CETA is pleased to offer two PDIs to deepen your conference experience and sharpen your storytelling skills.  Learn techniques of playwriting and storytelling to enhance your classroom.

Thursday, October 12th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

SANDRA TSING LOH: Life Into Theatre

Solo (or aspiring solo) performers wanted!  Transform your life into a humorous, touching, performable monologue in one day!  (All right—let’s be reasonable, you’ll be going home with a terrific first draft.)  You’ll learn about openings, endings, voice, structure, and pacing, along with basic performance techniques to engage and delight your audiences.  A writing and performing boot camp, come armed with a laptop and comfortable clothes for easy movement.  All levels welcome.

SANDRA TSING LOH is a writer/performer whose solo shows have run off-Broadway at Second Stage, at the Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre in Louisville, Woolly Mammoth at the Kennedy Center, and beyond. Her most recent show, The Madwoman in the Volvo, has been performed at South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, and the Pasadena Playhouse.  It was based on her best-selling memoir, which has been optioned by Paramount Television.  Her radio commentaries have been heard on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” “This American Life,” and “Marketplace.”  Her daily radio minute, The Loh Down on Science, airs on KPCC and is syndicated nationally.  Her newest show, Sugar Plum Fairy (a solo show revamped for three actors) opens at South Coast Repertory this December.  Sandra is also our Keynote Speaker on Friday evening. To read more about her, visit our Special Events page.

Sunday, October 15th, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

PABLO MARZ:  Teaching Students to Be Storytellers

Learn practical exercises for teaching the art of storytelling, in both writing and presentation. Participants will create their own pieces during the workshop, and then be able to use these techniques to devise personal and meaningful storytelling performances with their students.

PABLO MARZ is an actor, director, producer, and storyteller. He has appeared in countless plays around Southern California, in film and TV, and has directed many original theatre pieces. Pablo also teaches improv, storytelling, and creative drama for adults and kids. He’s been a performer and instructor with many theatre groups, including ComedySportz, We Tell Stories, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre, West Coast Ensemble, and The Aaron Speiser Studio. Pablo is proud to have been a Los Angeles theatre student.

Units for PDIs

Upper division units from CA State University, East Bay are offered for each day of the conference, including PDIs. Earn 1 1/2 units per day, or up to 6 units for the entire weekend!

An e-journal detailing topics covered is required for each day for which a delegate attends. There are fees for the CSU courses. Payment by check or credit card must be made on site at the CETA conference.

For more information, contact Gai Jones.



Adapting Stories The Story Pirates Way
The Story Pirates transform kids’ writing into wild sketch comedy. Discover their bold, attention-grabbing style, learn how to approach adapting original work written by young authors, and practice techniques that will turn your students into playful and engaging storytellers.
 The Story Pirates are a national education and media organization founded in 2004 to celebrate the words and ideas of young people. By pairing world-class teachers with first-rate actors and comedians, they offer a variety of tools to make learning more engaging and effective. Dually-based in New York and Los Angeles, they are best known for the Idea Storm Program, a master-class writing workshop that brings teaching concepts to life, followed by a musical sketch comedy show featuring stories by students and performed by professional artists. Their acclaimed programs and professional development services for teachers are in place at over 350 schools from coast to coast, and their podcasts and radio broadcasts are heard by kids and adults around the world.

CETA welcomes Emmy-nominated Danny Ricker, co-head writer of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and one of our featured workshop leaders. Danny has written for The Oscars, The Emmys, and The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and is a loving alumnus of ComedySportz Los Angeles and iO West. He was also a proud Southern California high school theatre student.





DANNY RICKER • Writing Comedy From the World Around You

Danny Ricker (co-head writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, the Oscars, & The Emmys) digs into the process used by TV writers to create funny and relevant comedy out of the day’s (often depressing!) headlines. Topics of discussion will include finding funny angles on news items and remaining original in an increasingly competitive comedy field. Teachers will be able to use this knowledge to help their students digest the world around them in a creative way and add strong points of view to their writing.

See bio above.

