Friday, July 3, 2015

SummerFest 2015 – Let It Go: Beyond the Fairytale

SummerFest 2015 – Let It Go: Beyond the Fairytale
St. Edwards University – Austin

“Your power will only grow…there is great beauty in it.” ~ Pabbie from Disney’s Frozen

We’re READY to Let It Go!  SummerFest 2015 Let It Go: Beyond the Fairytale! is right around the corner! The K-12 Committee has been working very hard to make this an amazing event!

We are excited to share that this will be one of the LARGEST SUMMERFESTs EVER! Thanks to you, our amazing membership, we estimate 300+ in attendance! We have a full program, filled with a variety of fabulous workshop offerings for all levels. This is sure to be a fantastic weekend!

Here are a few reminders:
Registration opens at Friday, July 31st at 8:00AM in the Ragsdale Building – 2nd Floor Lobby.

* Method of payment for onsite registrants: credit card, school check or cash.
     - $120 SummerFest Registration
     - $50 TETA membership (if you did not attend convention in January)

*Please make sure you check-in! All members and presenters must visit the registration desks and check-in.

*Hotel - Stay with the K-12 Committee! Our "K-12 SummerFest Home Base Hotel" will be the Best Western Plus - Austin City.
This hotel has offered TETA members staying for SummerFest a special rate - $119 a night (plus tax) for a double room. This rate includes parking, high speed internet AND breakfast. It's just 5 minutes from St. Edward's University!

Below you will find a URL to book your reservations online.
You must book through this link BEFORE JULY 15th!
You may call the hotel (#512-444-0561) as long as you mention TETA when making your reservation - BEFORE JULY 15th! Please make sure you receive your confirmation number. You will need this number if you need to cancel your room.

Don’t want to stay here? That’s ok! Our suggested hotels listing can be found on the Facebook SummerFest Page and on the TETA website/SummerFest tab.

* BYOT = Bring Your Own Technology

* Wi-Fi Access – St. Edward’s does have Wi-Fi access!

*There will be handouts in your registration bag for nearby ATM locations, food, entertainment options and much more.

*SummerFest Programming is now live! You can obtain our schedule on your smart phone via the Guidebook app, or you can find a copy on the TETA Website – SummerFest tab.

* Review Programming- A few presenters have requested you provide some of your own supplies.

*If you would like a hard copy of programming, please visit the website and print one for yourself. We are going digital so hard copies of SF 2015 Programming will not be provided on-site. Please remember updates are made to programming – Guidebook will provide the most up-to-date workshop listings.

*Parking – you are allowed to park in any open spot at St. Edward’s during SummerFest! Follow the TETA SummerFest signs when you arrive on the St. Edward’s Campus. No parking pass is needed.

*If you need help getting around campus, please find someone on the K-12 Committee. We do have a golf cart to help us this year!

*What do I bring to SummerFest? Be sure to check out the Texas Theater Notes Article from our Secretary, Maggie Rodriguez. She created a great list of items to bring to SummerFest.

*St. Edward’s is a “no smoking” campus.

* Nominations will be accepted for the following positions on the K-12 Committee:
     - Secretary, High School Interest, Middle School Interest and Elementary At-Large
     - Deadline for nominating K-8 and Secondary Educator of the Year is: Sept. 1, 2015.
-   Email for details and instructions.

* Be sure to attend your Interest Meetings on Saturday, August 1st. Let your voice be heard! Our K-12 Committee is here to serve you! We are constantly trying to find new and improved ways to serve YOU! Please share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions!

*If you have special dietary needs, please email me: We will have vegetarian meal offerings.

* Join us Sunday for lunch! Workshops continue Sunday morning then we’re serving an Italian Buffet and there are LOTS of amazing DOOR PRIZES (lunch is included in registration cost)
     - Guest Speaker on Sunday is TOM WAGGONER!

* Check the SummerFest Friends Facebook page for more updates!

Our “power” as educators “will only grow” from attending SummerFest 2015! We will see you all in Austin!

Jenae Glanton
TETA Board of Directors
Chair - K-12 Committee

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SummerFest 2015 - Be Prepared

SummerFest is right around the corner and I don’t know about you but I am so excited! This year SummerFest is being held at beautiful St. Edwards University July 31-August 2.

 The K-12 committee has been hard at work planning this event and I wanted to give you a couple of quick things you will want to be prepared to pack. Each evening we will have some optional events that you may choose to participate. 

 Of course it’s Austin so regarding the evening entertainment there is a plethora of entertainment options. So regarding a packing guide, I thought it might be easier to break it down into categories.


