Monday, November 24, 2014


Dr. Jerry Ivins, 2015 Co-Convention Director

My friends, as many of you know, contracts with the TheatreFest host hotels are signed years in advance. TETA is bound by these contracts, and this year is no different. However, Houston…we have a problem!!

Hyatt has just informed us that the “cutoff” for reservations at the TETA TheatreFest rate is Dec. 1st. TETA thought we could reserve rooms at our contracted rate until TheatreFest begins.

TheatreFest participants can continue to reserve rooms at the Hyatt after Dec. 1st, but the rate could be much higher. After Dec. 1st, the rate per room could be at the Hyatt “current prevailing rate”, not the current contractual rate for TheatreFest. The contractual rate for TheatreFest is $179 for a double or single. The current prevailing Hyatt rate could be as high as $259! Consider the following:

  • TETA no longer requires a one night room and tax for a deposit for the reservation. You need a credit card to reserve the room, but nothing will be charged to your card until after your stay in Jan./Feb. 2015. So no need to put off making the reservation!
  • In order to negotiate a lower room rate, TETA committed years ago to a room block of 1660 rooms (total for all three nights of TheatreFest). Currently we have about 670 rooms booked. This means that TETA could be impacted financially if the additional 990 rooms are not booked. WE NEED YOUR HELP!! We need each of you to stay at the host hotel, and reserve the room this week! Do not go into the Thanksgiving holiday without making your reservations!
  • Staying at the Hyatt is the best deal for participants of TheatreFest. Staying in the host hotel allows participants to not to have to fight downtown traffic and hunting for parking.

Instructors, exhibitors, students, presenters and supporters of TheatreFest, Auditions, DesignFest and PlayFest, please spread the word and reserve your rooms this week by going to

If you have questions, please contact the TheatreFest Hotel Liaison, Jessica McCarroll, Jessica is the Senior Administrative Assistant for Fine Arts at San Jacinto College, but is volunteering to assist TheatreFest participants, and is very knowledgeable.

As a participant of TheatreFest 2015, please remember the following:

As always, if there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Special Guests Announced for TheatreFest 2015

Announcing some of the special guests that will be speaking / presenting workshops at TheatreFest 2015!   Join us at our annual convention for an opportunity to learn from these and other exceptional individuals.

Presenter - Adam Noble
EXTREME PHYSICALITY:  Staging Intimacy & Violence

Adam Noble has worked as professional actor and movement specialist for nearly 20 years, performing regionally across the United States, and abroad.
He is the co-founder and artistic director of the Dynamic Presence Project, a company focused on the revitalization and proliferation of movement theatre and physical storytelling.

As a freelance movement consultant, Adam has helped to shape characters, build ensembles, and construct movement vocabularies for operatic, cinematic and theatrical projects. He is a trained stuntman who has taught movement and stage combat both nationally and internationally, and he has choreographed the intimacy and violence for over 100 stage and film productions.

Adam currently serves as Associate Professor of Acting and Movement at the University of Houston.  He is a member of the Actors Equity Association, a Fight Director and Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, and the Treasurer for the Association of Theatre Movement Educators. 

Special Guest - David Rainey

DAVID RAINEY is in his 15th season as a Alley Theatre Resident Company member.  He is also founder and Executive Artistic Director of The Landing Theatre Company.  A graduate of The Juilliard School, he received the Drama Division’s highest honor, the Michel and Suria Saint-Denis Prize.  

Nationally, he has performed for Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the National Actors Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Acting Company, New York Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Ford’s Theatre, Asolo Theatre Company, Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival LA, Crossroads Theatre Company, Stark Naked Theatre Company, HSF, Houston Grand Opera, among others.  

He served as adjunct professor at the University of Houston-Downtown from 2005-2013, and was its first Artist-in-Residence in Drama.  He has received numerous awards and nominations for acting and directing, and he teaches privately.

