The following workshops were presented at the 2017 National Conference.

Advocating for Advocacy: EdTA’s Advocacy Leadership Network, Helen Duranleau-Brennan, Michael Fischer, Alison Johnson, Jennifer Morgan-Beuchat, Teri Turner, Jim Palmarini.

EdTA launched a pilot initiative this year to train and to empower its members in grassroots advocacy of theatre and arts education. The Advocacy Leadership Network selected 10 chapter representatives and will select another 10 in 2018. The three-year goal is to create a self-sustaining network of state affiliates who monitor and share arts education policies, legislation, and advocacy successes with each other, their chapter leadership, and fellow members. In this workshop, meet the ALN members, find out what they’ve been doing, and share your thoughts and questions.


Arts nexus: A Palette for Interdisciplinary Instruction, Michael Daehn

Teaching history and civics through the arts. Teaching chemistry and physics through the arts. Teaching philosophy and math through the arts. You can teach any subject by using the multifaceted lens of the arts to engage student interest and achievement, emphasizing how all academic areas are interconnected with the arts as the nexus point. Learn to effectively plan arts-based lesson or unit plans to teach other academic content and to be better able to identify connections between elements of the arts and non-arts content areas. This holistic philosophy of education connects rather than isolates different academic subjects.


Assessments Galore, Shawnda Moss

Assessments are not only the best measurements of student learning and understanding, they are also vital to a teacher’s ability to gauge if their instruction is effective. Good teachers know they need constant, reliable, and varied assessments but sometimes don’t know how to tackle the subjective nature of evaluating theatre arts or how to give their students ownership of their learning. We will explore practical objective methods of assessment that will provide authentic evaluation techniques for your classes, ranging from group practice and simple writing prompts to performance rubrics and written tests.


Avoiding Hot Water while Presenting New Work, Tina Fallon

A thorny issue for many educators is how to offer new works without fearing boycotts or violating copyright. Recent stories have highlighted these risks but offered few solutions. The Dramatists Guild has been working with LMDA, SDC, and Actors’ Equity to create guidelines for producers to avoid these pitfalls. Part of that process is to ask theatre educators: What challenges do you face in choosing new works to study or produce? What if you had easier access to playwrights for approvals of script changes? What resources would help educate your community during a controversy? Join this frank and open discussion of these ongoing challenges.


CPR for Teacher Burnout, Russ Saxton

According to Richard Ingersoll’s 2013 study, “Why Do Teachers Quit?,” 40 percent of teachers leave the profession in the first five years. Theatre teachers often experience burnout due to an emphasis on testing and accountability, a deep personal investment to their work, and little financial compensation. Through discussion and exercises, participants will learn how to develop coping strategies to manage burnout, how to prevent burnout through planning and preparation, and why rejuvenation is an integral aspect to self-care and burnout prevention.


Creating a Sensory-friendly PerformanceLauren Carr

Across the country, theatre companies are offering sensory-friendly performances to include people with autism and other sensory disabilities. This workshop coaches how to transform productions to accommodate those sensitive to light, sound, and stimuli. Highlighting the success of sensory-friendly shows in the Cincinnati area and across the country, this workshop will provide a step-by-step guide toward this inclusive programming. Experience how it feels to have sensory disabilities and learn how easily a theatre production can be tweaked to bring art to everyone.


Creating Safety Culture, Greg Petruska and Bryan Huneycutt

How do you create a culture of safety when we all believe that the show literally must go on — no matter what happens? We will talk about our shared experiences in establishing a culture of safety and health awareness, establishing an environment where solutions are offered instead of saying no, and what to do when the unexpected happens and the show must indeed go on — safely.


Creation through Viewpoints, Erin Carr

Intermediate level. This workshop provides students and teachers with new movement-based methods being developed that can help to build life skills. By learning kinesthetic response, we can be honest with ourselves and in our relationships as well as react honestly to the moment as a theatre artist and as a person. By learning to create your own work while focusing on social change, an artist earns the ability to stand on their own two feet.


Cross-curricular Connections through Theatre Arts, Jamie Hutteman

Become the go-to creative professional in your school by introducing non-arts teachers to ways they can incorporate creativity and theatre arts into their curriculum and subject areas. This workshop will show why arts matter in student learning and will provide tools to help you assist your fellow teachers to find more opportunities for igniting the creative mind. We will use theatre exercises to demonstrate learning in core subjects and to practice effective classroom strategies for elementary, middle, and high school.


