2016 EdTA National Conference workshops

Discovery through physical chaos, Erin Carr

This workshop is dedicated to the physical acting techniques of contact and structural improvisation, Jerzy Grotowski technique, and Meyerhold’s Biomechanics. This work relies on the artist’s physicality and physical action. Discovering the actor’s creative nature takes place through the body. An actor’s relationship with artistic space, his or her freedom in improvisation, and spontaneity play important roles in the creative process. As a result, intangible moments become tangible. Previous physical theatre experience and knowledge recommended for attendees.

Arts education: Paving the way to exceptional leadership, Lauren Kabrick

This workshop explores opportunities to incorporate components of peer-mentoring, situational, transformational, servant, and team leadership theories into curricula for children and teens. Communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are critical to academic and professional success and are the tip of the iceberg for leadership skills that can be taught through the arts. This session will explore this concept and incorporate ideas to boost the leader-ship curriculum in your lesson plans.

Stage combat on a stick, or How to take a licking and keep on ticking, Cary Shapiro

The difference between stage combat and real combat is simple: no dangerous contact. This session provides teachers and directors of all skill levels the necessary means to teach students and actors of all skill levels how to safely fight on stage.

Variety is the spice of life, or People hear with their eyes: A movement workshop for drama educators, Ann Paris

Learn how to make your non-dancers look like dancers. This movement workshop provides strategies for teachers and student choreographers to aid in creating exciting and effective group movement sequences that can be created quickly and efficiently.

Traveling Shakespeare: Moving the audience and actors, or Performing Shakespeare in nontraditional spaces, Chris Veneris

Explore new ways to make Shakespeare’s works resonate with students and audiences. Traveling Shakespeare allows you to move audiences and performers while breathing new life and excitement into the stories we already know. A Midsummer Night’s Dream serves as a jumping-off point to start our work. By the end of this workshop, you will have the tools to energize students and audiences with fresh and fun performances.

I’m not afraid: Tools and tips for new troupe directors and theatre teachers, Phillip Goodchild

You’ve just become your school’s new troupe director or theatre teacher, but you had no predecessor there to guide you through your new duties. With so many new responsibilities, where do you start? This workshop helps those who need a quick-start guide to all that this role requires, including tips and tools for curriculum, planning your year, and encouraging your program’s growth.

Show me the money: Prepping high school students for college scholarship auditions, Donnie Bryan and Jamie Stephenson

Preparing for success in college or scholarship auditions is not something to begin considering in a student’s senior year. High school teachers should use a four-year timeline to ensure that their students are ready to succeed in competitive auditions. This workshop explores why the scholar-ship process is important to a high school program and how you can create a training regimen. Leaving students and parents to figure it out alone no longer works. A high school theatre teacher must actively help students succeed in this aspect of their educations.

The power of puppet play: Transformation for the classroom and stage, Aretta Baumgartner

How can puppetry in the classroom help teachers educate students on global topics and help all students find their artistic voices? Join Aretta Baumgartner, education director of Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, and learn how to open new doors to creativity through the use of puppets in the classroom and on stage.

New resources for musical theatre and licensing ins and outs, John Prignano

At this workshop, you’ll discover MTI’s latest production resources, learn how to lower your royalties, and make your interaction with your licensing house as pain-free and fun as possible. Be sure to stick around for the RehearScore Challenge, where prizes include a free standard rental on your next show.

Superior script analysis, Lindsay Price

Help your students find a window to three-dimensional characters through script analysis. But where do they start? Theatre educator Lindsay Price will take you through various scenes and identify the character clues that playwrights leave in the text for actors. Superior script analysis is within your reach.

Dramalogues: Teaching acting through production, David Tate Hastings

Learn about a unit where students create a short “moment” of acting that communicates a specific emotion to an audience. Working as a director, a student will create this emotional “moment” of acting through developing a concept, script, cast/crew, staging/blocking, costumes, props, set, lights and sound.

Arts leadership in the classroom: Training the next generation of producers and directors, Victoria Chatfield

There are few experiences more rewarding than empowering students to step up and lead on your stage. However, when selecting, training, and supervising them, the struggle can be real. In this session, we’ll discuss some common challenges that come with authentic student leadership experiences and create a plan that works with your current program curriculum to help your students become seasoned directors and producers before high school graduation.

