We are currently accepting applications to teach a workshop at the conference. Click here for the application. Submissions due by July 1st.

Many of our workshops will be provided by the professional staff of PCPA.  We partnered with them in 2014, and their workshops were the highlight of the weekend.  This year, you can look forward to a wide array of offerings, including a variety of technical theatre workshops.

To learn more about their talented staff of artists, click here.

Here are some of the workshops and teaching artists who presented at last year’s conference:

Teaching Improvisation – James Thomas Bailey

If you’re like most teachers, you probably never had formal training in improv because most universities don’t offer it. This class will teach you how to use improv techniques to enhance your program and teach the skills of acting so that your classroom isn’t overrun by teenage boys who think they know more than you do. Learn how improv training can serve as the foundation of your program.

Ten Things I Hate About Your Acting – Gale Caswell

Here is a whimsical look at the ten things student actors do that drive you nuts. Each workshop participant will go home with a copy of this multi-media presentation for use in his or her own classroom.

Playing for your Audience, Play(ing) with the Audience – Michael Despars

Utilizing the Critical Response Process of Liz Lerman, participants will learn how to use this process to help give feedback to performers. The process includes watching a performance, asking Statement of Meaning, Asking Neutral Questions, and giving Permission Opinions. This work allows for the teacher to facilitate feedback with student performers and technicians as opposed to being the driving force of the feedback.

Growing the New Play – Jonathan Dorf

Your students want to write plays, and you want to help them write the best plays they can, but how do you do that? In Growing the New Play, we’ll start with basic techniques for play construction—generating ideas, developing characters and story, setting and more. But once they’ve written a first draft, now what? In the second half of this workshop, we’ll go through a “greatest hits” of playwriting problems, ranging from a lack of conflict to dialogue that doesn’t work to plays that can’t answer the “Passover Question” (and why that’s important)—and many others. How do you diagnose these issues? And once you do, how can you empower your students to address them?

What if you put on a play and nobody came? – Krista Carson Elhai

In 2018 we need to market and fundraise our programs like a businesses. Come find out how to look at your product (theatre!) in a whole new way. Get tips to make your event the go to destination of your community, and learn how to train your student to fundraise, market, and participate in community events. You’ll learn how to pack your house and makes lots of money so you can put on that obscure Pirandello script you’ve been dreaming about.

New CA Arts Standards in Theatre Coming Your Way! – Carol Hovey & Jack Mitchell

What to expect in the new Theatre Content Standards which will be adopted in January 2019, just a few months away.

Tips and Tricks for Technical Theatre Resumes and Portfolios – Sara Ice 

This workshop is designed to help teachers guide their students through the process of creating a Technical Theatre Resume and Portfolio.  We will also cover interview and presentation etiquette.  These guidelines will make your students look like a pro when interviewing for University, College and other training programs.

Play: It’s an Ensemble Experience – Gai Jones

Whether it is planning for the first day of class or rehearsal, the beginning of a process, or a much needed “play” break, we as Theatre educators/directors need a wealth of reflective and creative inquiry ventures into the world of Theatre. This workshop provides you with experiences which develop the ensemble member with playfulness and collaboration. The workshop is participatory for all delegates. Come prepared to play.

CTE Theatre: The Career Pathways Approach – Jack Mitchell

Are your technicians and performers preparing for Careers as well as post-secondary opportunities? In this session Jack Mitchell, the California Department of Education Industry Sector Lead for Arts, Media, and Entertainment will be sharing strategies for transitioning a traditional VAPA Theatre program into a Career-based CTE Theatre program. With the new ESSA focus on College and Career and the recent funding opportunities in Career Technical Education, this may be the time to take the leap into the world of CTE Theatre.

I want to do this show!!! …but it has ACCENTS. – Adam Michael Rose

Let’s face it, accents are often seen as any of the following: daunting, overwhelming, terrifying… But they can ALSO be an incredibly useful tool we use to illustrate the world of our stories. “I want to do this show!! …but it has ACCENTS” will strip away the daunting, overwhelming, and terrifying feelings, and get you excited about working with accents! Together, we’ll discuss everything about how/why to choose an accent show, how to rehearse it, and how to produce it. This workshop is GUARANTEED to make you feel better about accents!

