Shakespeare Theater Association (STA) Conference 2020: Be Bold and Resolute, Y’all!
January 29 – February 1, 2020
Dallas, TX

Shakespeare Dallas is thrilled to host our annual Shakespeare Theatre Association conference at the Fairmont Hotel in our downtown Dallas Arts District. The 2020 Conference will include tracks for artistic, managerial, educational, and board-level leadership. The format for sessions within each track runs the spectrum from panel discussions to workshops, performances to keynotes, group discussions to lectures. The conference will include ample time for dialogue with peers through informal gatherings, receptions, and a closing banquet.

*This conference is open only to members in good standing of the Shakespeare Theatre Association, their employees, and board members.  Dues for 2020 must be paid prior to registration.  If you have a question about joining STA or the status of your current membership, contact STA Executive Director, Patrick Flick at



STA 2020 Practicon: Shakespeare As Director

January 26 – January 29, 2020

Join us for a series of sessions designed to explore the powerful and often unexplored tools Shakespeare used to direct his actors’ storytelling in an era hundreds of years before the invention of a director. Through explorations of original practice elements of Folio Work and Cue Scripts alongside contemporary techniques of Fitzmaurice voicework, impulsive ensemble stagecraft, and consent in audience interaction, these sessions are designed to expand the toolsets of artists and educators alike to discover new levels of clarity and inspiration in Shakespeare’s plays. Each session will have separate Artistic and Education break-out components for participants to build their own integrations to share with the group.


Hotel Information

The conference will be hosted at the Fairmont Dallas. Combining the elegance of classic hospitality with an authentic Texan flair, this iconic luxury hotel is ideally located in the heart of the downtown Dallas Arts District, surrounded by an array of fine-dining restaurants, shopping, arts and entertainment.

The discounted group room rate is $175/night and is available until January 6, 2020. To book a room at the group rate, follow the link below:

Early Registration (before December 1, 2019)

Regular Registration

Practicon Registration Add-On

Practicon Registration Only

Additional Banquet Guests

Ticket to performance of The Tempest by Shakespeare Everywhere at Deep Ellum Art Co


Practicon Schedule: January 26 – January 29, 2020

Shakespeare as Director

Sunday, January 26th:

3:00pm – 5:00pm: Practicon Registration (Fairmont Hotel)

5:00pm – 6:30pm: Dinner on your Own

6:30pm – 7:00pm: Welcome & Opening Exercises (Fairmont Hotel)

7:00pm – 10:00pm: Uptown Pub Crawl (Trolley ride to Uptown)


Monday, January 27th:

9:00am – 9:30am: Coffee

9:30am – 12:30pm: Intimacy in Original Practices
Intimacy Direction has made a huge impact on rehearsal rooms across the country, but how can the principles and positive lessons learned be applied to non-traditional rooms, original practice, or unrehearsed Shakespeare environments? How can tools and principles of intimacy direction create a safer and more inclusive approach to audience interaction through direct address or immersive theater? Through discussion and exercises, Intimacy Director Ashley White and actor-manager Montgomery Sutton will lead explorations designed to give you practical tools to take into your rehearsal or classroom.

12:30pm – 2:00pm: Lunch on your Own

2:00pm – 6:30pm: Shakespeare’s Breath and Fitzmaurice Voicework
Certified Fitzmaurice teachers Gregory Lush and Krista Scott will introduce the basic principles of Destructuring in the Fitzmaurice Voicework (which includes freeing the body and reorganizing the pathways between thought and breath). The process of Restructuring serves as a means of matching the impulse to speak with Shakespeare’s Verse Rhythms.

6:30pm – 9:00pm: Dinner on your Own

9:00pm – 12:00am: Conversations (Pyramid Bar)

Tuesday, January 28th:

9:00am – 9:30am: Coffee

9:30am – 12:30pm: Tools not Rules

A condensed version of the core curriculum for Shakespeare Dallas’ professional development intensives, this workshop uses Shakespeare’s own words to illuminate the acting clues and direction baked in to the text. These tools inspired clear, specific, and spontaneous play in the very little rehearsal time that his actors were given. Tools Not Rules introduces First Folio text work and Cue Scripts. The focus will be on implementing these tools in the way Shakespeare’s actors would have learned them: by playing scenes rather than dictating technique. Shakespeare himself guides us through character, stagecraft, and blocking towards a new level of active listening which inspires a bold and playful approach to performance.

