National Directors Conference

Personalized to meet your needs
Madison, WI, November 15-17, 2019
Thank you to all who attended the 2019 National Directors Conference!  More information on the next Conference will be available Spring 2020.

Community Theatre Managing Directors will gather at the Lowell Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin--Madison in Madison, Wisconsin, November 15-17, 2019, to share stories of challenges and solutions, learn about other theatre operations, and network with colleagues from across the country.

This three-day, biennial conference is held for individuals employed full-time in an administrative or artistic position in a community theatre organization. 

Interested in attending this conference, but you are not a full-time employee in an administrative or artistic position? Anyone is eligible to register and attend as an Observer. Observers come from all backgrounds and experience levels within Community Theatre, and will have access to all meals, social events, and all resources shared during the conference. Discussion however will be limited to Full-Time Director participants unless facilitator(s) warrants otherwise. Observing is a great way to learn from Full-Time Directors.

John Viars, FacilitatorJohn Viars will be returning as the facilitator for the Conference.

John is a charter member of the National Directors Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, which he has facilitated since 1987. Artistic Director Emeritus of the Des Moines Playhouse (DMP), John served in the Executive and/or Artistic Director position at DMP for 36 years. In addition, a member of the AACT Fellows, John is a past president of AACT, and a recipient of international achievement, outstanding service, and lifetime achievement awards. Serving as National Chair of AACT’s first-ever international community theatre festival held at the Des Moines Playhouse in 1990, John also received the Elinor Robson Award for International Understanding in recognition of his “significant contributions to international understanding.”  Employed professionally in community and educational theatre for over 45 years, John has directed more than 200 productions, frequently served as a workshop leader, and has adjudicated community theatre festivals at the state, regional, and national levels, including AACTFest National Festivals in 1991 and 2015. John holds both a BA and MA in theatre from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.


Registration Rates:     $300   Early Bird  (by October 1, 2019)
                                   $350   Regular  (after October 1, 2019)

Registration Includes:  Opening Night Reception
                                        All conference materials
                                        Return of the MTI-Sponsored Cocktail Hour and Trivia Game


610 Langdon St.
Madison, WI 53703

Hotel Reservations
LOWELL CENTER HOTEL - ROOM BLOCK SOLD OUT - Please check Lowell Hotel Reservations for general availability.
610 Langdon St.
Madison, WI 53703
Hotel Reservations: (608) 256-2621 

Reservation Deadline: October 16, 2019


601 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53715

Hotel Reservations: LINK to reserve
                             Front Desk: (608) 441-7117 - mention ­­­AACT Managing Directors Conference

Reservation Deadline: Tuesday, October 15, 2019


United Logo Madison, WI Z Code: ZFQY, Agreement Code: 460260

Delta Logo Madison, WI Meeting Coder: NY2TJ


Thursday, Nov 14
5:00pm – 7:00pm Welcome Reception with cash bar (co-hosted by AACT)

Friday, Nov 15
8:00am Orientation Breakfast
9:00am Morning Session
12:30pm Lunch buffet 
1:30pm Afternoon Session
5:30pm Dinner at The University Club
7:30pm Evening Session
10:00pm Adjourn for the day

Saturday, Nov 16 
8:00am "Share Your Wares" Breakfast
9:00am Morning Session
12:30pm Lunch buffet 
1:30pm Afternoon Session
5:30pm Dinner on your own
7:30pm Evening Session with MTI Music Theatre International
10:00pm Adjourn for the day

Sunday, Nov 17
8:00am Breakfast
9:00am Morning Session
11:30am Conference adjourns


Questions about the conference?

Contact the AACT office at or 817-732-3177.

Refunds request may be made by November 1, 2019. A 20% administrative fee will be charged for processing. Please contact Karen Matheny at to request a refund.

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