Monday, December 15, 2014

K-12 Reception

K-12 Reception: 
A special TheatreFest 2015 event you won’t want to miss!

We are excited to bring the K-12 Reception back to TheatreFest! This is a one-time-only event where K-12 teachers and administrators can meet with some of their favorite business vendors without the crowds at the exhibition hall. Each vendor will be allowed time for their own custom “commercial”, new product demonstrations or fashion shows, and distribute flyers or business cards. Another great thing about this event is that many of our vendors have agreed to give out amazing door prizes only for those who attend this reception! A buffet-style meal will also be available. So, before you go to TETA’s Got Talent at 8:00PM on Friday night, find your colleagues and administrators and head on over to the K12 Reception – 6:30-7:45PM at the Window Box. There is no additional cost to attend this event!

Want to know who’s coming?  Here’s the list so far:
            A.M. Designs
                Costume Inventory Resource
                Drama Education Network
                Educational Travel Adventures
                Interactive Educational Video, LLC             
Ludlam Dramatics
                Mega Systems, Inc.
                Music Theatre International
Perfection Learning
                Special Effect Supply Corp.
                Spirit Productions
                Theatre Folk
                                Texas Renaissance Festival
                The New Book Press, LLC

The K12 Committee is working hard to organize this very special event for our members and vendors. We look forward to seeing everyone at TheatreFest 2015: Together Toward Tomorrow and hope to see you at the K12 Reception Friday evening!

Happy Holidays!
Sara Schochler- TETA K12 Chair

Friday, December 12, 2014

TETA TheatreFest is Going GREEN!!

Dr. Jerry Ivins, TheatreFest 2015 Co-Convention Director

TETA has just made the decision to go green for the 2015 TheatreFest Convention!! For years, TETA has printed a program for their Convention. This presented several problems:

· As soon as it was printed in early January, it was already outdated. A Convention of this size always has changes. The workshops and events are fluid and will change. By printing the program, before the ink was dry, the workshop information had already changed.

· The cost of the program exceeded over $15,000. A great cost for an instrument that had outdated information.

· Some years, there were thousands of leftover programs, and some years the programs were short…leaving participants in the dark without a program.

· Environmentally wasteful, most programs were just thrown away after the Convention.

For the reasons above, TETA started using the electronic program called Guidebook to supplement the program at recent Conventions. Now, most conventions use Guidebook exclusively. TETA is moving into the technology age and will be utilizing Guidebook to its fullest extent. Consider:

· No more outdated information. Changes to the schedule will be pushed out to all participants’ smart phones on a daily basis!

· Guidebook will save TETA money by eliminating printing costs.

· No more waste. A PDF of the schedule will be posted on the TETA website for those who want to print a schedule.

Batts Audio, Video and Lighting, Inc. has graciously funded our use of Guidebook, and will be featured upon opening the application. We thank them for their support!

We look forward to this new change!

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