12:30pm – 2:00pm: Lunch on your Own

2:00pm – 5:00pm: Direct Address: Audience as a Scene Partner
Building on the previous sessions, we’ll explore how truly removing the fourth wall between actor and audience ignites the plays and how principles of consent and intimacy can inform and enrich spontaneous play with audience members. How can actors tell a consistent story from night to night while being fully open and responsive to the reactions of that night’s audience? How can we invite audience members to be more vocal and interactive without fear of being pulled into an experience or spotlight they don’t want to have? What can we learn from stand-up comedy, improv, and athletics to use these principles to make the plays more accessible and exciting to students?

5:30pm – 6:30pm: Dinner on your Own

6:30pm – 9:00pm: Dramaturgy as a Classroom Tool
Sarah Enloe, Director of Education at American Shakespeare Center will guide participants through using dramaturgy as a tool for the classroom.

9:00pm – 12:00am: Conversations (Pyramid Bar)

Wednesday, January 29th:

9:00am – 9:30am: Coffee

9:30am – 12:00pm: Cue Script Play Through

Combining all the principles of the Practicon into one event, participants will draw characters from a hat and explore a 90-minute cut of The Tempest on their feet in an unrehearsed cue script run. How much can the play take care of itself and jump start a rehearsal process? What happens when our first experience of the play as an ensemble isn’t sitting around a table but actively living through the story?

12:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch on your Own, Conference Registration opens

2:00pm – 5:00pm: Shakespeare Unlocked performance with Q&A

4:00pm – 5:00pm: Moderator Training Session (note, all moderators must attend one of the two moderator sessions) 

STA Education Directors will enjoy a production of our middle and high school touring production Shakespeare Unlocked with local students. After the performance will be a Q&A with teachers and students.

Shakespeare Unlocked is a fast-paced 50-minute crash course in Shakespeare that takes students through a veritable Shakespeare 101. During this performance two professional actors perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and The Taming of the Shrew in period costumes. In addition to watching these scenes, students are given modern instruction on how to decode Shakespeare’s special brand of poetry. Students will learn about Rhymed Verse, Prose, and Iambic Pentameter in addition to learning about Shakespeare’s life and times. This production is highly interactive with audience participation and student volunteer opportunities throughout that can be tailored to various levels, and outfitted for classes that are just beginning or highly advanced.

7:00pm: Conference registration closes

Conference Schedule: January 29 – February 1, 2020

Be Bold and Resolute, Y’all!

7:00pm – 9:30pm: Opening Reception (Sixth Floor Museum)

The Museum, located within the former Texas School Book Depository building, chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. All guests are invited to enjoy the main exhibit, John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation, on the sixth floor. The Opening Reception will be held on the seventh floor.

10:00pm – 2:00am: Conversations (Pyramid Bar)

Thursday, January 30th:

8:30am – 9:30am: Coffee and Registration

8:45am – 9:30am: New Member Orientation

9:30am – 10:00am: Warm ups

10:00am – 12:00pm: STA Kickoff 2020 and Roll Call

12:00pm – 1:30pm: Table Topics Lunch

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Moderator Training Session (note, all moderators must attend one of the two moderator sessions) 

1:30pm – 2:45pm: Plenary: Teresa Eyring on the State of the Field
Teresa Eyring is executive director of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, and publisher of American Theatre. Prior to arriving at TCG in March 2007, Eyring spent more than twenty years as an executive in theatres around the U.S. Under her leadership, TCG adopted a new strategic plan with a major focus on diversity and inclusion, as well as audience and community engagement. With this plan, TCG has articulated a new, unifying vision statement. In summary it is: “A better world for theatre. A better world because of theatre.”

2:45pm – 3:00pm: Break

3:00pm – 4:15pm: Breakout Sessions

Artistic: Public Works

PUBLIC WORKS, a major program of the Public Theater, aims to restore and build community by connecting people through theater—both performing it and experiencing it—reminding us that we’re all in this together. Public Works invites community members to take classes, attend performances and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater. The Public Works model continues to be adopted by theaters across the country, and around the world. Led by Founder Lear deBessonet and Director Laurie Woolery, Public Works deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members, creating theater that is not only for the people, but by and of the people as well.