AMY HILL • Beyond Storytelling

Explore the possibilities of lifting personal stories to the level of performance through music, movement, visual media.

Amy Hill’s extensive career includes over 160  film, television and voice-over credits.  She is also an acclaimed solo performance artist with sold out venues from Montreal’s Fringe festival to New York’s Public Theater and Actors Theater of Louisville.  Having appeared onstage from Seattle Rep to Berkeley Rep to Lincoln Center’s Twelfth Night in addition to numerous local stages, she has directed at East West Players in Los Angeles and performed for over 15 years in San Francisco and Los Angeles improv companies, including ComedySportz LA.

ANN CLOSS-FARLEY • Telling the Story with Costume

Learn the magic of thie accomplished costume designer. Ann Closs-Farley shares techniques and strategies for costuming everything from classical theatre to Pee Wee Herman (really!).

Ann Closs-Farley has been designing for Theater, Film and TV for over 20 years. She currently is designing for Shanghai Disneyland, The World Poker Tour, Kaiser Permanente Theatricals, The LA Philharmonic, La Mirada Performing Arts Center, South Coast Repertory, Lewis Family Playhouse and The Falcon Theater. Her favorite hat she wears is Designer/Stylist for the amazing Pee Wee Herman. Closs-Farley is also a long time member of the Actors’ Gang and evidEnce Room, both Los Angeles based theater companies.

JUDITH GLENZER • Capture Your Audience Through Graphic Design

One of Judy’s earliest aspirations was to be an actress. Through consecutive flashes of stage fright and forgotten lines, that desire redirected itself to fine art, then music, then ultimately, design. Through many small jobs en route, then a career working with advertising, design firms and Disney Consumer Products, all signs have spoken to the clarity of what the basis of good communication art is about. Telling a story is the best way to share and experience the creative effort whether onstage or through design. This design workshop is an open forum to discuss the basic premises of design in numerous formats and what thinking you may need to successfully intrigue and communicate to an audience.

Judy Glenzer is an award-winning designer. She currently has her own business, Miro Design, where she acts as Creative Director and Designer to national clients as well as partnering with other designers in Los Angeles. Current and prior projects include identity systems for new brands, packaging, product development and marketing collateral. Judy teaches a variety of design classes at Art Institute, North Hollywood including branding.


MARGO ROWDER • Using Storytelling to Create Effective Social Media

Learn how to use the principles of storytelling to guide social media content strategy and connect audiences to your brand’s true character.

Margo is the sole Social Media Manager at the Television Academy. In her 14 years of previous advertising and marketing experience as an art director, copywriter, and serious “techthusiast,” Margo created site, social media, and app solutions for clients like USAA, Sebastian Haircare, HP, and Google. She initiated the award-winning #SmartGirlsAsk campaign that Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls launched on the 2015 Emmys red carpet, which has continued to this day at the Emmys, Golden Globes, and the SAG Awards. Her multi-disciplined background in design, fiction-writing, comedy, and film inform her work every day.

ADAM MICHAEL ROSE • Teaching Accents: Bringing the FUN

Accents and dialects are a crucial part of the actor’s toolkit, but they can also be terrifying. From a student’s perspective, learning accents can be boring and tedious. This workshop will strip away those fears and show you how to teach accents in ways that are fun and engaging. You’ll learn how to break down an accent into key elements (mouth placement, melody, and major sound changes), how to communicate accent ideas to your students, and how to structure a fun and engaging practice and rehearsal program. You might even learn a new accent yourself!

Adam is a Los Angeles-based dialect coach and teaching artist. He was the production dialect coach for season 3 of ABC’s American Crime, where he worked with Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Regina King, Lili Taylor, Janel Moloney, and Cherry Jones. He has also coached actors that have appeared on Orange Is the New Black, The Americans, The Blacklist, Grey’s Anatomy, La La Land, and HBO’s Big Little Lies.

KRISTA CARSON ELHAI • If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu!