Devised Theatre-The New Play Frontier. – Michael Despars

Taking a text and using devising techniques to help students bring the piece to life. This will include techniques from companies like Frantic Assembly, Handspring and the Actors Gymnasium. This is a great workshop for anyone who is an IB Theatre teacher or someone looking to develop new work with their students.

Using the Written Word in Auditions for Universities, Colleges, and Conservatories. – Erik Stein

Actors who understand how to use the written word tactically stand out at auditions. This workshop will focus on giving teachers the tools to empower their students to trust the words when auditioning for Universities, Colleges, and Conservatories. We will focus on two major questions: What do you want to make that person do right now, and how will you use these words to make them do it?

“Suit the action to the word and the word to the action” –William Shakespeare

 Demystifying Cross-Curricular Integration – Ashleigh Worley

Key Focus: What is Arts Integration? How can utilizing the arts as a teaching tool benefit subjects such as English, Science, and History? How do we explain the benefits to other teachers and administrators? How do classroom teachers seek out these opportunities for collaboration? How do we get started?


James Thomas Bailey, Artistic Director of CSz Los Angeles and Past-President of CETA, is a proud teacher, a cultural specialist for the US State Department and author of Teaching Improvisation: A Practical Guide for Theatre Educators. In addition to producing and directing ComedySportz, the longest-running show in Los Angeles (30 years), he also created the High School League®, the junior version of ComedySportz that is the largest teen improv program in the U.S.

Gale Caswell, a CETA Board member, is a theatre educator, director, and writer. In her capacity as Adjudication Coordinator for the California Educational Theatre Association’s High School Festival, she has accrued hundreds of hours in adjudication. She is a proud member of the CETA Board of Directors.

Michael Despars is the Theatrical Arts Director at Fullerton Union High School and the President-Elect of the California Educational Theatre Association. Michael has been teaching theatre for thirteen years after graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Acting and his first Masters Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University. He completed his Masters in Theatre at the University of Northern Colorado in 2015. Michael was named Fullerton Union High School’s “2017 Teacher of the Year,” the Fullerton Joint Union High School District “2017 Teacher of the Year” and a semi-finalist for Orange County “2017 Teacher of the Year”. He was the recent recipient of the California Educational Theatre Association’s Theatre Leadership Award for his work with on the CETA High School Theatre Festival and for being the director of the Orange County CAPPIES Critics Program. In 2010 he received the New Teacher Award from CETA, an honor awarded to a teacher who has made an impact in Educational Theatre in less than five years of teaching. He served as the Vice President of Public High Schools on the CETA Board and the Director of the Orange County CAPPIES Critics Program. Michael participates in many Educational Theatre Organizations including, the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA), and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).

Jonathan Dorf has authored more than 40 plays with over 1500 productions worldwide, including 4 A.M., Declaration, Harry’s Hotter at Twilight, After Math, Dear Chuck and Me, My Selfie & I. He co-founded publisher YouthPLAYS and co-chairs the Alliance of LA Playwrights. He taught in the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, served as US Cultural Envoy to Barbados, created, authored the textbook Young Playwrights 101, teaches playwriting through Screenwriters University and has taught writing workshops at schools and conferences worldwide. BA in Dramatic Writing and Literature, Harvard University; MFA in Playwriting, UCLA.

Krista Carson Elhai has taught theatre for 35 years, at both Hemet and Claremont High School, where she has directed over 300 productions. Her productions have performed mainstage at both the CA State Thespian Festival (13 times) and the International Thespian Festival. She has a BS in Speech, Theatre and English as well as an MS in School Counseling. Serving on the CA State Thespian board since 1993, Krista was the Educational Theatre Association’s (EdTA) CA State Chapter Director for eleven years before she was elected to the EdTA national board. She also serves as the CA Educational Theatre Association’s (CETA) President. Ms Elhai is co-director of Theatre Teacher Bootcamp, an intensive workshop for theatre teachers offered in the summer months. She produces the EdTA west coast benefit Thespians Go Hollywood each fall, and, in honor of that work, was named the EdTA National Volunteer of the Year in 2017. She is currently serving on The College Board’s Pre-AP Arts Committee. A two-time Finalist for the LA Music Center Bravo Award, Krista was awarded a Chase Fellowship from the Los Angeles Music Center. She has received CETA’s Theatre Teacher of the Year, CETA Medallion, and has been inducted in both the CA State Thespian and Educational Theatre National Hall of Fame.