Decoding Viola Spolin’s Theatre Games, Ed Reggi

Viola Spolin’s writings and philosophy influenced not only American theatre, TV, and film but also the theatre classroom. Yet, few educators understand how to decode her theatre games. In this workshop, participants will learn the key principles behind those games and the critical role the side-coach plays in teaching theatre. Using Experiencing Yes ... And, Give and Take, Emerging Who, Where and What, and other games, participants will become better acquainted with the most overlooked parts of Spolin’s pedagogy.


Defining the Intersection of Arts and SciencesJeff M. Poulin, Lucinda Presley, Jim Palmarini.

Breaking out of our silos is the trend in American education. How can the skills built through theatre impact our future scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians? How can the principles of STEM apply to theatre? In 2013, a movement to incorporate the arts with STEM subjects began to coalesce and became law in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. Join representatives from EdTA, Americans for the Arts, and the National Innovation Collaborative to learn more and to try your hand at developing a networked lesson plan.


Devised Theatre and Collaboration, Laramie Dean

Devised theatre is a method of creation and collaboration growing in popularity globally in classrooms and professional theatres. Participants in this workshop will learn several methods of teaching devised theatre to encourage collaboration and creativity in their theatre programs as well as across the curriculum.


Director’s Toolbox: Six Basic ToolsJames Van Leishout

Beginning level. The director interprets the script and finds a unifying vision that brings a complete and high-quality production to the stage. They guide the actors through the process in which they place their imprimatur on the theatrical work of art. The director has six basic tools to accomplish this: Self, Script, Actors, Space, Design, and Evaluation.


Don’t Throw Away Your Shot: Blending Theatre and History, Laurilea McDaniel and Andy Jaramillo

Participants will learn how to incorporate theatre into a variety of content areas. Facilitators will give a brief overview of the process for creating scene presentations. Participants will view videos of students performing well-researched historical events that include sophisticated examples of character analysis.


Finding the Funny: Directing Farce, Missy Whitis

Through script analysis and comedy exercises, participants will: learn to heighten and explore the strategic make-up of a farce, discover how to map out the pre-work to land a joke; begin to understand and recognize how comedy plays itself out in many forms, including physical comedy, takes, facial expressions, gibberish, and even blocking; recognize that comedy success doesn’t necessarily mean laughs but can also mean engagement of the audience; and return to school with tools to teach students about intention and main obstacle in comedy.


First Look: EdTA’s Theatre Educator Evaluation Workbook, Jim Palmarini

Theatre educators need and deserve to be evaluated in a fair and reliable way, based on state or national theatre standards. In this workshop, learn about EdTA’s new Theatre Educator Evaluation Workbook, a guide for teachers and those who evaluate them. We will review the purpose and value of the workbook, its format and standards foundation, and its current draft status. Participants will break into review groups with different sections and reconvene to discuss the draft from teacher and administrator perspectives.


From Princess to Gargoyle, Andrea Canny

In one 10-minute contract talk, I went from princess to gargoyle when I was still a 29-year-old ingénue. That was a defining moment in my career, and how I handled it made the world of difference to the longevity of my career and reputation. Along with basic, solid advice about the entertainment business, I will share techniques, recommendations, and valuable information for educators to impart to their students to enhance their skill set and empower them toward a long, fulfilling career and a stellar reputation.


Get to the CORE, Kelsie Slaugh

Explore how to enhance common core subjects through the power of theatre. This workshop is geared toward educators who desire to learn new ways to teach key subjects, such as mathematics and language arts. Participants will leave this workshop knowing new exercises that they may bring directly into classrooms. All grade levels are welcome.


Ghostlight Project: Diversity and Inclusion, Phillip Goodchild

Using the resources, purpose, and mission statement of The Ghostlight Project, this workshop walks you through a rich teaching experience for your students as you discuss issues relating to diversity, inclusion, and standing up and fighting for what you believe in. Lively discussion based on self-reflection is a guarantee, and you’ll be given plenty of resources to take back to your classroom to start and to continue this essential conversation with your students.


How to Use TIOS Month to Make a Positive Impact, Sandra Lundgren and Stacy Ardelean

Learn about the joint effort of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education and EdTA in growing the Theatre in Our Schools campaign to make an impact on students, schools, and beyond. In a world of increasing need for arts education, see how theatre educators can use TIOS in their communities for awareness and advocacy.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame, David Scott and Matt Hagmeier Curtis

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an epic musical filled with performing and personal growth opportunities for high school students. Join representatives from Disney Theatrical Group to learn tips on producing the show. The workshop will cover exploring the themes of the show with student performers, developing characters, developing design elements, and ideas on how to incorporate the production into the wider school community.