It’s not enough to walk into your classroom and be a great teacher and direct good shows. We need to treat our programs as a business and use all of those marketing tips from successful companies. Learn how to create a program where the community does your promoting for you. Let them tell your story!

Krista is CETA President, and on the Governing Board of the Educational Theatre Association.

PANEL: Your Story Goes On: Creating an Alumni Network

Alumni are the best advertisement for a successful program. Join this panel as they discuss their best tips for retaining alumni contacts, involving alumni from across the generations, and leveraging their support for funding and promotion.


VAPA Legacy High School Principal Ed Trimis  and Bob Klein, co-founder of FNAM, will share the unique program offered by FNAM that teaches musical show writing in high school for the first time in the nation.

Dr. Edward Trimis (BA, MA, EdD.) has held several teaching and administrative positions in Los Angeles at all levels and has been responsible for many reforms and innovative music and arts programs in schools featured in several newspapers and local and national journals, is an adjunct professor at USC, is a highly sought after presenter at local, state-wide, and national conferences, and frequently serves the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) as a visiting team chair. Trimis is proud member of the National Association for Music Education, LAUSD Senior High School Principals Organization (president), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Professional Musicians Local 47,  the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

The FNAM Foundation has been active in support of over 183 new musicals and events in over 92 venues stretching from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Besides introducing new musicals in productions and in development, they have also given opportunities to thousands of young people, especially from disadvantaged and underserved communities to perform and create. In 2012, they launched their first nationwide program, ShowSearch, aimed at high school and college age young people who want to create musical theater.

JANE McENEANEY: Maker Theatre– Devise, Develop, Discover!

Part of our roles as theatre educators is to tell the important stories, to inspire social justice, to teach empathy. Along the way, we hope to move from teacher to coach, placing the creative choices in the hands of our young theatre artists. In this workshop, participants will become the ensemble as techniques and inspirations are explored. Participants will emerge with a collective vocabulary, first-hand experience, and a clear path to creating devised theatre in the classroom and on stage. A complete handout of exercises and techniques will be provided to all participants. This workshop is ideal for middle school and upper school teachers, but can easily be adapted for elementary students.

Jane makes theatre with teenagers, telling stories of human rights & social justice, exploring authentic stories of each child’s journey through adolescence. Jane serves as the newly appointed Theatre Teacher/Director at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, having spent the past decade as the Performing Arts Chair at Turning Point School in Culver City. She is also adjunct faculty at Loyola Marymount University’s Department of Theatre. A 2010 recipient of the Center Theatre Group Fellowship for Theatre Educators, she is also a former Board Member-at-Large for the California Educational Theatre Association and was a 2009 finalist for the Bravo Award. Jane is the founder/artistic director of M.Y.E. theatre company and has served on the faculty for Sage Hill School, Camp Bravo and Creative Planet School of the Arts.  She is the former Director of Education for The Pasadena POPS Orchestra and has written/directed for the L.A. Philharmonic’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth.  Jane holds a B.A. in Theatre and Asian Studies from Connecticut College and a Master’s of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan. 

SIBYL O’MALLEY:  How Students Can Be Creative Advocates for the Arts: The Student Voices Campaign

The Student Voices Campaign is an annual statewide initiative that offers a creative way for your students to learn about and impact school policymaking.  This year, students are invited to create videos that answer the question, Why Do the Arts and to ask their school board to adopt the official declaration of Student Rights to Arts Learning. With the advent a local control model of school funding, school districts are required to gather input from parents, teachers, community members and students. This workshop will introduce teachers to the Student Voices Campaign (SVC), which offers a creative way for students to make their voices heard in their district. We will share a free Classroom Guide, scaffolding materials and policy digest and invite participants to share ideas for creative approaches to civic engagement.

Sibyl O’Malley is the Senior Director of Advocacy and Communications for the California Alliance for Arts Education, a statewide organization that advocates for all public school students in our State to have access to arts education. Sibyl is responsible for developing programs and engagement strategies for district-based advocacy, including the Student Voices Campaign, which provides a platform for young people to share their creativity and passion for the arts with their elected officials and the Arts Now Campaign, which supports strategic arts planning and leadership training for local advocates. Sibyl comes from a theater background; her plays have been produced at Celebration Theater, the Bootleg Theater and Son of Semele, in Los Angeles. She has taught playwriting to middle and high school students. She is yet to see Hamilton!

