Workshops

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Workshops are 90-minute drop-in courses available to all registered EdTA National Conference delegates. Access the event details, workshop schedule, and more by downloading the 2019 EdTA National Conference Guide

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.

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.

The Stanislavski Method: Finding Your Images (Hopkins)
Explore Stanislavski's concept of images through the lens of emotion and empathy. Engaging in activities based on Stanisklavski's "art of experiencing," build your knowledge and repertoire with hands-on exercises that teach students to connect with real emotion and portray truth onstage.

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.

ADVOCACY

Political Game of Thrones (Veneris)
Not all states are the same and politics can look like a real-life version of Game of Thrones. Come and get helpful tips and role play how to make connections with politicians when you can't rely on a dragon to force your point with those who may not see things the same way as you. From data to personal stories how can you get your ask and not be left feeling belittled or wishing you could breath fire and melt your representative.

Water Your Lawn: Grassroots Advocacy (Cimino-Johnson, Daehn)
What it does take create change in your school or district? The Advocacy Leadership Network's Grassroots Committee can provide you with resources and anecdotes that will empower you to answer that question! Learn how to implement small strategies that can create change and appreciation for theatre education at your school. We want to empower you—the theatre teacher—to succeed in your school, local, and district level advocacy work. 

You are All Alone on an Island (Horn, Morgan-Beuchat, Turner)
HELP! Being the only one in your field in your school/district can be overwhelming and daunting. Members of the EdTA Advocacy Leadership Network are spearheading a committee about challenges that face rural/small school programs (or lack of) face and we want to hear from educators across the country. Come and hear what our committee has been up to, hear the research, and bring ideas as to how we can help prepare you to advocate for your program or help to create a brand new program. 

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Licensing and Resources (O'Sullivan)
Learn everything you need to know in order to make your next MTI show painless, fun and affordable. We'll address a number of frequently asked questions about the process in a candid and supportive environment. MTI's licensing experts will also provide important tips on lowering your royalties, managing your account, understanding restrictions, and utilizing new resources. This is an invaluable workshop, regardless of your experience level. 

How to Teach Producing and Theater Management (Goldstein)
The business of show is one of the most important theater topics but is often glossed over as it may be a mystery to theater educators. Learn how marketing, management, law, fundraising, box office, production management and other interdisciplinary topics can be added to your curriculum to help prepare your students for jobs in and out of the theater. 

Maximizing Your Troupe's Positioning and Support in the Community (Morgan-Beuchat)
In this workshop, Jennifer Morgan Beuchat explores successes in grant development and in the relationship that has been created in Leavenworth, KS, among the students, theatre department, local education foundation, and the community. This collaboration has empowered the students by giving them an opportunity to give back to a community and an organization which give so much to them. Theatre is brought out into the community, giving students real-life theatre working experience while making the program more visible. 

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

The EdTA High School Theatre Educator Evaluation Workbook (Palmarini, Wilkerson)
Theatre educators need to be evaluated in a reliable way that promotes an understanding of their practice and defines professional development needs. Further, that evaluation needs to be based on state or national theatre standards. In this session, learn about the EdTA Theatre Educator Evaluation Workbook, an editable online PDF guide for teachers and those who evaluate them. The presenters will begin with an overview of the purpose and value of the workbook, its format, and standards foundation. Attendees will then get a hands-on look at the guide, from both the teacher and administrator perspective. Bring your computer and be prepared to reflect and write. 

Growing Teacher Tools: EdTA, Professional Development and You (Wilkerson)
Join EdTA's Education Manager Cory Wilkerson for a tour of the new EdTA beta website for growing theatre educator professional development. In this interactive session, you will learn about the connection between EdTA's professional development opportunities and best practice in theatre education; explore how each website section functions; and reflect on how the it aligns with your own teaching and learning needs. Bring a tablet, cell phone, or other device for accessing the online site. 

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.

Reinvigorating Your Spark: Reflective Practices to Avoid Burnout (Kujawa)
Everyday we are running ourselves ragged. As theatre teachers we are often in before the sun rises and out long after it sets. We also likely lack the support and funding of many other programs and seem to have endless red tape to navigate. Each day is a battle against burnout, and we have to win. For our students, our families and ourselves. In this workshop Lindsay will walk you through the method she used to dig herself out after losing it all to burn out, and show you how to (healthily) build the program of your dreams.

COSTUME/MAKEUP DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

Aging Made Easy (Flaharty)
The hardest makeup to do is Old Age. Learning to blend shadows and highlights to create a three-dimensional wrinkle. This demonstration will cover the different stages of aging and show how to accomplish the look using new techniques, on an actor of any age, on any stage. The workshop is minutes long, but you could walk out fifty years older!

Special Effects Makeup for Stage (Flaharty)
Come discover the newest makeup products to give you the best special effects on stage. We'll look at blood products, latex, flesh gel, collodion, and more.  The instructor will demonstrate on audience members and share his experience working with these products in shows and answer questions about your productions and characters. 

