing Arts Company Boosters, how they work to support the theatre department and theatre director-teacher, and how they help advocate for theatre arts in the school district.

Revenue Streams: Getting the Most from Your Show Financially (Lucio)
Finding the money for your productions is a great challenge for new artists and teachers. This workshop will delve into ideas and solutions for finding revenue for the shows you’re producing. Led by Tony-winning producer Meredith Lucio, we will discuss the revenue streams you already exploit (and possible ways to get more out of them) and new ideas from professional theatre, including a discussion of what works and what doesn’t.

CAREER READINESS

Have Fun or Quit: How Does Your Garden Grow? (Hamilton)
This workshop is about planting seeds in our careers — and our lives — as we work toward allowing those dreams deep inside us to grow and come to life. As theatre artists and educators, we have a unique opportunity to reinvent how we think about our paths toward success. Creating daily commitments, reinventing the challenging parts of our careers, and taking steps toward planting a career garden we can tend and watch bloom is what this workshop is all about.

Let Me Try That Again (Schultheis)
In this workshop, you will learn a way to process failure. We will explore how to transform failure, shame, embarrassment, loss, and mortification into something new and useful, then learn from it, create from it, and celebrate it.

CURRICULUM/TEACHING

Authentic and Intentional Tech Theatre Instruction in Audio (Zeigler)
Integrating technical theatre skills with text-based script analysis, connecting student work to the process of presenting a production, helping students understand the jump from intention to impact — these are the skills you will gain from this workshop. Specifically, you will be introduced to a sound design unit created for the Model Curriculum Framework project that leads students from design to production. And you will learn ideas for integrating this into your low-tech or high-tech classroom.

Creating Curriculum: Reimagining and Reinventing Your Given Circumstances (Maddox)
It’s a new year. Is it a new you — or is it the same old, same old in your classroom? Want new ideas and to think about your classroom from a different point of view? This workshop will challenge you to map your curriculum and address trouble spots head-on, using ideas centered on student ownership. This workshop is best suited for classroom teachers but can also be adapted for those in after-school programs or theatre clubs. Reinvent your year.

Exploring the Other: Culturally Responsive Theatre Curriculum (Perrino)
At its core, culturally responsive teaching means there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum. Different students in different places need to learn different lessons. Culturally responsive teaching eschews formulaic curriculum developed outside of students’ surroundings and without their specific communities in mind. This workshop is a curriculum unit based in first-person texts customized by your class to include specific voices left out of classroom discussions. Full of mix-and-match modules, your class will design their course of study to find insights into those they see as “other.”

Moment Work by Tectonic Theater Project
For more than two decades, members of Tectonic Theater Project have rigorously experimented with theatrical creation. In this three-hour Learn and Create Lab, you’ll explore devising theatre in the classroom and learn the tools to create original theatre. The lab is built on Moment Work as described in the book Moment Work: Tectonic Theater Project’s Process of Devising Theater by Moisés Kaufman and Barbara Pitts McAdams. *Double workshop session*

Puppetry Play Shop for Teachers and Directors (Baumgartner)
How can puppetry help you teach global topics and help students find their artistic voices? Join Aretta Baumgartner, education director of Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, to learn how to open new doors to creativity and inclusivity through using puppets in class and on stage.

Teaching with Viola Spolin’s Side-coaching Techniques (Reggi)
In this workshop, participants will discover how side-coaching is a key practice in developing students’ speaking and listening skills and how side-coaching provides feedback to students during class discussions of acting concepts and improv games.

DANCE/MOVEMENT

Getting a Bit Punchy: Comical Fight Scenes and Falls (LeClair)
Things sometimes get a bit punchy in a theatre class. Comic pratfalls, trips, and headbutts into walls are commonplace in many farces and satires. Slapstick and goofball fights are hard to coordinate safely. Here’s your chance to yuck it up on stage with your kids. In this workshop, we’ll cover safe and fun ways to pull of hilarious small stunts and fights you can use in your shows and classroom.

The 12-Step Program (Curl)
Musical theatre dance is made up of the same basic steps done in different orders with different arms. Learn the basics of musical theatre dance that you can incorporate into your programs and musicals. Be prepared (not scared) to move and come with a willingness to participate. In this interactive workshop, you will learn the basics of musical theatre dance that can be configured in a multitude of ways.

DIRECTING/DRAMATURGY

Exploring Theatrical Interpreting (Fuller, Maphey)
Historically, the deaf and hard of hearing communities have had limited access to live theatrical experiences. You will learn foundational skills necessary to work with interpreters on stage. We will discuss the pros and cons of the four main forms of stage interpreting: traditional platform, artistic platform, zoned, and shadowed. You will also learn fundamental theatrical techniques necessary and appropriate to interpreted performances. Implementing these theatrical styles frequently leads to paradigm shifts in the cast, crew, audience, and broader community.

Fight Like a Playwright: Telling the Story of a Stage Fight (Daehn)
When the script simply says, “They fight,” what does the director do? This workshop explores the essential questions you must answer before staging the blow, kicks, and thrusts — if you want to create a fight that reveals character, advances the story, and thrills your audience.