Featured Guest - Karen Kohlhaas
Fearless Audition Technique

A co-founder of the Atlantic Theatre Company, Karen has directed many Atlantic mainstages as well as for the New York Shakespeare Theatre/Public Theatre, Ars Nova, St. Luke's Theatre, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York Live Arts, IRT, Culture Project, Alley Theatre in Houston, Menagerie Theatre in Cambridge, UK and the Practical Theatre in Sydney.  

Karen is a senior teacher in Atlantic's NYU and Conservatory programs and teaches her own advanced acting, directing, monologue and audition classes. She guest teaches in the US and internationally and is developing teacher training programs for her monologue technique.  

She's the author/creator of three books and a DVD on her unique approach to rehearsing audition monologues, including a Teacher's Manual. Her new website is, and you can also find her through She is currently directing a documentary, "Tennessee Williams In The Mississippi Delta: The Love of Things Irreconcilable" (

Presenter - Claremarie Verheyen
Tricks for Middle Age Make-Up

During her forty years as a theatre artist, Claremarie Verheyen has designed over 400 productions including drama, opera, dance, high-fashion, film, video, television, circus, and commercials.  She is an Associate Professor of Theatre at The University of Houston where she teaches costuming and makeup design on the graduate and undergraduate levels. 

She serves on the advisory board of the Houston Community College Fashion and Marketing Program. She is the costume designer for the Houston Children’s Theatre Festival, The Notre Dame Shakespeare Initiative, and Shakespeare by the Book. 

Her costume designs have been produced by many theatres including: The Alley Theatre, The Country Playhouse, The Classical Theatre Company, Main Street Theatre, The Ensemble Theatre, The Lab Theatre, Mildred's Umbrella, Houston Community College, Stages Children’s Theatre, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, and World Wide Stage in China. 

A recent production of "The Vibrator Play" earned her the award as Houston’s "Outstanding Costume Designer".  She has been the featured costume designer in our own Texas Education Theatre Associations' convention and has been the recipient of TETA's “University Educator of the Year  Award.” She will be the featured, guest designer at the spring USITT. SW regional symposium.  Ms. Verheyen offers seminars in resume and portfolio preparation and makeup technology and design.

Presenter - Dr. Robert Shimko
Introducing Dramaturgy

Dr. Robert B. Shimko is the co-editor, with Dr. Sara Freeman, of the book Public Theatres and Theatre Publics. Dr. Shimko’s scholarly writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and he is the Book Review Editor for the journal Theatre History Studies. Additionally, he is the Literary Director of the Houston Shakespeare Festival and has worked as a professional dramaturg in theatres across the country, including several productions each at the Guthrie and Alley theatres. 

Dr. Shimko is an Associate Professor of Theatre History & Dramaturgy at the University of Houston where he heads the BFA program in Playwriting/Dramaturgy. 

Dr. Shimko recently received the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award, UH’s top teaching honor.

Presenter - Jonathan Middents
Sound editing and playback & LED Lighting Instruction

Jonathan Middents has worked on over 330 productions at a variety of theatres and has consulted on the design or renovation of ten theatres. His recent design work includes sets for the Houston Shakespeare Festival 2013 productions of As You Like It and Antony and Cleopatra, lighting for the 2014 HSF productions of Henry IV Part 1 and Two Gentlemen of Verona, sound for The Philadelphia Story, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and the 10-Minute Play Festival, all at The University of Houston, and scenery and lighting for Little Shop of Horrors at UH-Downtown. 

A Rice University graduate, Jon received his MFA from Florida State University and has served as Designer/Technical Director at University of Texas at Austin, UH-Clear Lake, and Indiana State University. 

Jonathan has been the Production Manager and a designer at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance since 1983, and is head of the School’s Production Area.

Presenter - Paige Willson
Mask Making

Paige A. Willson started her mask making as a dancer and performer, influenced by many different mask cultures, styles and construction techniques; she creates lightweight, wearable works of art.  

She was the crafts master/ milliner at the Alley Theatre, where her mask work could be seen in productions such as: A Christmas Carol, The Crucible, The Pillowman, Cyrano De Bergerac, Eurydice and Much Ado About Nothing.   

