Professional development for educators

Professional Development for Educators

While the week is predominantly geared toward the developing theatre student, Festival also features Professional Development Intensives. PDIs are one- or two-day interactive, hands-on opportunities for theatre educators to develop their arsenal of professional skills on topics ranging from directing a musical, to curriculum development, to stage lighting. PDIs can even allow attendees to advance a graduate degree or earn credit required for continuing education. For an additional fee, teachers can reserve a spot in a PDI when registering for Festival.


Confirmed PDIs for the 2017 International Thespian Festival:

Acting in musical theatre: A teacher's bootcamp

Joe DeerRegistration cost: $210. Thirty student limit.

Two intensive half-day workshops provide you with fundamental skills to help your students excel in musical performances. Identify and apply acting basics to musical productions. Learn warm-ups, exercises, techniques, and vocabulary that will help you and your students master important musical theatre performance skills. Each unit will provide you with one to two weeks of activities and assignments in your drama class.

Instructor: Joe Deer is a Broadway veteran, internationally sought musical theatre educator, and has served as professional director of over 170 productions from Off-Broadway to London. Joe is head of the BFA musical theatre program at Wright State University where he is also director of the Musical Theatre Initiative. Joe is the 2016 recipient of the Ohio Governor’s Award for Arts Education and was founding president of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance. He is a frequent contributor to Dramatics magazine and Teaching Theatre journal and the author of Acting In Musical Theatre (with Rocco Dal Vera), and Directing In Musical Theatre.



Perfecting your pedagogy: Creating curriculum maps and SLOs centered on national standards

Shawnda Moss

Registration cost: $210. Thirty student limit.

Theatre arts teachers encounter a lot of hoops to jump through and administrative red tape. But this is more than just busy work. Consider the National Theatre Standards, requirements for Student Learning Outcomes, and curriculum maps as guideposts for your curriculum development. Combined with best practice study in theatre education pedagogy and methodology, these resources will create a killer drama class that focuses on student learning, has authentic and varied assessments, uses 21st century skills, and advocates for theatre classes in schools. You’ll leave this PDI having started your own individual curriculum map.

Instructor: Shawnda Moss received degrees in theatre education and theatre for young audiences, and is pursuing an MFA in directing. She taught high school theatre for several years before joining the BYU theatre education program teaching pedagogy and methods, production and directing, and supervising student teachers. She is the artistic director of the Drama Academy at the Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts. Shawnda also directs and performs for various Utah theatre companies.



Counterweight rigging safety and fundamentals

Dana Taylor

Registration cost: $210. Thirty student limit.

Participants will learn basic, safe practices associated with counterweight rigging, as well as rigging techniques and tools. Additional discussions will pertain to best practice, documentation, upkeep, inspections, and liability. This PDI will be held in the theatre at Lincoln Southwest High School. Transportation will be provided.

Instructor: Dana W. Taylor has been director of vocal music and technical theatre instructor at Mt. Vernon (Indiana) Senior High School for 28 years. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and the Entertainment Services and Technology Association. Dana served as technical editor for Dramatics magazine and Teaching Theatre journal from 2006-2016. He also served as the technical theatre editor for Basic Drama Projects and technical editor for Concert Lighting: The Art and Business of Entertainment Lighting. Dana received USITT's Distinguished Achievement Award in education in 2014.