WILL TODISCO: Using Improv to Teach Kids With Autism

Kids on the autism spectrum often have difficulty interacting with others. But what if they were put in an environment which encouraged interaction in unconventional ways, like say… improv?  Learn how to empower students with special needs by using inclusive learning opportunities to develop verbal and nonverbal communication, self-regulation, spatial awareness and many other social goals​ in order to unlock the creative potential of students of all abilities.

Zip Zap Zop Enrichment‘s mission is to empower students with and without special needs by using inclusive learning opportunities to provide improvisation and creative writing classes that are aimed at developing verbal and nonverbal communication skills in order to unlock the creative potential of students of all abilities. 


Will Todisco (Zip Zap Zop Enrichment’s Curriculum Specialist)

After receiving his B.A. in Theatre, Will toured nationally with a children’s theatre company, performing literary classics, which led him to work with students at an Improv-based summer camp for children on the Autism spectrum.  The Spotlight Program, based out of the NorthEast ARC in Danvers, MA, made the connection between improvisational performance and the social-emotional and social pragmatic growth and development for children on the spectrum and beyond.   After assisting the SPED department at Edward Devotion, a public school in Brookline, Will moved out to LA to begin work for the LCS SPED program where he was able to develop his Improv(e) Social Skills class that has been offered at each of the LCS campuses over the 2014-2016 school years.

GAI JONES • Telling the Story of Who You Are with Your Whole Heart

Tapping into the creativity of your autobiography requires reflective and creative inquiry. Participants will take part in relaxation techniques so that pivotal emotional moments of their lives can be shaped into monologues and scenes. A devised project using the stories of the participants will culminate the workshop. Applications for your students will be discussed.

Gai is a master teacher, author, founder of CA Youth in Theatre Day and vice-president of the board of the Educational Theatre Association. She is in demand at many national conferences and is the author of several books on educational theatre.

LOUIS FANTASIA • Who Tells Your Story When the Author is Dead? Finding Your Voice in Classical Drama

We are isolated enough in our daily lives; there is enough random access everywhere, day in and day out. What do we share as experience? Is that – or shouldn’t that – be the goal of theatre? Not to sit back and nod conveniently, like the audiences at TV talk shows, that we “understand,” when we see something on stage, but rather resonate with it in some deep, unknowably fundamental way, that stays with us long after we leave the parking lot, let alone the theatre?

Louis Fantasia (B.A. Georgetown; M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts) has served as President of Deep Springs College, and Dean of the Faculty and Chair of Liberal Arts of the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. He has directed nearly 200 plays and operas world-wide, and taught at Juilliard, the University of Southern California, and has held endowed visiting chairs at Loyola University Maryland and Austin Peay State University, Tennessee. From 1997 to 2002 Louis was the Director of the London Shakespeare Globe Centre’s Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute. He served as Director of Shakespeare at the Huntington, the teacher training institute of the Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California from 2005 to 2017. In 2003, the Council of Europe named the theatre collection at its library in the European Parliament in honor of Louis Fantasia, who holds both U.S. and European Union passports. In 2016 he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to German culture and theatre. 

EDDIE QUINTANA • Using Improvisation for Writing

It’s time for students to write, and all they’ve got is a blank page staring back at them. By using improv, the pressure to get started will disappear. This workshop utilizes games and exercises to get students started in the right direction. It also makes the re-writing process as painless as possible. 
Eddie Quintana has been improvising with CSz Los Angeles for over fifteen years. He has directed improv shows that have performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has also written for several sitcoms, most recently K.C. Undercover on The Disney Channel. Eddie is a 2017 Writers Guild of America TV Writer Access Project Honoree. 