  • We will be providing some goodies in your registration materials but you may want to bring your favorite notebook and pen if you like to keep all your notes in one place.
  • Shoes for movement.
  • A sweater or light jacket, the air conditioning can tend to get a bit cold.
  • Good walking shoes, this is a typical college campus and the buildings a bit spread out and we are using several buildings.
  • Your personal business cards so you can make and keep these great connections.
  • Smart phone or tablet to download the Guidebook App.  TETA is trying to go green so please plan accordingly.  No paper programs will be available; you must print your own at home if you do not have the correct technology.
  • A small bag to carry your personal items.  I always recommend a small drawstring backpack.
  • Items for your workshop presentation, if applicable.

Evening Entertainment:

  • Zilker Park is outdoor venue so you will want to consider bringing blankets, coolers, bug spray or candles, no glass containers or lawn chairs allowed. For more info:
  • Clothes for “hitting the town” in style if you plan on hitting 6th street.
  • Idina Menzel will be performing at Austin’s Bass Hall! You can buy your tickets here:
  • Austin’s nightlife is full of possibilities. Our Chair Elect, Gena Lea Smith will be putting together a flyer that will be included in your registration bags.

Door Prizes:
  • If you have anything you are planning on getting rid of, remember some else’s trash can be a theatre director’s treasure.  Please keep TETA SummerFest in mind when doing your summer cleaning.
  • If you have extra copies of scripts please consider bringing one to share in our SummerFest Donation Station, a.k.a. “Oaken’s Trading Post”

I hope this packing guide will help make your SummerFest experience just a bit more enjoyable. See you July 31.

Maggie Rodriguez
Secretary, TETA K-12 Committee

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spirit of SummerFest: Never Forgotten

It’s been a busy start to my summer; Home improvement projects, grad school, reorganizing my classroom, and sending my daughter to Camp on the Coast. 

I’ve also been assisting our current K-12 Committee with the planning of SummerFest 2015, which is going to be in Austin, July 31-August 2. Yes, this is potentially going to be not only the best but also the biggest SummerFest in TETA’s history. We’re very excited! 

 Lately we’ve emailed and/or spoken to many presenters, members and attendees answering questions and confirming details. Some new TETA members might need to know the differences between SummerFest and TheatreFest. 
 Here are several:

1. Smaller presenter : attendee ratio.

2. No vendors or exhibit hall.

3. No students, just K-C/U educators.

4. More “hands-on” and “make-and-take” workshops.

5. We’re hosted by a university, not a big hotel. This means actual performance spaces, lighting labs, dance spaces, costume and scenic shops.

6. ALL attendees receive free door prizes!

7. SummerFest registration includes snacks, drinks, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and a great sit-down meal on Sunday.

8. Early Bird registrants get an awesome SummerFest T-shirt!

I’ve had several phone conversations and messages via social media these past few days looking for information about how TETA SummerFest first began. Many TETA members might not know how or why SummerFest got started. First, it wasn’t always called “SummerFest.” Back in the early 80s it was called Summer Rep, then Summer Workshop throughout 1990s, and finally SummerFest in 2008. It also only used to happen every other year in either Seguin, Beaumont or Sam Houston. In the beginning, several Texas teachers and high school directors would gather and write not only lessons but actual state curriculum! Did you know that in the weeks prior to Summer Workshop, the participants in the educator’s workshop performed a short play for those who wrote curriculum?

1982: Sequin, Texas. Number of attendees? Approximately 30.

The original intent of Summer Workshop, or SummerFest as it’s now called, was to network as a collaborative group and share successes, challenges, write curriculum and lessons. Expecting nothing in return, teachers presented for each other in the spirit of giving back to an organization with the goal of strengthening the importance of theatre education in Texas and bringing back new ideas and activities for their own students. Texas theatre educators wanted to be a part of something that would make them a better teacher and director for their students.

Having served K-12 off and on since 2008, and as the current "K-12 Past Chair", I see SummerFest getting bigger. The number of attendees each year is growing at a steady pace. Universities are on a waiting list, wanting to host the next SummerFest. We would love to reward special guest artists for presenting; or offer free registration to those TETA members who continually present workshops; but it’s not TheatreFest, it was never meant to be. Let’s all meet in Austin next month in the spirit and graces of those who began this great TETA tradition: SummerFest! 

The members of the K-12 committee will continue to plan these next several weeks, gather some amazing door prizes, and offer incredible programming. It’s going to be a wonderful three days at St. Edwards University, July 30-August 2nd. We hope to see you there!

Sara Schochler
Past-Chair, TETA K-12 Committee

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Are You Ready for SummerFest 2015? Come “Let It Go!” with us in Austin!

The K-12 Committee is preparing for SummerFest 2015, Let It Go: Beyond the Fairytale.