The Founding Public Works National Partners are:

  • Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX)
  • The National Theatre’s Public Acts programme (London and nationally, England)
  • Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle, WA).

In 2019, Public Works welcomed seven new Public Works National Affiliates: Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT), Pittsburgh Public Theater (Pittsburgh, PA), Theatre Under The Stars (Houston, TX), Trinity Repertory Company (Providence, RI), Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust (Tulsa, OK), Virginia Stage Company (Norfolk, VA), and Williamstown Theatre Festival (Williamstown, MA).

This network of theaters gathers to share practices and help build momentum around community-based theater nationwide. Collectively, we are seeking to put theater at the heart of every community, and community at the heart of every theater.

Education: Using Shakespeare with English Language Learners

One in five people living in America speaks a language other than English at home and 15% of students in our public schools are participating in English Language Learning programs. As the English as a Second Language population increases in communities across the United States, how can we use Shakespeare to aide in the acquisition of the English Language? This panel will consist of 4 theatre makers who have used Shakespeare as a means to connect with populations who are learning English. Most people coming from every corner of the globe—have heard of Hamlet and are aware that his soliloquy contains some of the most famous words in the English language. Many people have even studied the soliloquy in their own native languages. Being written as poetry, Shakespeare’s language is often more memorable than ordinary, spoken English. The rhymes and the rhythm can root four lines of verse in our brains more quickly than a paragraph in prose. Using Shakespeare as a tool is also a way to show English Language Learners- who’ve been toiling away at the basics- just how inventive and beautiful English can be as well as help familiarize them with popular idioms still in use today that Shakespeare invented.

Management: Collaborative Partners and Fundraising

The idea of collaboration isn’t new – it’s what led the industry to the idea of “collective impact” where nonprofits convene and align around a topic. There’s an appetite for collaboration, however it’s not easy or free, it takes outside expertise, it requires a coalition of the willing, and it moves at the speed of trust. Most importantly, it needs a shared passion for driving big change in your community. What is new in Texas is pooling funder and nonprofit resources to accelerate change and deepen impact with an emphasis on FORMAL collaboration. This session will explore the Better Together Fund, which launched in June 2017 as a pilot program to drive large-scale social change by supporting nonprofits that come together in a formal collaboration, for a common purpose, as a way to maximize impact.

4:15pm – 4:45pm: Break

4:45pm – 6:00pm: Breakout Sessions

Artistic: Collaboration between Artistic Director and a non-company member Director

This session will explore the “collaboration” or “cooperation” that has to happen between an Artistic Director and a hired-in, non-company-member director. How much agency/autonomy should be given to an outside director? How much should a director be expected to adhere to a company’s aesthetic/style? How much should outside directors be expected to bring something new and different to a company (in other words, what is the purpose of bringing in artists from outside a company)?  How/how much should a director and artistic director communicate and/or share responsibilities? Where do we draw the line between artistic input and micro-managing?
Moderator: Jemma Levy

Education: Best Practices and Show and Tell

Education Directors from different companies will lead fellow directors in activities and exercises that they use in the classroom. This workshop will be a great way to share ideas and return home with new tools for your classroom toolbox.

Management: The Future of Arts Criticism

Arts coverage in the daily newspapers and mainstream media has decreased in the past decade — with an accelerating decline in the past two years largely due to the new realities of digital metrics, advertising revenue imperatives and click quotas. With that in mind, how are communities addressing this issue and ensuring promotion, growth and development of their arts community both as individual artists and arts organizations. How do you ensure your community and its artists are brought into the national and international arts conversation? Metropolitan Arts Media will share their perspectives on what they are doing for the Dallas – Fort Worth Metropolitan Area as well as other unique models happening across other markets.

Board: Strategic Planning

A strategic planning process identifies strategies that will best enable a theatre to advance its mission. Ideally, as staff and board engage in the process, they become committed to measurable goals, approve priorities for implementation, and also commit to revisiting the organization’s strategies on an ongoing basis as the internal and external environments change. Many theatres start the process by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, in what is commonly called a “SWOT” analysis. Looking at external as well as internal factors (such as your own nonprofit’s staff capacity to accomplish its goals) is important. Looking ahead and planning for the future actually should be continuous: As various factors change, your theatre may need to adjust its plans.