Community partnerships and youth health literacy through acting, Juliette Beck

Learn to strengthen community partnerships in your school and student well-being with acting. Youth health literacy and acting activities will be taught through filmed student examples, a toolkit, and real-life examples based on a department of health collaboration with a performing arts school.

Put the power of Disney and Playbill to work for you, Sarah Jane Arnegger and Matt Hagmeier Curtis

Bring the success of professional Broadway-style marketing to your educational theatre programs. Join Disney Theatrical Group and Playbill, Inc. as they help you navigate the world of print, digital, and social media marketing. You’ll learn how to utilize these platforms to engage your community and help build sustainability in your performing arts programs.

Hands-on workshop with Realtime Music Solutions resources for musical theatre, Jeff Lazarus

In this workshop, you’ll discover Realtime Music Solutions’ latest technological resources for the performing arts. Learn how to inspire rehearsals using RMS Coach. Get hands-on with Sinfonia, the leading orchestral enhancement software. Discover our newest mobile app RMS Mix, which puts interactive rehearsal and performance tracks in the palm of your hand. Be sure to stick around for the chance to win a free rental with our products for your next show.

Scenic projections in theatre, Quentin Sanford

This session will cover the tools and resources to successfully use digital scenery in theatre, including how to integrate projections, suggested set designs, lighting with video, and projectors and projection surfaces. It will also feature a look at QLab, a multimedia playback software that makes it simple to control the timing of projections. The class is recommended for those with basic knowledge of video or who just want to learn the fundamentals of projection design.

Acting dangerously: Encouraging students to make daring choices in a safe environment, James Van Leishout

The enemy of great acting is good acting—settling for good, but safe choices. Discover how to raise the stakes in your acting by making daring—even outlandish—choices. Nurture the impulse to be eccentric, weird, and strange, to create.

Theatrical design: Thinking outside the box, Jerry Onik

This participation-based workshop will explore thinking outside the traditional technical formats for mounting productions. Participants will be placed in groups of five: director, lighting designer, scenic and props designer, costume designer, and sound designer. All the groups will create a unique production and present them to the class.

The cultural proficiency continuum: Where does your program fall?, Steven Fleming

This workshop introduces the cultural proficiency continuum through a variety of small scenes in which attendees learn about each of its six parts. Using these scenes as talking points for reflection, we will identify barriers to cultural proficiency and how those barriers affect our programs. Participants will then brainstorm steps to take to improve their theatre programs’ positions on the continuum.

Flipping out! Flipping the theatre classroom: Blended learning for theatre educators, Jason LeClair

Using technology in the classroom is often daunting for an arts educator. How do we work with our district initiatives regarding technology, blended learning, or going one-to-one? If any of these terms are new to you, or you’re just beginning to use emerging technologies in your teaching, then this workshop is for you. We will work with Google Classroom, Weebly, Youtube, screen capturing technology, cloud technology, and even social media to advance and enhance your day-to-day teaching.

Director's workshop: The art of directing, Morgan Gould

In this hands-on workshop, teachers will work individually and in groups to direct scenes from various plays. Directors will share ideas about staging, design, and working with student actors. Part directing practicum, part workshop, and part brainstorming session, this workshop will invigorate your director mind and help you learn from the ideas and inspirations of fellow directors. Led by professional New York City-based director Morgan Gould, this workshop is open to all levels of experience.

Designing a character: Techniques for teaching costume design, Crystal Herman

A great costume is more than just pretty clothes; it helps define a character for the audience. An effective costume advances the plot of the play, as the audience receives impressions of the character’s age, vocation, and personality before the actor ever speaks. The skills taught in this session will help you teach your students the essence of costume design, bring out their inner costume designers, and leave them with skills that will serve them well in their college and professional careers.

Wigs: The untold story, Warren Holz

What if you could keep your actors’ wigs on securely enough to do cartwheels using only four pins? What if you could quick change from one wig to another in just twenty-four seconds or ensure that wigs stayed affixed to short-haired or even bald actors? This workshop provides these Broadway secrets and more, including important differences between natural and synthetic wigs, and tips on styling, care, and storage.