Her masks have been on display at Art on Broad, in Augusta, Georgia and in the Faculty Exhibit at Rice University.   

Some of her costume design credits are, Houston Shakespeare Festival: A Midsummer Night's dream 2010, 2002, Much Ado about Nothing, Othello The Tempest, As You Like it, The Taming of the Shrew 2011, 2004, The Winter’s Tale, Two Gentleman of Verona and Henry 4 Part 1.  Sweeny Todd for Generations, a Theatre Company, Kimberly Akimbo for Mildred’s Umbrella, the premier of Now This by Scott Kaiser, Purple for Karen Stokes Dance and Natural acts in Artificial Water by Stephan Koplowitz Task Force. 

Paige is currently an Assistant Professor of Costume Design and Technology at the University of Houston.

To register for TheatreFest, visit the TETA website at

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Experienced Technicians Needed!!

David Kersh, Travis Johnson and Matthew Perry, Co-Technical Directors

When attending TheatreFest, many participants observe talented educators giving of themselves in many workshops, brilliant artists performing on stage, knowledgeable exhibitors showing their products, and beautiful designs from gifted designers.  But did you ever stop and notice those in the background in black?

As with many Theatrical performances, our student and professional technicians are not noticed.  This Convention, lets change that.  If you go to a performance, or any event for that matter (exhibits, registration, auditions, etc.) take the time to look for those workers in black.  Go up to them and give them your thanks!

Having said that, we are in need of these talented, yet unnoticed, technicians!!  We are looking for a group of technicians (some experience is preferred) to help with lights, sound, run­ning crew and technical assistance for the performance spaces.  How you can help?  Join us!  We have several vendors that we have contacted to sponsor these spaces, including Brighstar/Techland, Texas Scenic, Electronic Theatre Controls and Altman Lighting.

If you are a student technician at a local high school in Houston, and you have a desire to assist with the performance spaces or other events (actors welcome, as well), give Dr. Jerry Ivins, Co-Convention Director (Operations) an email, If you are a senior or a junior, have technical experience, and your Theatre faculty from your school is attending TheatreFest, contact us!  We will cover your Convention fees, and you just pay membership of $20. 

Speaking of performance spaces, we will have three this year at the Hyatt.  Missey Head, Co-Convention Director (programming), assures us we have exciting per­formances and Special Guests already in our lineup.

We hope you can join us!!

For more information or questions, please contact us:
David Kersh, Chisholm Trail High School -
Travis Johnson, San Jacinto College Central -
            Matthew Perry

Submit NOW for TheatreFest Auditions!

Dusty Davidson, TETA Auditions Chair

I have worked for several years with TETA auditions. Almost 12 years in some capacity and I believe as an organization it is one of the most important things that we do. The opportunities that we provide through auditions directly affect the future of participating students and of educational theatre in Texas. TETA auditions have long held the reputation for being the premier auditions for students in Texas. We are consistently known for presenting the best that Texas has to offer. This year will not be any different and I am honored to be serving as coordinator again this year as well as confident about the future of TETA.

TETA TheatreFest is scheduled for January 29 - February 1, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency, Houston, Texas .

So, believe it or not, TETA Auditions Submissions are just around the corner! The preferred deadline is November 15, 2014, and the absolute deadline of December 1, 2014.

We will be utilizing again this year, an online registration for auditions. However, convention registration will remain separate and need to be mailed to the new Houston address.

All updated audition information can be found on the TETA website, or at .

The biggest change this year is that High School Juniors from all high schools, not just IM schools, are eligible to audition. Each school may submit one (1) Junior Acting student and one (1) Junior Tech/Design student. Juniors are not eligible to audition for Founder’s Scholarships though. What a great way for your juniors who know that they want to major in theatre to get ahead of the game and get out in front of recruiters!