6:30pm – 8:30pm: Dine Around (Deep Ellum)

9:00pm: Performance of The Tempest by Shakespeare Everywhere (Deep Ellum Art Co)*

Come out to Deep Ellum Art Co to see a fun, interactive, boozy production of The Tempest presented by Shakespeare Everywhere.

*Please note, this performance requires advanced registration and a $10.00 ticket fee.

11:00pm – 2:00am: Conversations (Pyramid Bar)

Friday, January 31st:

9:15am – 10:00am: STA Planning Session (by invitation only)

9:30am – 10:00am: Warm ups/Coffee

10:00am – 11:00am: Leadership Convenings

11:00am – 11:15am: Break

11:15am – 12:30pm: Plenary: Scholars and Practitioners

What is the relationship between scholars and practitioners of Shakespeare? How do we link scholarly investigation, public performance, and literary study? This plenary will explore this relationship and how knowledge of primary source material and historical context enrich the understanding of textual analysis and performance, enhancing both the performance and study of Shakespeare’s plays.

12:30pm – 2:00pm: Lunch on your Own

2:00pm – 3:15pm: Breakout Sessions

Artistic: Shakespeare Across Cultures

Shakespeare is the most translated, staged, filmed and studied author in world literature. He is adapted, localized, domesticated and appropriated on the page, stage, and other media in many languages and cultures across the world. This session will explore how Shakespeare influences and is influenced by the languages and cultures of the world.

Education: How to Build a Successful Tour

Ever considered touring a production or program or expanding an existing tour? This workshop will give you practical advice for how to structure and build a tour for companies that have not yet done so and how to grow your touring department for companies that have existing tours. Whether your goals are to create a local, state-wide, regional, national, or even international tour, this session will provide insight in how to successfully expand the reach of your programs.

Management: Moving from Peer to Supervisor: How to Navigate Changing Professional Relationships

Many of us move up the ladders of our organizations and find ourselves suddenly in charge of people we were peers with just a few months before. How do we set appropriate new boundaries as well as maintain valuable friendships when a promotion changes the rules of the game?

Moderator: Brian Isaac Phillips

Board: Diversifying Your Board and Board Recruitment

As any effective leader knows, making sure you have the right people on your team is absolutely fundamental. For Boards, this is no less important, particularly given the tremendous responsibility and decision-making power that boards have, and the length of most board members’ tenures. There’s no question about it: Without the right people around the table, it is difficult for any board to provide effective leadership. So, what does it take to build and maintain a strong and effective board? How do you ensure that your Board is appropriately diverse?

3:15pm – 3:30pm: Break

3:30pm – 5:15pm: Tour of the AT&T Performing Arts Center
“Staging the Amazing” is what the AT&T Performing Arts Center has done for 10 years in the Dallas Arts District, on a beautiful campus which includes the Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theatre, Strauss Square and Sammons Park. Audiences are brought to their feet every day by the newest shows from Broadway, the best dance from all over the world, the coolest new work by Dallas-based groups through the Elevator Project, cutting-edge speakers from the #hearhere series, as well as concerts and free community events. A nonprofit arts foundation, the Center’s mission is to provide a public gathering place that strengthens community and fosters creativity through the presentation of performing arts and arts education program.

5:15pm – 5:30pm: Break

5:30pm: Performance of Stuff As Dreams Are Made On*

Internationally acclaimed artist Fred Curchack performs Shakespeare’s The Tempest changed into something rich and strange. Fred has created seventy-eight original theatre pieces (fifty-one ensemble works and twenty-seven solos). Stuff As Dreams Are Made On was featured at dozens of international theatre festivals (Next Wave-BAM, Theatre of Nations, Theater der Welt, Theatre des Ameriques…). It received the Gold Medal at the International Festival of Solo Theatre, the American Theatre Wing Award, and it has been “Best of the week” in the L.A. Times, “Top ten of the year” in The New York Times, “Top ten of the decade” in the Austin Chronicle, and “Top ten of all-time” in The Dallas Morning News.

*Please note, this performance requires advanced registration. Admission is free.