Tackling the flipped classroom with Google, David Kelley

This session introduces educators to the ease of Google Classroom, a free application used to organize student work and coordinate clear communication with students and parents. We will take an overview of what Classroom can provide the educator and demonstrate different aspects of the application. We will conclude by exploring some hidden tips for using Google Classroom in a theatre arts environment.

Swivl for the theatre classroom: An innovative new way for students and teachers to self-assess!, Laurilea McDaniel

Want to revolutionize the way you assess performances in your classes? Come and check out the Swivl Robot, an innovative self-assessment tool. In this session, you will create a Swivl account and learn tips and tricks for making this technology applicable to improv, pantomime, musical theatre, and scene work. Please bring your smartphone and laptop.

How to teach playwriting: Literacy through dramatic writing, Jason Pizzarello

Most theater students love to perform or do tech. But what about those who might secretly be the next Tony Kushner or Wendy Wasserstein? Inside many young actors are budding playwrights! Learn creative writing exercises to will help inspire your students to write their first—or next—great play. This session provides easy and fun lessons, techniques, and games to help your students begin their own paths to playwriting. You'll learn how to tie literacy and other curriculum standards into your theatre class. But don't worry—these acting and writing exercises will make writing as fun as taking a bow on opening night!

Teaching accents: Bringing the fun, Adam Michael Rose

Accents and dialects are a crucial part of the actor's toolkit. But to many of us they can be overwhelming, and learning them can often seem tedious to students. This session will help you strip away your fears and show you how to teach accents in fun, engaging ways. In this workshop, you'll learn to break down an accent into its key elements: mouth placement, melody, and major sound changes. We’ll also cover communicating accent ideas to your students, and structuring a fun and engaging practice and rehearsal program. You might even learn a new accent yourself!

Theatre as a cross-curriculum teaching tool, Matt Webster

Theatre is a powerful teaching tool, but is too often pigeonholed as an elective or "special" subject. This workshop teaches ways to unleash the power of theatre across the curriculum from math to science to history. Your school will never look at theatre the same way again!

Lights! Camera! Action! Teaching filmmaking as a theatre art, Jeff Westbrook

This workshop presents ideas, plans, and activities for teaching film and video production within a secondary school drama curriculum, focusing on the development of projects from original idea through post-production. Participants will discuss writing, acting, technical work, and directing for the screen. The session addresses technical and artistic concerns in pre-production, production, and post-production, while keeping different equipment and budget resources in mind.

Disney Performing Arts inspiration workshop, Thomas Schultheis

The guiding principles of Disney Performing Arts are to Inspire, Educate, and Transform. In this interactive Disney workshop participants will act, sing, dance, and use improvisation to discover their own inspirations. We will build on our capacity for creative thinking and explore ways to discover new passions in our pursuit of the arts.

Gaming Shakespeare: Fun ways to play with the Bard and create ensembles, Shira Schwartz

Shakespeare should always be “played with.” After all, he wrote “plays” not “reads.” This session’s focus is finding new ways to approach the Bard’s work. Using games and techniques learned at the Globe Theatre in London, we will explore different approaches to staging, relationships, motivations, and movement. The importance of ensemble work won’t be left out. Attendees will collaborate to work on casting, staging, and performing a scripted read of a portion of an original short play based on Julius Caesar.

Carrie: The Musical, from page to stage, Lawrence Cohen, Dean Pitchford, Brian Sherman

In celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the 1976 Academy Award-nominated film Carrie, join screenwriter Lawrence Cohen and lyricist Dean Pitchford to learn how Carrie leapt from the page to the stage, and how you can bring this powerful story to life at your school. This session is moderated by Brian Sherman of R&H Theatricals.

Integrating and communicating internal process and external technique, Joe Turner Cantu

This session will explore effective methods of integrating voice, speech, and movement principles when teaching and coaching actors. Strengthening communication with actors through practical and precise vocabulary will create a positive partnership and address challenges and obstacles. As they receive information and guidance clearly and efficiently, your actors' confidence will grow.

