AACTFest 2021: Workshops

Stretch Your Mind with Festival Workshops
Pick Up Vital New Skills, Fine-Tune Those You Already Have

Among the over 60 events planned for AACTFest 2021 are online workshops and panels aimed at what we need most—revitalization. Reflecting the current global health crisis, with many performing arts organizations temporarily closed, workshops will include topics related to COVID-19 recovery, including outreach, reinventing productions, audience safety, and communications. There also will be a well-rounded roster of workshops for directors, actors, designers, administrators, educators, and marketers. Learn new technological advances, and participate in forums addressing inclusion, diversity, and accessibility, as well as other challenges brought into sharp focus in the past year.

Preliminary Listing

Scenic Painting Techniques
Tim Wisgerhof, Venice Theatre
Jenn York, Tacoma Little Theatre
David Len, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Three talented artists will set up cameras in their own theatre scene shops to demonstrate standard scenic painting techniques, then show how to take each technique to the next level. Included will be a panel discussion addressing how to create a unified approach with the director and designers of a show, and how to maximize your budget.

A Director’s Intensive
Dorinda Toner, Twilight Theatre
Glean the most from your script to communicate your vision effectively with your production staff and cast. Discussion topics include script analysis, practical exercises to promote growth, setting boundaries and expectations, and how to cocreate. The workshop will blend Dorinda’s presentation with the experience and advice of other directors in the room.

Demystifying Dramaturgy
Kathy Pingel, AACT Staff
Traditionally, the job of the dramaturg is to learn as much as possible about the play—its structure, its language, its themes and the context surrounding its creation—to give the director, designers, and actors a clear idea of the world within the play. Learn a basic approach as well as a new facet: psychological dramaturgy. And hear how the dramaturg is an important role in AACT’s NewPlayFest process.

I Really Need This Part
Rick Kerby, Manatee Performing Arts Center
Rick has canvassed dozens of directors, music directors, and accompanists to discover their pet peeves when it comes to musical auditions—this workshop will help you avoid those mistakes. A dynamic video will be included that gives examples of what he has discovered. This will be followed by a discussion with actor, Brian Martin (Bullets Over Broadway National Tour, Guys and Dolls National Tour and Mrs. Doubtfire, produced at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre) about how to overcome stage fright and get yourself into the right frame of mind to audition.

Playwrights’ Pitch Room: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes
Playwrights will highlight their unpublished works with two-minute elevator pitches. It is a fresh approach to learning what’s current, and how to tap into new material.

Progress After 2020
We’re all eager to get back to business, but not without acknowledging what we’ve learned from responding to the pandemic, as well as other social challenges our country has faced. How will the role of boards change? How will your theatre enhance accessibility, inclusion, and diversity? How will you develop and maintain local, political, and economic allies? What strategies have you learned with Zoom-inspired communication and other cyber-communication tools to apply to your theatre as you reopen? These and other questions will be
discussed at this illuminating workshop.

Watch for announcements of more workshops in the weeks to come.

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