Carol Hovey has her BA and MA in Theatre from SFSU. She is currently Treasurer and serves on the Board of Directors for Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre and she has produced, directed and designed for several Bay Area community theatre companies over the past 35 years. She teaches Theatre and English at Livermore High School, producing three shows a year, and is Theatre Manager for their performing arts theater. A strong advocate for theatre education, she is a Globe Education Alum and Mentor for 1st year teachers with UC Davis’ School of Education. Carol is Treasurer for CETA, a CETA Medallion recipient, a Past-President, Conference Coordinator, and one of the VAPA Standards Advisory Committee members who helped write the new CA Arts Standards in Theatre.

Sara Curran Ice is the Technical Theatre Program Coordinator for PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theater where she also designs costume for their productions. She has worked in regional theatres, film and television as well as taught costume design and construction at the University of Nebraska Kearney.  She is a recruiter for PCPA’s 2 year and summer Technical Theatre programs.

Gai Jones is Founder of California Youth in Theatre and Theatre Teachers Bootcamp, graduated from Oklahoma College for Women, which offered a specialized Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Drama. She was the first woman to complete a MA in Theatre at CSU Fullerton. She taught Theatre at El Dorado High School for thirty-four years. Upon her retirement, the Black Box Theater was named The Gai Jones Theater.  She has served on the boards of CETA and DTASC; she is past Chapter Director of CA Thespians and is proud to serve on the EdTA Board of Directors as Vice President/President, and a recipient of the EdTA President’s Award.  She writes Theatre education books, directs and is a guest artist and inspirational speaker at various conferences, an arts provider, and is a SAG/AFTRA member.

Jack Mitchell is currently the Arts, Media, and Entertainment Industry Sector Lead at the California Department of Education (CDE). Jack spent 12 years in the Film and Television industry before beginning his Career in Education. In addition to be on the National Core Arts Standards Theatre writing team, Jack taught theatre, in both the VAPA and CTE environments, in LAUSD for 22 years before moving to the CDE to support statewide VAPA and CTE Arts programs across all arts disciplines.

Adam Michael Rose is a Los Angeles-based dialect coach. Adam has worked with actors from Crazy Rich Asians, Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black, and LaLa Land. He was also the production dialect coach for ABC’s American Crime Season 3. Adam has coached productions at schools, colleges, and theaters throughout the country (Mary Poppins, The 39 Steps, Noises Off). He’s taught at Thespian festivals all over the US including CA, GA, TX, NV, MD, and International Thespian Festival. Adam graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and he’s studied at Lee Strasberg, Playwrights Horizons, and British American Drama Academy.

Erik Stein is the casting director for PCPA and the recruitment coordinator for Pacific Conservatory Theatre.  He has performed on Broadway, National Tours, Tony Award Winning Regional Theatres, and he sees over 2000 auditions a year. He teaches Audition Techniques at Pacific Conservatory Theatre, and he is the author of No Caution! A Step-by Step Guide to Preparing Auditions for Universities, Colleges, and Conservatories.

Ashleigh Worley, an award-winning director, educator, and curriculum designer, served as a public school theatre teacher for grades 6-12. Ashleigh decided to make the leap to professional theatre to expand her reach to students beyond her classroom walls. Ashleigh moved to California to join the Marin Theatre Company Education Team in 2015 where she serves as Director of Education. Focusing on arts integration work, curriculum design, and teaching life skills through theatre, Ashleigh leads a team of professional teaching artists ensuring only the highest quality of arts instruction reaches thousands of students in the Bay Area annually.