6:30pm – 8:00pm: Dinner on Your Own

8:00pm: Performance of Quarto v. Folio*

Award-winning actor and director John S. Davies will lead a group of actors in a side by side comparison of the different printed versions of Shakespeare’s plays. From the printing of the First Folio by Heminges and Condell in 1623, most scholars believed that the nineteen Quarto versions of Shakespeare’s plays that were printed while he was actively writing and producing his plays were all corrupt or stolen by others to make a profit by selling them unauthorized versions. Beginning in the late 19th century scholars began to investigate the Quarto texts and it is now thought that of the 19 Quartos, 9 of them were corrupt and pirated material.  The remaining 10 Quartos are thought to be acting editions or early drafts of the plays as they continued to be modified through continued performance. John S. Davies will give historical context on the origin of the Quartos and the First Folio. He will explore why scholars have deemed some Quartos “good” and some “bad”. And he will investigate the similarities and differences between the Quartos and Folio with side by side comparisons of scenes from some of Shakespeare’s greatest work. The actors will bring the texts to life with rehearsed performances of selected scenes. These comparisons will be examined for textual and contextual changes as the plays evolved.

*Please note, this performance requires advanced registration. Admission is free.

9:30pm – 10:30pm: Question Salad

10:30pm – 2:00am: Conversations (Pyramid Bar)

Saturday February 1st:

9:30am – 10:00am: Warm ups/Coffee

10:00am – 11:15am: Plenary: Adapting Shakespeare
This plenary will explore the various ways in which we adapt Shakespeare- as part of engaging communities in participatory theater, using Shakespeare to tell culturally specific stories, changing the works to geographically specific settings, translating and/or modernizing Shakespeare’s words, and using Shakespeare’s themes, plots, and characters in adaptive settings. This panel will explore lifting classical Shakespearean characters out of their original contexts and intertwining them with regional culture, creating rich interactions born out of the community psyche. Additionally, we will take an imaginative look at Shakespearean characters and the vernacular and speech patterns typically associated with Shakespeare’s works. As a group, we will discover the possibilities of expanding the boundaries of dramaturgy and allowing for new ideas and voices to be presented in our communities.

11:15am – 11:30am: Break

11:30am – 1:00pm: STA Business Meeting

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch on your Own

2:00pm – 3:00pm: Breakout Sessions

Artistic: Adapting Shakespeare (hands-on practical follow-up to the Plenary)

Erik Ehn, an American playwright and director known for proposing the Regional Alternative Theatre movement, will lead participants through a hands on exercise in adapting Shakespeare. Erik is the former dean of theater at CalArts, the California Institute of Arts and former head of playwriting and professor of theatre and performance studies at Brown University.

Education: Shakespeare and Contemporary Social Issues
This workshop will offer practical activities and advice for how we can tackle contemporary social issues in the classroom and on tour. Topics that will be addressed include violence prevention, gender equality, sensory friendly, amongst others.

Management: Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now

It’s a major achievement for a company to open a new space. It requires years of fundraising and meticulous planning. If you are in the process of opening your new space or are interested in doing so, this session is for you. Panelists will explore what they wish they had known during the planning phase of opening a new space and what has now come to light after producing the first few seasons in their new home.

Board: Emergency and Planned Succession

Theatres that are serious about their own sustainability will also be serious about planning for smooth and thoughtful transitions of leadership – as well as making sure their company is prepared for unexpected departures. Whether a transition occurs due to an unexpected vacancy on the staff or board, or the anticipated transition of a long-tenured leader or founder, being deliberative and thoughtful, and having a plan in place, can help a nonprofit weather the inevitable challenges of leadership transition.

3:15pm – 3:45pm: Break

3:45pm – 5:00pm: Breakout Sessions

Artistic: “Becoming Othello, a Black Girl’s Journey”

Education: TBD

Management: TBD

Board: TBD

5:00pm – 7:00pm: Break

7:00pm – 10:00pm: Closing Banquet

Break out your best cowboy boots and jeans and join us for a party to celebrate the immortal bard William Shakespeare in a Texas-sized way! Raise a glass to friendships old and new, celebrate the 2020 recipient of the Sidney Berger Award, and cheer on our 2021 conference hosts at Gamut Theatre. Dinner and dancing will ensue, we will even provide a Two-Stepping lesson or two!*

*Don’t be scared. As we say in Texas, “two-stepping is just walking to a beat!”

10:00pm – 2:00am: Conversations (Pyramid Bar)