SummerFest 2015 is shaping up to be one of the best summer events yet! Please put it on your calendar for July 31- August 2 at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. 

Deadline to submit a Workshop Proposal: NOW!! We need all workshop proposals by JUNE 1! It’s easier than ever to submit one. Just follow the link: 

Deadline to Register for SummerFest is June 15th. It’s only $90 AND for registering early, you’ll get an awesome t-shirt for free!! Use this link to register: 

WHY should you attend SummerFest in Austin? Here are just a few reasons:
·                     More university/college-level and professional presenters.
·                     Austin is full of culture, great food, shopping, live music and offers lots of artistic things to do after workshops!
·                     Idina Menzel will be performing at the Bass Hall Austin on Saturday night! Tickets range from $35-$150. Make it a weekend to remember with Idina and SummerFest workshops!
·                     SummerFest is a great time to network and obtain new ideas for your classroom.
·                     There are no students at this workshop! It’s all about teaching and networking!
·                     Obtain your professional development hours before the start of the new school year!

Workshop proposals are still being submitted, but here’s a sneak-peek of some of the workshops you’ll enjoy this summer (There are a ton of “make-and-takes”!!):

·                     Stage Management
·                     New Play Staged-Readings
·                     Special Performances and Guest Speakers 
·                     Thespian Troupe How-To’s
·                     Costuming
·                     Script Swaps
·                     Elementary, Middle and High School Interest Meetings
·                     UIL OAP
·                     Dance
·                     Mime
·                     Dramaturgy
·                     Improv and Theater Games
·                     New Theater TEKS
·                     Capital Making
·                     Acting
·                     Playwriting

Also, there are several K-12 Committee member positions that will be up for re-election at TheatreFest 2016! If you are interested in becoming more involved in our great organization, you may nominate yourself or a friend for one of these positions! They do not have to be present at SummerFest to be nominated. If you have any questions, please contact our current K-12 Chair-Elect, Gena Lea Smith at Nomination Forms will be available during SummerFest at the main Registration Desk.

The following spots will be open:
·         Secretary
·         HS Interest Chair
·         MS Interest Chair
·         Elementary At-Large

The TETA Board of Directors and the K-12 Committee have been very busy since TheatreFest, working to strengthen our organization and our K-12 Section. I am honored to work with such an amazing and dedicated group of people!

The K-12 Committee and I wish you a great start to summer!

See you in Austin to “Let It Go!”

Jenae Glanton
K-12 Committee Chair
TETA Board of Directors

Monday, February 16, 2015

Being the Unicorn

A couple of summers ago, I was attending SummerFest and we were all gathered in the school’s large auditorium getting ready to hear from our keynote speaker that year, and while I was talking to someone next to me, the woman in front of me turned around and said something to the effect of “You teach elementary theatre? You are like a unicorn, I have heard of teachers like you, but wasn’t sure they really existed.” I laughed and agreed that we are a rather unique teacher out there.

I have been thinking about that statement lately and agree that being an elementary school theater teacher is rather like being a unicorn. We are indeed a rare find in most school districts and teaching theatre to the very young is magical. I am the only elementary theatre teacher in my large district and many times I am told by the secondary theatre teachers that they could never imagine teaching to such young students and that I must have a lot of patience. I always reply that even though some days it is hard and does try my patience, I love being the first spark of interest to the art form of theatre. I love building a curriculum that allows me to see the growth in my students year after year, and giving them a foundation to build on, especially if they continue with theatre in their secondary education.

I have learned much over the years through trial and error, but I have learned even more from attending TETA TheatreFests and SummerFests and regularly connecting with other teachers like myself. Since we are such a rare breed, I find myself reaching out to connect with others who also understand what it is like to hold the attention of 21 five year olds after someone just lost their tooth, or needed their shoes tied or had a major crying meltdown just because they weren’t first. TETA has given me the chance to connect to others out there like myself to learn and share ideas with. I know I am a better teacher as a result of attending so many workshops over the years. When asked if I wanted to run for the Elementary Member at Large for the K-12 Committee, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, because I knew it would enable me a chance to give back to an organization that has given so much to me. One of the main responsibilities of the K-12 Committee is to organize TETA’s annual SummerFest each year. Being on the committee has given me a chance to make sure elementary teachers are represented and have workshops specifically geared for them. Since elementary teachers are a small group within the organization, I feel it is my job to help to serve the other “unicorns’ out there and to connect with each other.

In a perfect world, I wish every elementary school could have a theatre arts teacher, but for now, I will have to settle for being the “unicorn” in my district and spark the interest of Theatre to the students at my school, with hopes that one day that spark will ignite a flame from within.

Beth Wallace
TETA K-12 Committee
Elementary Member at Large