Theatre Workshops

GPTC Theatre WorkShops are a vibrant series of hands-on writing and performance-related classes designed and led by national theatre professionals.  WorkShops cover a variety of techniques and approaches and provide participants and an excellent opportunity to create and collaborate with one another while under the instruction of some of the top theatre artists in the country.

WorkShops are free of charge for all attendees and the general public.  Sessions are held throughout the Conference week, with sign-up sheets available at the Conference registration desk.

2019 Theatre WorkShops

Session One

Jazz Acting Workshop Levy Lee Simon

Learn about Ernie McClintock’s Jazz Acting Technique.  The Jazz Acting Technique concentrates on the actor approaching his/her work with the same freeness, openness and improvisational mindset as a great jazz artist.  It explores the body as an instrument and the emotions notes, all while working in unit with an ensemble of like-minded actors/players.

Locating the Tone  Kip Fagan

Many contemporary playwrights influenced by experimentalists like Mac Wellman and avant-garde companies like the Wooster Group have returned to “well-made play” narrative conventions while retaining the blown-out structures and inventive theatricality of their influences. Is there a common language for approaching these plays in rehearsal? This workshop examines the tools needed — and the tools that need to be invented — for rehearsing this kind of work.

What Shape is Your Play? Using Visual Art as a Form of Dramaturgy Erin Courtney

In this workshop, we will discuss our favorite plays and practice drawing the shape (or diagramming the structure) of these plays. For example, Chekhov’s Three Sisters might be seen as a spiral and Annie Baker’s The Aliens could be viewed as a circle. Why do some shapes work better for some stories? You will also draw the shape of the plays that you are currently working on and explore the reasons behind and effectiveness of these shapes. We will also imagine new shapes for unwritten plays. We will look at architecture, nature and visual art to expand our visual vocabulary regarding forms.

Fornes: Body and Spirit Alice Reagan

This workshop invites participants to encounter key moments in the work of Maria Irene Fornes that take up the interconnectedness of bodies, desire, and the passing of time.   Through reading aloud and a series of responsive exercises, we will look to discover how characters’ transformational moments arrive when they merge (or collide) body and spirit.  Please come ready to gently move, and to write.

Session Two

The Energized Space Mary Beth Easley & Mark Bruckner

Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the Frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is Physics. – Albert Einstein
Theater is a living art form: it takes place in time (impacted by sound), moving (kinetically) through space (the visual field). This living art form generates energy, and that energy impacts both the generator and the receiver. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the principles of individual and collective energy flow and investigate how these principles can be applied toward the creation of dramatic art. This is an immersive workshop where participants will also explore how music, soundscapes, and live Foley activate kinetic impulse and feed storytelling.

Getting What You Want, Staying True to Who You Are: Negotiation Within Creative Collaboration  Katie Pearl

A life in theater is shaped by the vast amount of time we spend in rehearsal rooms embedded with others. As we’ve all experienced, this act of collaboration can be both wonderful and painful– shutting us down as frequently as it open us up. In this workshop you’ll learn the basic skills of the Harvard Negotiation Project’s theory of principled negotiation, and practice having some difficult conversations. You’ll leave with specific tools to help navigate through rough patches, increasing your ability not only to make yourself heard, but to better hear your collaborators.

Honing Dialogue  Kia Corthron
Most of us are intuitive writers without having consciously considered the complexity of our stagecraft: to provide for the audience all character backstory, inner life, and interrelationships within the narrow confines of dialogue and stage directions—i.e., it ain’t as easy as it appears. In this workshop, we will implement exercises as guides for more flowing and effective dialogue

Playwrights and Play Rights Homero Vela

Attorney Homero Vela will discuss legal issues related to writing, producing, and licensing theatrical works, including issues related to copyright, reproduction, and fair use.

Session 3

Acting Masterclass Michael John Garcés

As Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater in Los Angeles, Michael has worked with actors ranging from professionals with years of experience to community members who have never even seen a play. He will present a dynamic acting workshop for all performers.

Fornes: Body and Spirit Alice Reagan

This workshop invites participants to encounter key moments in the work of Maria Irene Fornes that take up the interconnectedness of bodies, desire, and the passing of time. Through reading aloud and a series of responsive exercises, we will look to discover how characters’ transformational moments arrive when they merge (or collide) body and spirit. Please come ready to gently move, and to write.

Getting What You Want, Staying True to Who You Are: Negotiation Within Creative Collaboration  Katie Pearl

A life in theater is shaped by the vast amount of time we spend in rehearsal rooms embedded with others. As we’ve all experienced, this act of collaboration can be both wonderful and painful– shutting us down as frequently as it open us up. In this workshop you’ll learn the basic skills of the Harvard Negotiation Project’s theory of principled negotiation, and practice having some difficult conversations. You’ll leave with specific tools to help navigate through rough patches, increasing your ability not only to make yourself heard, but to better hear your collaborators.

Honing Dialogue Kia Corthron

Most of us are intuitive writers without having consciously considered the complexity of our stagecraft: to provide for the audience all character backstory, inner life, and interrelationships within the narrow confines of dialogue and stage directions—i.e., it ain’t as easy as it appears. In this workshop, we will implement exercises as guides for more flowing and effective dialogue

Session Four

BOUNDLESS Thoughts on the Definition of Genius: It is invention without limitations  Mary Beth Easley

It is creativity without constraints…It is imagination without boundaries…It is risking without fear of failure… What does it mean to invent without limitations? What does it mean to imagine without boundaries? What is an impulse? How do we “allow” ourselves to risk without fear of failure? The fundamental basis of acting entails gaining an organic awareness of self, of imagination, of space and environment, while striving to create, to be without constraints. Working with improvisational exercises, participants in this workshop will focus on freeing the imagination, on spontaneity, on breaking boundaries. Please come with a few lines of text, which will be used with the exercises.

What Shape is Your Play? Using Visual Art as a Form of Dramaturgy Erin Courtney

In this workshop, we will discuss our favorite plays and practice drawing the shape (or diagramming the structure) of these plays. For example, Chekhov’s Three Sisters might be seen as a spiral and Annie Baker’s The Aliens could be viewed as a circle. Why do some shapes work better for some stories? You will also draw the shape of the plays that you are currently working on and explore the reasons behind and effectiveness of these shapes. We will also imagine new shapes for unwritten plays. We will look at architecture, nature and visual art to expand our visual vocabulary regarding forms.

Playwrights and Play Rights Homero Vela

Attorney Homero Vela will discuss legal issues related to writing, producing, and licensing theatrical works, including issues related to copyright, reproduction, and fair use.

Musical Forms for Playwrights Jihae Park

We’ll consider musical forms and figures as possible jumping off points for the shape of a play, and experiment with texts as scores. (No formal music training necessary)