KATHLEEN WOODS • Play in a Day (24 Hour Theatre)

What do Kevin Spacey, Elijah Wood, and Jennifer Aniston have in common?  They have all been part of a Twenty-Four Hour Play Festival.  Find out how you can organize and sponsor a Play-in-a-Day tailored to your school and student population.  It’s easy.  It’s cheap.  It’s wacky.  A real community builder, the event can include students, faculty, and theatre program alumni.  Play-in-a-Day is also a great fundraiser.

Kathleen has over thirty years’ experience as a theatre educator and director. She has earned recognition for her work at the local, state and national levels. She is currently a full-time theatre teacher at Palo Alto High School and is currently serving on the California State Thespian Executive Board and the California Educational Theatre Association Board (CETA).

JUDI GARRATT • Original Stories: From Student Sharing to Production

Teachers will participate actively as they learn a practical process for getting students started on sharing an original story. The process may end with an in-class sharing, develop into a short performance, or become a full production. Included will be: step by step directions, relevant standards, teaching methods and suggestions for extensions.

After 50 years in arts education as a teacher, performer, administrator, teaching artist and director; Judi retired from her position as Arts Specialist for LAUSD’s Arts Education Branch. She is currently consulting, creating curriculum for teachers, and completing her second book. She continues as the pre-concert activities coordinator for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is working with Theatre Keys to create additional theatre teaching tools.

BRIAN ALLMAN • Non-verbal Storytelling

To quote the 80’s band Depeche Mode, “Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm.” Why do we feel we need to rely on the spoken language to communicate and convey a strong narrative? In this workshop, you will engage in various forms of non-verbal story telling. We will be taking a look at dance, movement, mime, emphasis, timing, tone, body-language, facial expressions, theatrics, physicality, and different forms of non-verbal narrative communication that can be used in everything from day-to-day activities, to when specifically trying to affect an audience.

For almost 20 years, Brian Allman has been working extensively in the field of Arts Education. The belief that arts-based education programs support literacy and character development has kept him continually employed with local theaters and schools, in local summer camps, and colleges. He has worked with pupils of various socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, ages, and skill levels, including: LAUSD, ESL learners, veterans, LGBT, Deaf & hard of hearing, and students with differing cognitive learning styles. Brian uses a Transpersonal Approach to student instruction, whereby he follows a discipline of patience and respect for each individual, making use of unique and creative lesson plans to challenge students. When not teaching, Brian is the Artistic Director of the award-winning Defiance Theatre Company in North Hollywood, CA. In addition to his extensive list of professional theatre credits, Brian serves as an elected official for the NoHo Neighborhood Council, where he also serves as Chair of the Arts & Humanities Committee. 

PHILLIP E. WALKER • Hollywood Actor Jobs

Phillip E. Walker’s Hollywood Actor Jobs presentation explores how California’s teachers are in the unique position of being able to prepare their students to make acting their “day job”.

2002 CETA Professional Artist Awardee Phillip E. Walker (UCD, MFA) has acted in more than 450 productions.  He will soon be seen co-starring in the pilot of the HBO mini series Sharp Objects, from five-time Oscar nominated Amy Adams. Phillip also currently co-stars as the lead’s father in Oscar nominated John Singleton’s new FX-TV hit series Snowfall. He can be seen in many commercials (including a current spot from La La Land’s Oscar-winning cinematographer Linus Sandgren) and more than seventy music videos (including a featured performance in Justin Timberlake’s award-winning “Can’t Stop the Feeling”). He is also Founding Artistic Director of the African American Drama Company, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary.


Join other K-8 theatre teachers as we raise the curtain on another exciting and dramatic year of teaching!  In this special gathering, we will take time to look ahead, envision possibilities, explore new ideas, and share tried and true ones. Meet up with old friends and get to know new ones!

Internationally known Spolin teacher, Max Schafer, will lead a workshop on integrating improvisation with dance. Be ready to move!

Then we’ll spend the rest of the day in a special workshop strand, geared for K-8 educators. Free theatre tickets will be available for Saturday evening at a variety of venues!