Hotel and Travel


Developing Wonder: The Developmental Psychology of Theatre

Keynote: Thalia R. Goldstein, Saturday 9:30-10:30 am

Thalia will talk about what aspects of developmental psychology could be useful for theatre makers and theatre scholars to think about and investigate more as they’re creating work for Young Audiences! 

 Welcome, Come Again
Led By: Barry Kornhauser, Saturday 10:45 am-12:30 pm 
              Millersville University  

Because TVY reaches out not only to the youngest but often newest of audiences, we practitioners have perhaps an extra-special obligation to make our presentations as welcoming, enriching, and impactful as possible.  And since, as researchers Ana Luisa Goulart de Faria and Sandra Regina Simonis Richter inform us, “a child understands much beyond what it can say and responds far beyond what it can define…[that] children are capable of sophisticated forms of organization of thinking, and of manifesting different manners of expression, even prior to reading and writing,” it is also our imperative to create works that “encourage imagination and challenges to reasoning, giving room to curiosity, providing amazement, discovery, marveling all form of expression in the most varied intensities.”  Balloonacy and A Child’s Garden of Verses are two very different TVY plays - one completely non-verbal and clown-inspired, the other built on words, those from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic compendium of poems, but highly interactive and multi-sensory.  Their contrasts are informative when considering the development of theatre practices and pieces for early learners.  Using these two works as examples, we will explore and devise accompanying “invitations” to our novice audiences and the kinds of follow-up interactions that can augment and extend the theatrical experience.  We will reckon with an audience presence that is perhaps more profound than any other, and also consider how TVY might also serve as WAT – Widely Accessible Theatre, with qualities that reach out to children who are Deaf, those with other language barriers, and sometimes those living on the autism spectrum.

 Show, Not Tell: Using Sensory-Based Techniques to tell Nonverbal Stories in TVY  

Led By: Stacy Steyaert, Saturday 2:00-4:00 pm 
                Early Childhood Program Coordinator
                Imagination Stage

Together in this session, we will explore the Sensory Storytelling techniques artists have used to tell stories in at least the following nonverbal pieces:

Hatched by Treehouse Shakers
Squirrel Stole my Underpants by The Gottabees
Wink from Spellbound
By the Seashore by Arts on the Horizon

We will also explore WHY these techniques are so effective with the very young, and how this information can inform how we work with and/or teach our youngest learners.  Following a discussion and analysis, artists will practice these techniques, working from story prompts I will provide to create their own sensory, nonverbal vignettes for the very young.

Making the Familiar New!

Led By: Patricia Zimmer, Saturday 4:15-6:15 pm
               Professor of Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young
               Eastern Michigan University

Productions represented in the Digital Festival are filled with examples of/and inspiration for ways to celebrate and explore the familiar world of the young child.  In this workshop, we’ll identify some of the specific ways theatre companies have heightened and “made new” children’s familiar experience through their scripts and productions. We’ll experiment with techniques for making the everyday theatrical and explore ways to "make the familiar new" (and perhaps, the strange familiar)!  Some of the videos explored will include (but may not be limited to) Chicken Story Time, Ruff, Wonderwander, and Babywild.  

Teddy Bear Talks

Moderated by: Sandy Asher, Sunday 9:30-10:30 am

John Newman: Academic and Research Applications of the Digital Festival
Stacy Steyaert: Values and Standards for American TVY, Featuring New Victory Research
Sandy Asher: The Past, Present, and Future of the Digital Festival


Thalia R. Goldstein, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Applied Development Psychology at George Mason University and the director of the Social Skills, Imagination and Theatre Lab. She studies how children participate in and create fictional worlds, how actors construct characters onstage, and the effects of these activities on empathy, theory of mind, emotion regulation, compassion and altruism. Her other work focuses on how children and adults understand social categorization at the fiction/reality border, and how children react to watching fictional worlds. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, The John Templeton Foundation, Arts Connection, the National Science Foundation, American Psychological Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security. She has won awards from the Society for Research in Child Development, American Psychological Association, and the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media. She is editor of the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts (APA Division 10). Dr. Goldstein earned her B.A. from Cornell University in Theatre and Psychology, her Ph.D. from Boston College in Developmental Psychology, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship Yale University. She spent several years as a professional actress and dancer in New York City.

Sandy Asher's plays have been honored with an NEA grant, three AATE Distinguished Play Awards (A Woman Called Truth, In the Garden of the Selfish Giant, and Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story), the IRT/Bonderman Award, NETC’s Aurand Harris Award, AATE's Charlotte Chorpenning Award for a distinguished body of work, and an Aurand Harris Fellowship grant from the Children's Theatre Foundation of America. Sandy is also the author of books for young readers and the editor of several anthologies. Six plays are included in Tell Your Story: The Plays and Playwriting of Sandra Fenichel Asher. Visit Sandy at

Dr. John Newman is a theatre professor at Utah Valley University and director of the UVU Theatre for Youth and Education Center. He taught and directed theatre at Highland High School for eighteen years. He earned his M.A. from the University of Texas and his Ph.D. from New York University. Newman is the author of Playwriting in Schools: Dramatic Navigation and co-author of Tell Your Story: The Plays and Playwriting of Sandra Fenichel Asher. He chairs the Playwrights In Our Schools project and has served on the board of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

Along with his work at Millersville University, Barry Kornhauser is a TYA playwright and theatre educator. Recognitions include the AATE’s Chorpenning Cup, the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America’s Orlin Corey Medallion, and most recently the ‘Artist of the Year’ designation at the 2017 Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards. Barry’s work has taken him everywhere from a one-room Amish school house to the White House where his youth theater for at-risk and disabled teens was honored as one of the nation’s top arts education programs. His plays have been commissioned/produced by the Kennedy Center, Tony-Award winning regional stages, and theatres worldwide.

Stacy Steyaert, Early Childhood Program Coordinator at Imagination Stage, specializes in teaching first-exposure arts experiences for ages 0-10. Hailing from Littleton, Colorado, Stacy has worked as an arts administrator and educator for several organizations across the DC, Chicago, Hartford, and Denver metro areas. Stacy was also the 2016 & 2017 Co-Coordinator of the TVY Special Interest Group for AATE, where she founded the TVY SIG newsletter to feature North American work in theatre for ages 0-7. She holds a BFA in Theatre Management and her MEd in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction.

Patricia Moore Zimmer teaches, writes and directs theatre for young and intergenerational audiences at Eastern Michigan University, where she is a professor in the Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young program. Some of her recent and ongoing professional interests include theatre for very young audiences, professional development for directors, the nature of creativity, and new play development in Theatre for Young Audiences. She is an active member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education as well as TYA/USA (the U.S. Center for ASSITEJ).