I Can Do That!, Shira Schwartz

Beginning level. Many teachers are expected to direct an annual musical. This workshop will focus on how to effectively choreograph and create formations onstage when you don’t have much (or any) dance training. You will leave knowing some basic dance movements and how you can turn these simple steps into a variety of looks to fit your specific production.


Identity in the Theatre: Relevant and Radical Shows, Courtney Kochuba

The issues of identity, inclusion, and representation are ongoing issues in our theatre community. What is the best way for a high school to approach these topics, while still being appropriate to their audiences? Join Samuel French for a discussion about what topics need to be seen onstage, recommended shows to achieve that goal, marketing tips, and more.


I’ll Bring the Car, You Bring the LightsAileen Zeigler and Wade Lanum

Have you ever had an “I can fix that” moment in technical theatre? Do your students want to be engineers? From robotic ducks to 3-D printed jawbones, the combination of technology and fine arts can elevate your program. Learn how basic engineering principles like problem-solving, design, and prototyping can help you establish a long-lasting theatre program. See how we share resources and engage our students with real-world applications. Our project-based methodology allows for multilevel classes, and we’ll demonstrate how we develop our curriculum and send you home with examples.


Inspiration Workshop, Thomas Schultheis

In this interactive workshop, we will discover, explore, and share our curiosities. Through movement, writing, and play, we will discover ways to awaken our inspirations.


Integrating Service-Learning into TheatreChad Weddle

Intermediate level. Have you struggled with incorporating service-learning into your show? Would you like to learn how to make service-learning an integral part of the process? I have been including service-learning projects in my shows to connect with the community, to teach our students how real people live, and to communicate and enrich the overall process of creating theatre. Join me to discover how you can reach out to the community with authentic projects that make a real impact and how to bring that experience into your performances.


Jokers Belong with Batman: Improv as Life Skills, Missy Whitis

If you’re waiting until the last few minutes of class, the beginning of rehearsal, or worse, the end of the school year to teach improv, then you’re doing it wrong. Together, we’ll figure out why to teach improv and, more importantly, how to teach improv. You’ll participate in exercises you can use to your advantage to spark immediate student engagement. Using improv to your advantage truly can increase the creativity and help produce thoughtful, higher-order-thinking students and cast members and, in turn, sophisticated performers.


The JumpStart Theatre Experience, Marty Johnson

One core aspect of EdTA’s JumpStart Theatre program are the three “boot camp” workshops in which participating teachers, most of whom are non-arts educators, are trained in the fundamentals of mounting a musical theatre production with students who have little or no performing arts experience. In this workshop, master instructor Marty Johnson will put participants on their feet and through some of the “boot camp” exercises that prepare JumpStart Theatre teachers to cast, rehearse, and stage their first production.


The JumpStart Theatre Story, Dee Anne Bryll, Dr. Sherry Kerr, Julie Cohen Theobald.

In 2015, EdTA began a pilot program in three Cincinnati-area middle schools. The goal of JumpStart Theatre was to create a sustainable musical theatre program in schools that previously had none. Since then, JumpStart Theatre has expanded to include nine schools, and EdTA is strategizing how to scale up the program to other cities around the country. In this workshop, hear how and why JumpStart Theatre came into being, how it works in the schools involved, and what two years of research data tells us about its impact.


Learning What We Want to Know: Planning a Survey, Matt Omasta and Jim Palmarini

In this workshop, participants will contribute to the collaborative planning sessions for a new national survey of theatre arts teachers and school administrators. We will briefly review the 2012 survey results and discuss what is important to learn from a new survey. The goal is to provide an opportunity for all to share their voices early in the research design so the eventual survey will meet the needs of teachers and other stakeholders.


Lighting Design for Directors, Bob Fowler

Intermediate level. Working lighting design into your staging from the start of rehearsals can be a catalyst to creative directing and can save lots of time at tech rehearsals. This is not a workshop about watts, amps, and bench focusing but more about concept and creating looks and moods onstage. During the last part of the session, participants will break into small groups to block and light a scene from a well-known play.