Dual enrollment theatre classes at the high school level, Anthony Cimino-Johnson

In this workshop we will discuss how to provide students with the opportunity to enroll in theatre for college credit at the high school level. Dual enrollment classes provide access to free college education for high school students while exploring a K-16 approach to education. Theatre addresses the fine and performing arts need for many dual enrollment programs across the country. In 2015-2016 students can receive up to nine free theatre credits that may be applied to their majors or electives in college. 

Bridging the gap: Building your program through outreach, Summer Rickman

This workshop will discuss building your high school theatre program through outreach to your community's middle schools. Learn how to cultivate interest in your program from middle school students through mentorship activities with your high schoolers. Allow your high schoolers to put their knowledge and skills into practice by planning theatre workshops or producing musicals with middle school students. This session will give you a plan of action to accomplish this collaborative project and impress your administration while also building your program from the ground up.

Getting butts in the seats: Promoting and selling out school theatre, Jason Goldstein

This session will share professional marketing strategies to increase attendance at your shows and discuss how to get your students involved with social and digital media promotion. Following the lecture portion of the workshop, attendees will break into groups for hands-on activities, then share their results. At the conclusion of the session, participants will understand message design, targeting groups, and be able to draft an integrated marketing campaign. Leave the session with the knowledge and enthusiasm needed to create a student publicity committee!

Maximizing federal education funds to improve student outcomes through arts education, Dr. Monique Chism and Lynn Tuttle

Confusion sometimes surrounds using federal funds to support a well-rounded education that includes the arts. This session will address how federal funds may be used to support arts programs that improve student outcomes and facilitate educational equity for all students.

Student voices of diversity, Grace Alt, Hailey Brunson, Salwa Meghjee, Jim Palmarini, and Alexandra Rivers

Students are our best source for understanding their peers’ feelings about diversity, inclusion, and equity issues in theatre and other educational areas. In a continuation of the Saturday morning keynote presentation, the four participating students will further explore the issues that were raised, and enable teachers in attendance to discuss their own experiences and challenges regarding diversity.

Diversifying the canon, Courtney Kochuba, Jacqueline Lawton, Lindsay Price, John Prignano, and Abbie Van Nostrand

At the 2015 EdTA Conference, a plenary panel traded perspectives on how to improve equity and inclusion in school theatre programs. Much of the discussion focused around the need to diversify the range of plays available for production to better address the varied ethnic, cultural, language, and socioeconomic background of student populations. In this panel session, playwrights and representatives from two theatrical publishers discuss strategies on how to better diversify the range of plays available, in order to address the varied ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic background of students. Participants should bring their opinions to share.

Promoting and growing the community value of your theatre program, Jim Palmarini

You’re too busy to actively advertise your theatre program beyond basic show marketing, but you can still promote the value of your program in your school, district, and state. How? By understanding your personal advocacy strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and the larger educational ecosystem. We’ll do a short exercise, trade ideas and experiences, and consider school, district, state, and national education policies that can impact theatre education positively and negatively.

The Model Cornerstone Assessment project, Members of the Model Cornerstone Assessment Pilot Team

In 2015, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a pilot project that would collect, vet, and publish online student work samples demonstrating what standards-based learning looks and sounds like at the high school level. As a member of NCCAS, EdTA asked fifteen theatre educators from throughout the country to put the National Core Standards’ sample assessments on their feet in classrooms and gather benchmarks of student work through a variety of media. In this session participating teachers and project leaders will discuss the project and share some of the student work they collected.

Creating equity with theatre Opportunity to Learn Standards, Jim Palmarini, Dr. Mary Schuttler, and Lynn Tuttle

As the new National Core Theatre Standards serve as a foundation for the creation of curriculum that defines what students should know and know how to do in a discipline, there must also be Opportunity to Learn Standards (OTLs) to ensure that all students have an equitable opportunity to achieve arts literacy in a district’s schools. OTLs articulate the curriculum, scheduling, personnel, resources and equipment, and facilities necessary for students to meet the levels of success articulated in the Core Arts Standards. Earlier this year, EdTA began the process of creating draft OTL standards in theatre for grades six through twelve, defining what basic and quality theatre programs looks like. In this session, attendees can offer input about the draft, and hear about ways in which the OTLs can be used to advocate for local, state, and federal funding support.