CURRICULUM/TEACHING

Arts Classroom Management: Helping Student Manage their Behavior (Van Leishout)
Would you like your students to manage their own behavior? Create a classroom where students know, understand and follow the expectations? Then come to Arts Classroom Management and learn how to help student build confidence, relationships with others, and the ability to master their emotions. These tips and tricks work with ALL students! Join this class to get all the resources you need to have a well organized and peaceful classroom all year. 

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.”

Helping Students to Embrace Failure in the Classroom (Price)
Failure is a vital step on the road to success: in rehearsal, in group work, devised projects, and in writing scenes. But students fear failure, perhaps now more than ever. How do we get students to embrace failure as part of the process? This workshop will give you tools, discussion questions and practical exercises on exploring failure in the drama classroom. Failure is merely a point along the journey, never the final destination. 

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. Participants need to bring two lines of text, one dramatic and one non-dramatic to use during the session (prose, a fortune cookie, an instruction manual, a newspaper article, etc.). *Double workshop session*

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, Smiley)
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.

Produce a Stress-Free Improv Show (Hoare)
Produce a fast-paced, user-friendly high school Improv Show with minimum risk. Receive guidelines, show rules, marketing tips, and numerous game lists from someone who has produced over 100 HS Improv Shows. Improv helps with creativity and spontaneity and develops confidence and a sense of humor. It emphasizes cooperation and teamwork, and it trains actors to enjoy rather than fear taking risks. Improv Shows can also provide additional revenue for your Theatre Dept. 

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

Hip-Hop Theatre: Finding Your Voice Through 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.

Musical Theatre Song and Movement (Broadway Classroom)
This workshop re-creates a true Broadway rehearsal with the participants, who learn the choreography, staging, and music from a song in a Broadway production. This session is taught by a Broadway performer and pianist. We will update this page with more information once the featured production is determined. 

PRODUCING

Austen's Pride: From First Page to Broadway Stage (Craig, Curl)
Join members of the "Austen's Pride" producing and creative team for an insightful discussion on how a Broadway musical goes from an idea to an actuality. Through the lens of the pre-Broadway musical "Austen's Pride", this workshop will look into how a show evolves and changes from first idea to Broadway production.

Copyright: Getting Performance Rights & More (Pospisil)
A discussion of copyright laws, intellectual property and how play licensing works. Topics to be discussed include: how to obtain rights, how to request permission to make possible changes, what does it mean if a play is "restricted?", finding new plays, questions on video recording, and a Q&A session. 

Understanding Copyright for the Theatre Classroom (Weaver)
Copyright is a complicated, but necessary ingredient in arts education. In this presentation by the director of performing arts and sports for the National Federation of High Schools, learn about on the background of copyright and the best practices on using copyrighted materials in theatre and other arts classrooms. Topics will include fair use, educational exemptions, arrangements, copyright law and commonly asked questions. 

SPECIAL TOPICS

Marvel Panel
Bring the Marvel Universe to your stage! Join Samuel French/Concord Theatricals for a panel discussion about Marvel Spotlight Plays, a new collection of short plays featuring your favorite superheroes. Moderated by Imogen Lloyd Webber and featuring panelists from theatre and Marvel communities, the panel will discuss the creation of the project, significance of the work in today's culture, character representation onstage, producing tips and tricks, and more. 

Thespians Made Simple (Benz)
If you're interested in starting an International Thespian Society troupe or you're new to the troupe director game, this is the workshop for you. Starting and running an International Thespian Society troupe can be surprisingly simple. We’ll focus on practical strategies to minimize your time investment and maximize your payoff. We’ll spotlight valuable but often overlooked resources at schooltheatre.org so you can bookmark them on your laptop or mobile device. There’ll be ample opportunities to answer questions and explore ways to tailor a troupe to meet the needs of your unique theatre program.

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.

Projections 101: Getting Started in Your Theatre Program (Stark)
Would you like to get rolling with digital projections in your shows? This workshop hits all the fundamentals, with a collection of tips and tricks—all in non-techie, simple speak that will inspire you to dream big! Learn what gear to buy or rent, where to place it, the kind of screen you'll need and more. Your scenic storytelling is about to take a grand leap! 

Round-table Discussion of Technology Resources for Theater (Lazarus)
Realtime Music Solutions (RMS) will host a roundtable discussion on technology resources for musical theatre. A leading developer and provider of such technologies for more than 20 years, RMS will draw from its vast experience working with such clients as Cameron Mackintosh and Cirque du Soleil, as well as amateur productions on six continents, to discuss use cases, challenges, potential solutions, pros and cons of different approaches. Attendees will be invited to ask questions and share experiences in a free form exchange of ideas. Come learn about the past, present and future of rehearsal and performance technology! 

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.

How to Write When You Don't Feel Like Writing (Cariani)
If you don't like to write, this workshop is for you. If you experience writer's block, this workshop is for you. If you think you could never teach anyone how to write a play, this workshop is for you. This 90-minute session includes exercises to get you motivated, unblocked, unstuck, and inspired — exercises to free you from your mind and connect you to the “play" part of the word “playwright." It won't teach you how to write a play, or how to teach others how to write a play, but it will give you exercises that will get you started and help you get others started. 

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