Makeup A to Z: Fundamental to PhenomenalWarren Holz

With shows offering more visually iconic characters, brushing up on your makeup skills might not be a bad idea. You will learn the basic steps to create characters from the simplest design to breathtaking specialty makeup. Demonstrations include character shading and countering, and how to apply a bald cap.


My Theatre: Past, Present, and Future, Jerome Onik

What do you have in your theatre? This workshop looks at different types of theatre spaces and discusses recommended maintenance schedules, upgrade and replacement timeframes, new technology upgrades, and long-term budgeting for these events.


New Broadway School Editions, Jim Hoare

Learn more about the new TRW Broadway School Edition titles and new middle school Young@Part titles. Spamalot, Big Fish, Saturday Night Fever, Ghost, Disenchanted! and We Will Rock You can now be produced in your high school. Approved changes, creative casting (more girls), resources for costumes, props, sets, SFX, performance tracks, and projections will be discussed.


On the Edge: Bladed Combat for the Stage, Jason LeClair

Beginning level. Swashbuckling scenes done right will keep you on the edge of your seat in the theatre. In this workshop, learn the basics of fighting with bladed stage weapons. We will cover fighting with swords, daggers, and knives in a safe environment. Basic form, function of choreography, and standard positions will be taught. All weapons will be blunted stage-safe, but the audience doesn’t have to know that. The flash of the blade and the swish of the air will have them on the edge.


Pick a Little, Talk a Little, Dave Howard

Beginning level. Building a high school program that students flock to is a difficult task and one that requires a lot of time and energy. After 26 years of directing, I have built a program that produces high-quality shows that include 25 percent of the student body. Find out some secrets and share some of your own. This workshop will allow us all to share our successes and struggles.


Playbill 101: Successful FundraisingSarah Jane Arnegger

Join Playbill as we explore and create new strategies to build fundraising opportunities for your school or arts organization. We’ll tackle platforms such as social media, program development, advertising, sponsorship deals, and other opportunities to engage your community and help build sustainability within your arts programs.


Produce Shows Like on Broadway, Jeff Tidwell and Meredith Lucio

Join Tony-winning producer Meredith Lucio to learn her strategies for treating your production like a business, courtesy of This workshop will concentrate on developing your show’s mission, marketing plan, production strategies, management and organization procedures, revenue-building techniques, and financial planning. Participants will also get to examine an actual Tony Award.


Reach Out to the Whole Community, Jim Hoare, Alicia Fuss

A Theatre for Young Audiences show presents a wonderful opportunity to entertain your entire community while introducing young children to live theatre — and to your theatre program. We will look at published versus original material, rehearsal and performance practices, and guidelines for presenting a sensory-friendly performance that is welcoming to children with autism and other sensory sensitivities.


The Rest of Your Life: EdTA Emeritus Members, Gai Jones

Learn from EdTA emeritus members who have used the passion, skills, and knowledge from their 24/7 lives as educators to develop encore careers and lifelong volunteer roles. How does one rest after retiring? What am I passionate about? Do I really want to direct or act? What new ventures have others found engaging? What opportunities and programs have other emeritus members created? How do I stay away?


Six dance steps in six minutes, Dee Anne Bryll

The thought of having to choreograph a section of music or to stage a number can be daunting. Perhaps you’d like to add a dance unit to your lesson plan. There are always the issues of limited time and students with a wide variety of training and interest. This workshop will assist you in taking six simple steps and putting them together into a combination that will be enjoyable and creatively challenging for students of all levels of experience. Participants will work together to develop a variety of lesson plans for class or rehearsal to incorporate this exercise.


So You Got Stuck with a Theatre ClassJamie Stephenson and Donnie Bryan

Beginning level. How do you create a theatre program at your school? How do you start teaching theatre? What do you need to do as a beginning theatre teacher? In this workshop, there are tips and ideas to help you survive those first years.


Start Spreading the News: Student-Run Marketing Campaigns, Jason Goldstein

Wouldn’t it be great if a team of 15 students were posting on Facebook, designing flyers, shooting and editing video commercials on YouTube, and generating articles in the local newspapers to market your productions with minimal involvement from you? This workshop will teach you the ins and outs of promotion and how to build a sustainable marketing team.


STEAM in the Every Student Succeeds ActJeff Poulin and Jim Palmarini

Many people agree that incorporating the arts and other subjects brings about creativity and innovation to increase well-rounded learning for our students. However, transitioning from theory to policy to practice is a different story. Put on your thinking caps and join an in-depth discussion about the federal policies and local implementation of STEAM — from Congress to your classroom. Be prepared with your questions and contributions.


