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New this Summer—EdTA Members-only Professional Development Webinars

Theatre Teachers in a large circle at the 2019 Theatre Education Conference
Theatre Teachers in a large circle at the 2019 Theatre Education Conference

This summer EdTA is introducing a series of six live professional development webinars. Education Manager Cory Wilkerson says, “While students are out of school for the summer is a good time for teachers to focus on their own professional development.”

EdTA polled members to learn what topics were most important for them. The survey generated more than 2,000 responses, with requests for technical theatre topics, acting, and directing ranking the highest.

Wilkerson added, “We also have had requests for help building curriculum, so there are webinars planned for this as well.”

Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald says, “I am proud to launch the newest of our professional development offerings with these member-driven live webinars. Over the next few months you will see many more opportunities for professional development designed around members’ feedback and input. These sessions are a great opportunity for teachers to build skills and knowledge for the upcoming school year.”

The webinars, which are for EdTA members only, will be held twice a month beginning in mid-June. To attend any webinar, please contact Education Manager Cory Wilkerson to register.

Webinar dates, times and descriptions:

June 11, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern
Creating a Theatre Curriculum for the Middle Grades
This webinar offers a year-long model of standards-based middle school theatre curriculum, and offer tips for creating one of your own.  Perfect for the teacher just starting out in the middle grades or for anyone interested in learning how to build a standards based curriculum and map it out.

Presenter:  Jennifer Ridgway

A theatre artist, teaching artist, educator, and consultant with Wolf Trap and the Lucy School, Ridgway designs curriculum alongside classroom teachers in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas.

June 20, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern
This webinar delivers a proven unit of instruction in teaching directing to high school level students and unpacks methods for analyzing a play, blocking, and an overall approach to directing.  Suitable for anyone wishing to learn to teach this skill to their students, or just starting out as a director themselves.

Presenters:  Michael Bigelow Dixon and Amie Kisling

Dixon is a playwright and theatre artist, former resident director at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, Literary Director at the Guthrie Theatre, and former literary manager and associate artistic director at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.   Kisling is an award-winning theatre educator and EdTA member from Lexington, Ken.

July 11, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern
Lighting Design
This webinar reviews a unit of instruction in teaching lighting design to beginning theatre students at the high school level.  Suitable for anyone wishing to start out teaching lighting design, or for those who are just starting out as in teaching who wish to do their own design.

Presenters:  Cheryl J. Williams and Joanna Fellows Chilcoat

Williams, a professional lighting designer, director, and Equity stage manager in the Baltimore area, has been a professor of theatre for more than 25 years.  Chilcoat is a theatre educator in Montgomery County, Va., teaching theatre, film, and media studies. 

July 25, 20194:00 p.m. Eastern  (note different time)
Building a High School Theatre Curriculum
This webinar presents a year-long model of standards-based theatre curriculum suitable for a beginning teacher, or anyone who wishes to learn more about creating and mapping out a standards-based curriculum for theatre at the high school level.

Presenter:  Gai Laing Jones

A master teacher and the founder of California Youth in Theatre, Jones is a retired theatre educator and Thespian troupe director, and a multi-faceted artist, director, consultant, corporate trainer, author, and actress. 

August 6, 2019 – 7:30 PM Eastern
Write Your Own Musical
This webinar introduces a proven method for writing your own musical, or challenging your students to write one, by chunking it into easy achievable steps.  Suitable for experienced theatre teachers or those new to teaching musical theatre.

Presenter:  Gregory Bossler

Bossler is publications director for EdTA and program director for Next Generation Works. He studied with Maury Yeston at BMI’s musical theatre workshop and has taught writing at Arena Stage. His musicals include the one-act Here We Are and the full-length Raven Brings Light.

August 20, 2019 – 7:30 PM Eastern
Teaching Basic Choreography
This webinar provides an introduction to basic choreography for theatre teachers who are asked to come up with their own dance compositions. Also suitable for the educator who just wants to understand some basic moves. 

Presenter: Brian Curl

Curl is a performer and teaching artist from New York City who has been a popular presenter at EdTA’s National Conference and the International Thespian Festival.  He has served as the director and choreographer for Thespian Musicalworks as well as an EdTA representative at many chapter events. 

According to Wilkerson webinars will continue into the fall.  Offerings are scheduled to include: Teaching Theatre with Primary Video Sources – learning how to use free video resources in your classroom in a “flipped” classroom model to enrich your curriculum; Stage Management – learning the basics of good stage management and how to train and nurture student stage managers; and two webinars from partner university member Bethany Nelson, Emerson College Assistant Professor of Theatre and Director of Graduate Studies on “A Constructivist Approach to Teaching Drama and Theatre” and “Playmaking”. Dates and times to be announced.


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