Race and ethnicity in your high school show, Jacqueline Lawton and Howard Sherman

As race and ethnicity take a central place at every level of the theatre world, how can high school teachers consider casting needs and the makeup of their own student body as they decide what shows to present? Whether a beloved classic or relatively new work, plays and musicals take on new meanings as our understanding of diversity and inclusion grows. Join diversity advocates Jacqueline Lawton and Howard Sherman for a candid, open, and supportive dialogue about how teachers can respond to the ever-evolving conversation around racial awareness and representation on all stages.

Defending your shows, Howard Sherman

The shows you select for production can be prohibited in advance or canceled, even after rehearsals are underway. We’ll explore the range of opposition that can arise, sometimes from the unlikeliest places and on the unlikeliest 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.

Behind the magic of Cirque du Soleil, Kim Scott

Pull back the curtain and unravel the mystery of managing and operating one of our most complicated productions. Gain insight on the management skills necessary to work on a Cirque spectacle.

New Broadway school editions from TRW!, Jim Hoare

Spamalot, Big Fish, Saturday Night Fever, Ghost, and We Will Rock You can now be produced in your high school. Approved changes, creative casting (including more female roles), resources for costumes, props, sets, SFX, performance tracks and projections will be discussed. Complimentary perusal scripts for all TRW Broadway School Edition and new Young@Part middle school titles will be available for all attendees.

Opening the college curtain: A model for higher education equitable student opportunity, Harper Lee, Anthony Cimino-Johnson

In this session, we will discuss how student loan debt is affecting access to higher education and how innovative curriculum models such as dual enrollment courses can create greater access to college for more students.

In a heartbeat: Shakespeare and autism, Harper Lee

This active, hands-on session will explore the Hunter Heartbeat Method. Developed by Royal Shakespeare Company member Kelly Hunter, the Hunter Heartbeat method is designed to help children on the autism spectrum play and express themselves through Shakespeare.

Theatre for all, Jessica Froehlich, Lisa Hanson, and Tony Matthes

As theatre educators we know that participating in the arts has lifelong benefits for children, yet many students with special needs have no access to theatre. This workshop will teach participants how to cast, produce and direct an inclusive show as well as how to create an overall inclusive theatre program including bringing your special needs students to chapter events and the International Thespian Festival. Participants will have the opportunity to share and hear from other theatre teachers on ways they have made their program more inclusive for students with special needs and time will be spent on problem solving how to include these students.

Adapting fairytales, folk tales, and myths, Jacqueline Lawton

Although fifty-one percent of the population is female, approximately only twenty-four percent of all plays produced across the country are written by a woman. Despite the number of young women interested in theatre, few of those plays written by woman make their way to high schools. We can change that! In this workshop, critically acclaimed playwright Jacqueline Lawton will share her process of adapting fairytales, folk tales or myths into powerful plays for the stage. We’ll examine the foundation of storytelling and establish best practices for dramaturgy and research. We’ll learn how to place women at the center of the story while remaining true to the story that inspired you. We’ll also explore the impact of race, gender, geography, and time on the world of the play. Participants should bring the synopsis of their favorite fairytale, folk tales and/or myths.

2016 EdTA National Conference master classes

Set design mini boot camp: Creating a compelling environment to support the story, George Ledo

How do professional set designers think? How do they get inspired, make design choices, and deal with the realities of space, budgets, and deadlines? This interactive workshop answers those questions and more, as we explore real sets, including several designed for high schools, and discuss the challenges and the creative process used to develop a physical environment for the story. Then attendees get a chance to put this information into practice by conceptualizing a set design and pitching it to the class. Don’t worry: no drawing is required.

Empowering each of us as a professional theatre educator, and empowering your students and program, Gai Jones

This participatory workshop allows attendees to know, connect, or reconnect with positive strengths. We will celebrate and communicate practices in advocating and promoting all that we do, our students, and our programs. In this session, attendees will set goals and develop mission statements.