Student Empowerment to Manage the Theatre Classroom, Leslie Van Leishout

In today’s classroom, you can expect up to 15 percent of students to have an IEP, about 10 percent to have 504 accommodations, 5 percent with mental health concerns, and an ever-increasing number who seem unable to motivate themselves. This workshop will provide teachers some tools they can use to empower student’s behavior and academics, to be proactive on the first day of school in decreasing problem behaviors, to increase engagement from the intentional non-learner, and to respond with confidence to the most difficult of challenges in today’s classroom.


Teaching Accents: Bringing the FunAdam Michael Rose

Accents and dialects are a crucial part of the actor’s toolkit, but they also can be terrifying. From a student’s perspective, learning accents can be boring and tedious. This workshop will strip away your fears and show you how to teach accents in ways that are fun and engaging. You’ll learn how to break down an accent into key elements (mouth placement, melody, and major sound changes), how to communicate accent ideas to your students, and how to structure a fun and engaging practice and rehearsal program. You might even learn a new accent yourself.


Theatre across the curriculum, Matt Webster

Theatre is a powerful tool for teaching, but it is too often pigeonholed as a special or non-core class. This workshop will show you how to use your knowledge of theatre as a booster for learning across the entire curriculum — from English to math to science and beyond. This is a hands-on, on-your-feet, learn-by-doing workshop guaranteed to be a highlight of your conference.


Theatre Inside-Out: Playwriting and Performance in Any Subject, Kelleen Nitsch

Learn how to easily put together group theatre projects that facilitate peer learning and teaching and that can be applied in any classroom with any subject. Theatre educators will also learn about ways to implement this program at their school.


Theatre Projection Design, Mitch Stark

Create magical worlds on stage. In this workshop, you'll learn all of the important tips to get started using digital animated projections in your theatre. Learn how to gather the right gear for an affordable cost and how to make it work in your unique theatrical space, be it big or small. In addition to the technical basics, you'll learn how to put your creativity to use in building a magical environment for your shows and integrating projections with your existing scenic design.


Thespian Filmworks, Chris Veneris, Matt Ringrose

Learn about EdTA’s newest Next Generation Works project: Filmworks, developed for EdTA by Chris Veneris and Matt Ringrose. Find out what Filmworks is at ITF and what it can be for your state. Learn the rules and how you can be a part of this exciting new project.


Working within the Walls, Tami LoSasso

Completely royalty-free material can be completely true. This workshop focuses on the powerful art of devising original theatre. Using your school community as source material, this workshop will detail how to create something original, meaningful, and powerful that speaks directly to and about your school's population.


The following master classes were presented at Conference 2017:

The Art of Connecting Across Difference, Patricia Raun

Explore how applied theatre techniques (sociometrics, improvisation, storytelling, and embodied learning) can serve students across a broad range of academic disciplines, including STEM. Participants will experiment with practice-based approaches to effective communication with partners and small groups and will learn how the tools of modern actor training have profoundly positive applications in collaboration and innovation. This workshop will encourage theatre educators to support their students’ needs to integrate learning across multiple disciplines.


Engaging Youth with Michael Chekhov, Lisa Dalton

Discover Michael Chekhov’s playful exercises and how they can be used in the classroom with our youth to build confidence, compassion, and right-left brain synthesis. Engage the entire group in artistic activity that can be connected to science, mathematics, language, music, art, sports, and theatre.


Social Justice Theatre Project, Jo Strom Lane and Kendra Dando

Learn how to take your students’ passion and understanding of social justice issues and stage their stories. Using exercises and techniques from our development process with guest artists, learn how Roosevelt H.S. presented a student-written, -produced, and -teched Social Justice Theatre Project; how Middleton H.S. in Wisconsin produced multimedia social justice for students; and how you can, too.


STEAM-Generated Theatre Design ClassJo Beth Gonzalez and Ryan Albrecht

Participants will examine the science, technology, engineering, and math skills students employ to design and construct a larger-than-life-size puppet. Explore the artistic knowledge needed to manipulate a moving, breathing, expressive animal in puppet form and bring it to life. Centered on the character Aslan from the classic C.S. Lewis story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, this workshop walks participants through the process of design and construction, highlights the values of STEAM education, and addresses its challenges.