Open Your Eyes to Blind Auditions (McDaniel, Samu)
We have biases. You may not like us saying that, but it’s true. We’ve been doing blind auditions for years, and they are wonderfully freeing. Allow us to show you how to think outside the box and let the talent speak and sing for itself. Learn to get rid of your fear (false evidence appearing real) of a blind audition. And, yes, we have answers to questions directors and choreographers ask all the time about blind auditions. We will give you a comprehensive set of skills and tools to bring blind auditions to your theatre.

DIVERSITY/INCLUSION

Creating More Opportunities for Inclusion in Theatre (Little)
Directing a show in educational environments offers many challenges. How to include more students and participants is one. This workshop will explore how to create more opportunities for students with learning and physical disabilities, thus expanding how we can make theatre more inclusive and provide a platform for all students to be seen and heard.

The Cultural Proficiency Continuum: Where Is Your Theatre Program? (Fleming)
This workshop will introduce the work of the Cultural Proficiency Continuum. You will have an opportunity to reflect on your practice and the environment of your school and community. We will explore the six points on the continuum and discuss barriers that can prevent programs from moving from one point to the next. You will have the opportunity to brainstorm short-term and long-term goals for your personal life and theatre program.

Seven Simple Steps to a Sensory-Friendly Production (Belopavlovich)
Have you thought about offering an accessible theatre experience through your school’s drama program? This hands-on workshop will guide you through seven easily achieved, budget-friendly steps you can take to turn your school performance into a sensory-friendly event.

Speak Truth to Power: Creating Theatre on Human Rights (Sklaire, Watson)
Theatre has a direct link to social change. Ariel Dorfman’s play Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark, designed for RFK Human Rights, is a tool to address human rights issues. This workshop will guide you on the journey of human rights defenders — from oppression to speaking truth to power. We will explore monologues by well-known human rights activists and everyday defenders through theatrical exercises such as Role on Wall and others from Theatre of the Oppressed, tableaux, and personal journey explorations.

MUSICAL THEATRE/VOICE

Breathing Life into Your Ensemble and Tricking Them into Acting (Hibbard)
Dying to breathe life into your ensemble? Struggling to reach inside each student, desperate for some life or intention? In this workshop, I will demystify the song, introduce the Stanislavski-Meisner “acting is doing” idea using an easy, simple method of actions and tactics … and notecards. Using Newsies “Seize the Day,” we will discuss how to identify the main objective and use actions, tactics, and intentions to obtain it — ultimately making the songs mean something to your ensemble and, more important, to your audience.

Hip-Hop Theatre: Finding Your Voice Though Verse (Glover)
Want to make a hip-hop musical in 40 minutes? Students will learn different methods of creative writing (poetry, hip-hop, storytelling) and how they can be used in writing a story or play. We will discuss the differences between verse and prose, several poetic terms and literary devices, and the ways they could be used in writing a play. We will also discuss the process of writing a script that connects to the writer, creating a role perfect for them. This workshop will conclude with you forming short plays through verse and creative writing, which will be performed.

TECH THEATRE/DESIGN

The Process of Production: Strategies for Teaching Tech (Miller)
Teaching technical theatre and design is complex, detailed, and exciting, but teaching students industry-standard skills and vocabulary can be challenging in a secondary school venue. This workshop will help you navigate the needs of student learning versus the production requirements — all within the limitations and budgets of your spaces.

Theatrical Safety 101 to 1001: Implement and Run a Safety Program, (Huneycutt, Petruska)
Learn how to develop a theatrical safety culture, whether you’re starting a program from scratch, maintaining an existing one, or fixing a system that isn’t working. Discover simple, effective, and cheap ways to begin every production the correct way: safely.

WRITING/COMPOSING

Everything You Need to Know You Can Learn from Star Wars (Buck)
What do Mrs. Lovett and Darth Vader have in common? How is “Rose’s Turn” like the Rebel attack on the Death Star? Who’s your fun-tagonist? Wait, what is a fun-tagonist? Experience how classic screenplay story structure can help create better musicals. Presented at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and various high schools and universities, this workshop by librettist Sammy Buck shows how classic screenplay structure translates into memorable characters, song moments, and stories of musical theatre greats — old, new, and yet-to-be.

Reimagining the Past: Values-Based Playwriting (Muasher)
How can we come to terms with classics of dramatic literature that don’t reflect modern values? How do we talk to students about problematic works considered an essential part of the canon? In this workshop, you will explore how to engage students in rewarding discussions and activities that tackle this head-on. We will examine how Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew reflects the values of its era and work collaboratively to reimagine it for today.

Tapping into the Hidden Impulses in Your Writing (Bromka)
Actors are natural storytellers, so one way your students can strengthen their communicative powers is by creating stories. Even if you don’t see yourself as a writer, how can you unearth the telling details that make writing come alive? By getting out of your head. Learn an unorthodox and eye-opening approach to writing that’s easily replicated. Bring pen and paper — and park your self-judgment at the door