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Matt Conover's Blog

Julie and I had an excellent experience traveling through China and getting exposure to the great work being led by Jeff Zhu, Lil Ma, Elise Lammers and the team at Dipont Education Mgt to "install" drama programs (English based - western theatre based) in high schools and ultimately middle and primary schools here is this amazing country.  We have had the opportunity to meet many students, several faculty and administrators who all - for the most part - are excited about the possibility too.

Here are a few photos from our visit .... and here is a link to a photo stream of even more!








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Saturday I head back to China. This time with a different purpose. I am traveling with Julie W. as a member of the EdTA Board at the invitation of Dipont Education Management. Their mission is to create rich high school programs in China to enable Chinese students to succeed at US universities. We know that theatre education is essential to a well rounded, complete secondary education so I am excited to see what our partnership can bring. Check back here as I will share some photos and thoughts of our journey! zài jiàn
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This past weekend, I had the privilege of meeting with the other members of the EdTA Board of Directors in Cincinnati as we continued pushing our effort to keep the association moving forward.  Walking the halls of the home office, seeing the plaques dedicated to all those people who have given days, weeks and years in service of the association.  Seeing the plaques and images recognizing the service many of the states also adorn the halls.  The desks of the staff, neatly cluttered (if thats possible) with all that's necessary to keep the association moving forward.

Moving forward.  It is how we must approach the future -- respecting the past and moving ahead.  This community is the result of countless hours of focus from many, many members of the EdTA staff.  The goal -- to better connect our members with each other and thus create our future.  For a national organization to continue to thrive, we have to learn from each other -- not just inside our school or our chapter, but across the country and eventually the world.  There are such amazing opportunities that something like this tool can create -- but it takes participation.  
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I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend in Conway, AR at the 2014 Arkansas State Thespian Festival!  What a great couple days at the University of Central Arkansas, with almost 1,000 attendees the energy was terrific the whole time!

With 29 presenters sharing more than 100 workshops on a great variety of topics, the students and adults who took part I know came away with more than they arrived with.  How great to have Brian Curl and Malia Drinkwitz be able to host their dance workshops on the full stage at the Reynolds Center -- an awesome environment for that great learning.  Neat experiences like Virtual Theatre with Dana Proulx-Willis and the terrific experiences kids had with former ITO John Stark teaching Art for Social Change!  The students were engaged and arrantly busy the whole time - as reports from the UCA staff were all positive ;)


A wide variety of IE's took place Thursday and Friday -- I had the chance to adjudicate Lighting Design and am always pleasantly surprised by the eagerness and sense of story some of the students bring to their work.
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Was a pleasure this weekend to join the chapters of the NorthEast region for their festival held just outside Portland, ME.    Having more than 300 thespians assemble in the gym at the University of Southern Maine to kickoff a great weekend was energizing!  Keith Anctil, Kit Rodgers and the entire leadership from the states in the NorthEast assembled a great program and great set of workshops.



The little bit of snow only intrigued only those of us from the far west!



Friday afternoon, Michael Mahany, Sara Andreas, Jason Yarcho and Gai Jones and I joined some talented students (both on and backstage) and great support from Eileen Avery from Gorham HS and Taylor Rodgers and Rick Osann at Gorham High School for rehearsal to put together our 19th benefit performance.
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Fellow EdTA Members --

Over the past several months, a subcommittee was charged by the Board to put into words the role/purpose of the Appointed Board Member position -- basically why do we have appointed members?

Below is the language which this weekend the Board approved and will be published on the schooltheatre.org site, but I wanted to share it through our community as a place that also can allow for dialogue as needed.

I am proud of the role I play on the Board as a member of the Assn., a Thespian and as an Appointed Member.  I have enjoyed this conference a lot -- seeing people again, meeting new people, and engaging in great dialogue.

Happy Trails!

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Appointed Board Members diversify the makeup of the EdTA Board of Directors.  For the Association to broaden its influence and ensure its mission and results reflect the industry and world around, diverse approach and perspective is essential.

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