Following Instincts in Storytelling & Character:From Broadway to the Big Screen, Eric Petersen

Join Eric Petersen, an actor who has starred on Broadway and Television (Shrek: The Musical, Kirstie) as he shows you how to truly follow your instincts as an actor thru scripted work and improvisational techniques. Have fun letting more of "YOU" out in your work. Learn how to tap in to your natural impulses as an actor and storyteller in this fun workshop focusing on theatre, TV and film acting.

Makeup A to Z: From fundamental to phenomenal, Warren Holz

With shows like Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, The Little Mermaid, and The Wiz available for licensing, there’s no better time to brush up on your makeup skills. This session will broaden your makeup skills, provide guidance on designs from the simple to the spectacular, and help you troubleshoot common issues like hygiene, acne, and allergies. The workshop also covers department makeup kits, bald caps and prosthetics, and includes a guaranteed makeup removal and skin care system.

Explore theatre for social change through the eyes of Bertolt Brecht, Corbin Abernathy

Epic theatre was designed to bring about social change. This practical session will focus on the performance techniques of Bertolt Brecht and how to give your students the best opportunity to create work that explores and expresses their feelings about the world they inhabit. This is valuable work for all students due to its emphasis on the "presentational" acting style, rather than the emotional "naturalism/realism" of Stanislavski.

The Elements of New Life Scripts: Nature and theatre as catalysts for societal and personal change, Elle Morgan

The elements of nature are metaphors for a progression of growth and change. Earth is our past—we write monologues to challenge old paradigms. Water—we flow into the present and look at conflicts in new ways. Fire—we understand emotions as indicators of what must change. Air—the imagination helps us write empowering scenes of the future!

Personal stories as motivators: The Playback Theatre experience, Dr. Tim Reagan

This interactive workshop introduces theatre educators to Playback Theatre, a way for students to develop and strengthen empathetic listening and theatre skills while honoring the human experience. Participants learn to employ artistry, ritual, and social interaction while engaging personal and cultural differences in and out of the classroom and rehearsal space. Be prepared to share personal experiences. The workshop includes small- and large-group experiential activities, an overview of Playback Theatre history and forms, and testimonials about the power of Playback.


2016 EdTA National Conference Professional Development Intensives (PDIs)

Leadership academy 101, EdTA Board of Directors

Adult leaders prepare to effectively serve the mission of the Educational Theatre Association and the International Thespian Society. Participants should come prepared for hands-on activities in an academy-style setting. In this session, attendees will:

  • Review EdTA governance resources including core values and policies.
  • Create action plans using SMART goals, problem solving, and knowledge-based decision-making..
  • Develop an understanding of leadership styles and attributes including self-awareness, self-direction, vision, the ability to motivate, and social awareness..

Keeping N’Sync with your students — the boy band way of thinking: Using improvisation to develop each student’s strengths and creativity, Missy Whitis

Let’s see… there’s the shy one, the boy next door, the rebel, the cute lead singer, and the strong silent guy.

They were expected to sing, dance, dress great, tour, win hearts all over the world, and of course, make as much money as humanly possible. Typically, one of them couldn’t sing that well, one was a horrible dancer, and one would become more popular than the rest and start a solo career. However they became who they were when they were part of the team. Their particular strengths filled holes, forming a complete ensemble.

When developing a winning team or cast, apply this logic. Not every member of the team is a triple threat. Not everyone can sing and dance and dress great all at once. But what can they do? And are you working to turn each student’s strengths into a fantastic team performance?

Learning to not confuse success with significance tears down barriers and allows students to function at the maximum individual capacity. And in turn, it creates behaviors that drive success.

By thinking like a boy band, you see that everyone’s talent is different, and should be celebrated. Remember: not everyone can be the lead singer!

This highly interactive PDI will emphasize:

  • Helping students discover their abilities.
  • Focusing on what your students can do, not what they can’t.
  • Turning your students’ combined talents into a strength-based performance.

Teaching cultural competence through theatre, Leslie Van Leishout

The classroom is becoming increasingly diverse. Cultural competence is a key factor in enabling educators to be effective with all students. Cultural competence is an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and the ability to use that awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity to respect cultural differences. Theatre teachers are uniquely able to explore and teach cultural competence because it requires self-reflection and action. The art of taking on a character, stepping into a different culture, or researching a different time allows students, audiences, and schools to experience culturally proficient empathy. In this workshop we will seek our own level of awareness and determine how our knowledge affects our teaching. Delve into activities to allow students to learn their beliefs, focus on understanding, and forego the temptation to classify others. Create a culturally responsive curriculum for a play, class, or unit.

