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2012 National Conference Featured Workshops
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The Body Tells Stories: This workshop is a hands-on exploration of the Five Elements, the Triple Design, and safe Stage Combat techniques. Performers spend too much time in their heads, intellectualizing motivations, intentions and relationships. By physically exploring the Five Elements, the concepts of Speed and Space, and the Triple Design, participants will open up new doors to engage their own practice, as well as young performers, in the discovery of fresh and vibrant ways to approach performing, devising, writing and teaching. The second half of the workshop will be spent exploring safe and exciting Stage Combat techniques. Participants will learn several different ways to introduce safe combat techniques to young students, while framed in a frank conversation about violence in modern media forms.

Gary Minyard is the Artistic Director of the historic Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. Originally from Dallas, Gary received a dual emphasis MFA in Theatre for Youth and Directing from Arizona State University. At the University of Houston, Gary became a certified fighter with SAFD, and also trained with Chuck Hudson and Claude Caux in both lyrical and mechanical styles of mime. Gary has helped create over 200 pieces of theatre as a director, choreographer, writer and performer. This list includes fight/movement choreography for Dallas Children’s Theatre, Nebraska Theatre Caravan, Phoenix Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, Childsplay, and the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. Gary is on the Board of Directors for the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) and the Eastern Pennsylvania Arts Alliance (EPAA), a member of Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA-USA), Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD).


Ethnodrama & Ethnotheatre: This workshop will introduce the fundamentals of dramatizing datasuch as interview transcripts and ethnographic field notes to explorehow qualitative research transfers "from page to stage.” The session willprovide a literature review of available ethnodramas with participantsreading aloud informally from scripts (and, pending A/V availability,watching video excerpts from ethnotheatrical performances). We will then explore how field notes from a published account can be adaptedand devised into short scenes. Next, the participants’ personal livedexperiences are workshopped as autoethnodramatic monologues.Participants will select a personal story as the basis for workshoppingan informal retelling of that work to peers. The facilitator will guideeach researcher-as-storyteller through the process of selectingnecessary sensory details, choosing evocative language, andemploying gesture and voice as instruments for dramatizing the data.

Johnny Saldaña received his BFA and MFA degrees in Drama Education from theUniversity of Texas at Austin, and is a Professor of Theatre at Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Designand the Arts. Mr. Saldaña’s research methods have been used by researchersinternationally in such disciplines as education, health care, government,business, technology, and the social sciences. His books have received awardsfrom the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, the National CommunicationAssociation—Ethnography Division, and the ASU Herberger Institute for Designand the Arts. He has published a wide range of research articles in such journalsas Research in Drama Education, Multicultural Perspectives, Youth TheatreJournal, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Teaching Theatre, ResearchStudies in Music Education, and Qualitative Inquiry, and has contributed severalchapters to research methods handbooks.

Hip-Hop Theatre: This workshop will explore the idea of Hip-Hop as a means to allow people to reclaim their voices and use the aesthetics of Hip-Hop culture for personal healing and cultural empowerment. Participants will learn about the original elements of Hip-Hop culture and how they have begun to incorporate themselves into the current theatrical landscape. Participants will examine examples of Hip-Hop theatre and examine how each genre expands each other. Participants will be asked to create pieces that speak to important social issues; inspiring them to action. This exercise will culminate in the creation of a spoken word ("slam”) poem, monologue or movement piece that incorporate metaphor, simile, personification and imagery that uncover connections to the world around them.

Jose’ Casas is a playwright, director and Literary Manager of CASA0101 in Los Angeles. Works written include mindprobe/freddie’s dead, the assassination of erik estrada, bag of oranges, the vine, la rosa still grows beyond the wall, 14, somebody’s children, la ofrenda and a million whispers all at once. His play, la ofrenda, was the winner of 2005 Bonderman National Playwriting for Youth Award and the 2007 American Alliance Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play award. His play somebody’s children was the winner of the 2009 Bonderman National Playwriting Award and the 2010 American Alliance of Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play award. His plays, 14 (2003) and la rosa never grows beyond the wall (2005) have both been awarded the ARIZoni Theatre Award for Excellence for Best Production of An Original Play.

Pride & Puppetry: Puppets take on all shapes and sizes, but where on earth does one start building them? This workshop will demystify the world of foam puppetry by taking participants through the design and building process step-by-step. Topics will include: materials (where to get them and how to use them), patterns, construction methods, applications of basic hand puppets to arts education, and character development. Participants will also be able to build a hand puppet during the workshop, which will be theirs to keep.

Eric Abele is a costume designer and technician, and a puppet building
enthusiast. Currently he is the Resident Designer/Costume Director at
Lexington Children’s Theatre, where he is responsible for the design, design mentorship, and execution of all costumes and puppets for a busy eleven show season. He earned his BA in Dramatic Arts and German at Centre College and completed his MFA in Costume Design at the University of Tennessee. For many years, Eric was a drama instructor for the Kentucky

Governor’s Scholars Program. Eric’s work as a costume designer has taken him to many theatres across the country and internationally, having studied design in England, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.


Acting Against Bullying and Managing Conflict Through Drama: Drama, carefully structured and sustained, is a powerful tool for giving school students understanding of the structures of conflict and bullying, and the conceptual tools and confidence to help them manage it for themselves. Combined with peer teaching on a whole-school basis, it can give students of all ages some power to cope with the conflicts in their lives and relationships, and more than that. It is a democratic pedagogy, putting the power in the hands of the students; and when supported by their teachers and backed by sympathetic administrations it can transform the ethos of their own school.  The linked programs Cooling Conflict and Acting against Bullying are the results of over ten years action research in Australian schools, involving thousands of students and their teachers. In this workshop, John O’Toole, co-founder of the programs, introduces their principles and gently demonstrates some of the drama activities which underpin them.

John O'Toole is Honorary Professor both at the University of Melbourne, where he was the foundation Chair of Arts Education, and Griffith University, Brisbane, where he was Professor of Drama and Applied Theatre. He has taught and researched drama education and applied theatre for over forty years, and his many books include the first book on Theatre in Education (1977), Dramawise (1988), The Process of Drama (1992) and Drama and Curriculum (2010). He was given the AATE Judith Kase-Cooper Honorary Research Award in 2001, and six of his PhD students have won the AATE Distinguished Dissertation Award.  He is also still a practising playwright and director in theatre in education, and currently the Lead Writer for the Arts in the Australian National Curriculum.   

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