After reading the audition information found on the TETA website, please have your students do the following:

1) Take the SAT or ACT ASAP so that their scores are ready before the deadline.
2) Start selecting their material now; they will have to submit titles on the audition form!
3) Read the articles in previous and upcoming Texas Theatre Notes about auditioning; there is a ton of great advice for them!!!
4) Select the correct form from the website for the area they are auditioning and fill it out COMPLETELY and ACCURATELY. Without fail each year a student completes the wrong form. A Senior filling out a Junior form, or an Acting/Singing audition filling out the Acting form (and then no accompanist is available!) Please double check the title of the form. If you have a question, please contact me.
5) Forms will be submitted online through materials must be uploaded for the students application to be complete. Applications cannot be submitted to TETA unless the application is complete.
6) All payments for auditions must be submitted by credit card through No cash or checks are accepted. Checks can continue to be sent for convention registration, however.
7) A clean, focused picture is best for uploading.
8) Counselors and Sponsors will receive follow up emails from Please encourage students to notify you and their counselor when they have submitted their portion of the form in order that the counselor and sponsor can watch for their email. Please check your junk mail folder just in case the email has been misdirected.

I would encourage you to sit down with your students to complete the online registration so that you are both familiar with the process.

As always, the other volunteers and I are here to help make this a pleasant and successful experience for all. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

“Together Toward Tomorrow”

Missey Head, Co-Convention Director
Henry Adams, author of The Education of Henry Adams wrote, “Unity is vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see.”  This  quote perfectly captures the new direction of TETA and the theme for TheatreFest 2015, "Together Toward Tomorrow."  We, the members of TETA, are moving forward together to not only honor and celebrate our past, but also to focus on a future full of new opportunities and exciting possibilities.

As Co-Convention Director, I would like to welcome every member, guest, theatre patron and vendor to TheatreFest 2015, "Together Toward Tomorrow."   This year the convention will begin with an exciting convocation complete with musical performances from The Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and the Drum Cafe as seen on Oprah.  Musical numbers complete with a full orchestra and the opportunity for every TETA member to participate in an enormous drum line will create an event no one will forget...EVER. 

Immediately after the convocation, programming for the 2015 convention will commence.  We have received a wide variety of programming proposals and have incorporated new and innovative programming concepts into the schedule.  We have included numerous workshops for our growing number of students, our valued K-12 teachers, our esteemed university faculty members, our retired members, and our community and professional theatre practitioners.  New to the convention this year are events such as UIL Film Night, Adult Karaoke Night, K-12 Reception, Vendor's Reception, Educator Awards Reception and Awards Talk-Back, TETA Student Musical Performance, I.M. Breakfast, New to TETA, and Walk-Up Workshops. 

A variety of programming topics ranging from acting, playwriting, stage-combat, musical theatre, auditioning, mime, make-up, technology, scene design, and costumes will be offered.   In every cubby-hole and lobby space, ongoing performance activities will take place enveloping convention participants in the world of theatre. The UIL A-Z workshop for new teachers hosted by UIL Theatre Director, Luis Munoz, has been brought back by popular acclaim.  Topics for this all-day grouping of workshops offer methods for script selection, production design, and directing techniques.   Strategies for completing OAP paperwork, eligibilities, and the clarification of the OAP rules will also be addressed. This series is highly recommended for first year one-act play directors. 

Earlier this year, the committee responsible for recruiting and overseeing Guest Artists, conducted a survey asking members for recommendations for what is most desired in this area.  Overwhelmingly the majority of members responded they would prefer to see master theatre teachers who could provide the tools necessary for our membership to grow as a theatre educators as opposed to focusing on "star-level" performers.  Based upon this information, our Guest Artist Committee has done a superb job in securing nationally known Guest Artists who work in both professional and educational fields. Leaders in their fields, they will bring a wealth of knowledge and training to our membership.  Never in the history of our organization have we offered a more impressive line-up of Guest Artists.  Please don't miss the opportunity to be trained by the best the nation has to offer.

Hopefully, you and your students will take advantage of the wonderful activities presented at TheatreFest 2015, "Together Toward Tomorrow."  We are looking forward to an exciting convention and many, many new experiences.  We can do this...together...