This PDI will include: 

  • Learning activities that can be used to begin a conversation about self-awareness and tolerance with students.
  • Personal growth that will inform teaching and student interactions.
  • Creation of curriculum around social justice and cultural competence.
  • Use of models and graphics to enhance teaching of these principles.

Rediscovering Stanislavski through exercise, James Van Leishout

Stanislavski's acting technique has inspired major acting methods developed in America in the twentieth century yet a lot of beginning actors still find it difficult to understand. For a quick look at the basics of the "Stanislavski system," below are some of Stanislavski's acting principles covered in this session.

This PDI will include:

  • An introduction and history of Stanislavski and the descent into method.
  • Training in Stanislavski’s system: the instrument, relaxation, the mind.
  • Creating the character and playing the role: magic “if,” subtext, playing the action.
  • Recap and conclusion.

So, I need a giant pumpkin: Problem solving with foam, Steven Sellers and Terry McGonigle

Diving into a new world can be frightening. But what if your theatrical set issues could be solved with just one PDI workshop? Whether you need an oversized table for Alice in Wonderland, a fire hydrant for Little Shop of Horrors, or a giant pumpkin, this session could be a huge help. Instead of asking "Where am I going to find that?" you will be asking "Can I make that out of foam?" The answer is always "Yes, you can!"

This hands-on PDI will include:

  • Introductions.
  • Slide show and overview of foam possibilities.
  • Overview of tools and their use.
  • Foam cutting, carving, sanding, and shaping.
  • Hard coating.
  • Painting foam.

Design storm crash course: 25 Creative ways to teach theatre design, Jo Strom Lane

Ready, set, design! Participants will read micro-plays, get a crash course in “–isms” and inspirations, divide into design storm teams, and go! Teams choose an “-ism,” develop a concept, choose a color palette, and create designs for every area of technical theatre in record time. Teams share their designs before learning how all content is aligned with national standards and can be expanded for a unit of study or a complete course.

This PDI will include:

  • Twenty-five creative ways to approach theatre design.
  • Micro-plays to use with students to practice design in just a page or two.
  • Hands-on projects to use in your classroom or on productions.
  • Options for scope and sequence in any theatre classroom or production, from one unit to a whole course, and everything in between.

Arts power now!, Leslie Van Leishout

Does your superintendent think that “strike” is only for baseball? Does your principal tell you that theatre isn't an "academic" subject? Do your colleagues comment on how easy it must be to play all day? Do parents tell you that their child has other "important" classes? Come be empowered to respond to these and other comments. Have the data, the research, and the ideas to power theatre arts and your program.

This PDI will include:

  • Leadership tools for students.
  • Using the International Thespian Society as a tool for advocacy.
  • Activities to demonstrate the need for theatre to students, families, administrators, colleagues, and the district.
  • Advocacy knowledge to use when faced with problems.

Detective script work for actors and directors, Shawnda Moss

Brilliant design, direction, and acting are a result of a clear understanding of the script. But how can you make sure you have mined a script for all that you need to guide your production? It has been said that Sherlock Holmes did not have a better mind than others, but better eyes, seeing details and information others overlooked. This workshop will help you and your students improve your eyes. As a director you need to know how to use script clues to tell the best story through exciting design elements, specificity in working with actors, and collaborating with an artistic team. As an actor or teacher, you need to learn how to examine the text for clues that will help actors develop characters, understand relationships and motivations, and dive into the script and storyline. Together we will delve into practical examples of dramatic texts to test our clue-deducing skills. Whether you’re looking at directing a production, preparing for a cold reading, or creating curriculum for a classroom performance, you want to be the best detective in the room.

This PDI will emphasize:

  • Examining of script analysis elements.
  • Generating detective’s notes as a director.
  • Exploring textual clues that lead to solid acting methods.

Continuing Education

Extended studies offered with the University of Northern Colorado College of Performing and Visual Arts. Click here to learn more!


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