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.

2018 Theatre WorkShops

10:30 -12:00

THE PLAY IS IN THE POETRY
Eugenie Chan
In this workshop, we will explore how to use poetry to find the big picture of your play. Whether you’re in the beginning, middle, or groping blindly in the dark for that ending to your piece, frolic with us in the world of la poeme to discover another way to structure.

AUDITION PREPARATION
Mary Beth Easley
The human spirit is at the core of our work. It is the quintessential expression of who we, uniquely, are. As actors, we must strive to reveal our unique selves in all our work. That includes the often terrifying, always unpredictable, audition process. How can we learn to bring the fullness of our spirit into the audition room? It is a journey — a journey that begins with preparation.
This workshop will focus on exploring a range of acting skills that will help prepare actors to give inventive performances in side auditions. Participants will work with text, and learn to make choices that reveal their unique spirit. They will learn techniques to help them be instinctual, to surrender to the room, while staying grounded in truth.

WORKING IN COMMUNITY
Michael John Garcés
Cornerstone Theater Company’s Artistic Director, Michael Garces, will share some of the strategies and exercises the company uses to create unique and meaningful works of theatre with a wide range of communities and populations.

FIGHTING FOR CREATIVE PRODUCING
Kristin Marting
What would your ideal creative process to develop your work look like? How do you persuade producers and producing entities to provide the appropriate development process and producing process for you to premiere your best work ? What are appropriate expectations and reasonable asks? How can we work together to shift the common practices that don’t serve us as a field of creative artists? Kristin will share the flexible developmental producing model that she has developed at HERE.

A PLAY’S LIFE BEYOND THE SCRIPT AND STAGE
Bryan Moore
What is your desired audience response and engagement to their play, including and beyond the actual performance? How can you be clear about such intentions in your scripts without limiting the creativity of the production group? This session for all theatre artists will take a more dramaturgical and outreach approach to the new play and production experience, encouraging you to consider the potential of a play’s message and production to connect with the audience and greater community. You will have time to share personal experiences and to brainstorm ideas for their current projects.

1:30-3:00

SOLUTIONS
Lee Blessing
Bet you didn’t even know you had a problem. You have a problem if all you have is a problem. A play is about solutions, and we’re going to find some.

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.

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.

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

AUDITION PSYCH-OUT
Wai Yim
“I hate auditions.” or “I’m just not good at auditioning!” You have worked so hard to get the materials right, but in the moment, your nerves get the best of you. You freeze and you feel like you messed everything up. Or you did a great audition but you didn’t get cast. You feel discouraged, want to give up and never audition again. This workshop will focus on the psychology of auditioning. We will look deeper into the audition process – from preparation to callback – helping actors to overcome their own mental blocks. We will focus on several mental and physical preparation techniques; to calm your nerves and boost your confidence in order for you to have better results in your auditions.

10:30-12:00

SOLUTIONS
Lee Blessing
Bet you didn’t even know you had a problem. You have a problem if all you have is a problem. A play is about solutions, and we’re going to find some.

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.

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

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

THE PLEASURE OF THE TEXT
Jody McAuliffe
How much can we discover of the pleasure of a play while sitting around a table working? By reading and analyzing text, participants will work to identify conflict, choose an action to play, discover concrete details of character and relationships, and grasp the structural dynamics of the scene. For actors, directors, and playwrights–at any level.

10:30- 12:00

QUIET
Sarah Ruhl
Let’s spend some time together getting our minds quiet and writing amidst the distractions of every day contemporary life. A short meditation, some guided writing exercises, and a discussion time about how we can better go inward in a world that is very noisy.