Teachers Institute

The SETC Teachers Institute is an all-day seminar designed for: middle and high school teachers who use or integrate theatre techniques into their classroom; directors of theatre arts programs; teaching artists; and students studying to be theatre educators.

15th Annual Teachers Institute

We’re thrilled to welcome Tectonic Theater Project to lead our 15th annual Teachers Institute in a day of Moment Work training.

When: Wed. Feb. 26, 2020, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kentucky International Convention Center
Louisville, KY | 71st Annual SETC Convention

Registration Opens: Oct. 15, 2019 at Noon ET
Regular Registration Deadline: Jan. 22, 2020 at Noon ET
Cost: $85 (Includes Lunch)
Limited Enrollment: 40 Participants

Enrollment  is now full.
To be placed on a waiting list, please call the SETC office at 336-272-3645

Introduction to Moment Work for Educators

Good storytelling employs much more than words. Moment Work is Tectonic Theater Project’s collaborative method for devising theater that uses every available element of stagecraft – sound, lights, space, text, costumes, and more – to bring a story to life. In this experiential workshop designed for educators, participants will get an introduction to the basics of Moment Work and explore the non-text elements of the stage for their full narrative and performative potential.

About Tectonic Theater Project

Tectonic Theater Project is an award-winning theatre company based in New York City, dedicated to developing innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, and fostering an artistic dialogue on the social, political, and human issues that affect us all. In service to this goal, Tectonic supports readings, workshops, and full theatrical productions, as well as training for students around the country in our play-making techniques.

Led by founder and artistic director Moisés Kaufman, the company has created a series of plays which have sparked national dialogue and inspired artists and audiences worldwide, including Kaufman’s Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Laramie Project (written by Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project company), Doug Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife and Kaufman’s Tony Award-winning 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda. In 2009, President Barack Obama invited the company to witness the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act at the White House, recognizing Tectonic’s contribution to the national dialogue around anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.

Come Prepared

Each pre-registered participant (limited to 40) should bring:

  • Portable light sources (holiday lights, cell phone lights, finger lights , etc.)
  • A small, interesting prop item
  • A costume piece/piece of clothing
  • Items that make sound (books of matches that rattle, wind up toys, sticks to hit together, high heels that click on the floor, etc.)
  • Two lines of text, one dramatic and one non-dramatic ( prose, a fortune cookie, an instruction
    manual, a newspaper article, etc.)

While some of these items/categories might not be incorporated into the Training Lab, the Tectonic representative reserves the right to build and structure the training based on the perceived needs and interests of the group; therefore, a full inventory of materials would be appreciated for providing an optimal experience. The props and costumes will be available for use by all participants; therefore, participants should not bring anything that is fragile or has any significant monetary or emotional value.

Teachers Institute Trainers

Barbara Pitts McAdams

Barbara Pitts McAdams is co-author of MOMENT WORK: Tectonic Theater Project’s Process of Devising Theater. Barb was in the original company of The Laramie Project and appears in the HBO film version (shared Emmy Nomination, Best Adapted Screenplay). She has created the national #HereToo Project, a play devised from stories of activism and gun violence, weaving national, regional and local interview source material (current versions: #HereToo-Western Washington University and #HereToo-Penn State). In 2019, Barb was in residence at the Krannert Center, University of IL – UrbanaChampaign, directing and co-creating Because I Am Your Queen: a feminist fantasia. In 2018, she was the Margaret Hill Visiting Artist at Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IL), devising a play about campus inclusion and diversity struggles. At Drew University, Barb leads devised work with the Tectonic/Drew NY semester, and teaches devising, acting for camera and survey of acting techniques. Recent acting includes: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Mile Square Theater), WeLL with Lisa Kron (directed by Leigh Silverman at Huntington Theater, Boston), and West Coast premiers of Stephen Belber’s Drifting Elegant, Rebecca Gilman’s Sweetest Swing in Baseball (Magic Theater) and Adam Bock’s The Typographer’s Dream (Encore). TV appearances: Anyone But Me (3 seasons), Person of Interest, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Kidnapped, Forever, Comedy Central Pulp Comics.

Grant James Varjas

Grant James Varjas is the playwright and composer of 33 TO NOTHING, produced in 2018 by Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre (directed by Tyrone Philips). His previous production at A Red Orchid Theatre was ACCIDENTALLY, LIKE A MARTYR, directed by Shade Murray (‘Top 10 Best Plays Of 2015’-TimeOut Chicago) . Other productions in Chicago include original works for Broken Nose Theatre (Bechdel Fest 4), Headline Theatre (Headline Fest 3), and AROT’s own Incubator Series (‘Sick By Seven’). New York City productions include 33 TO NOTHING (GLAAD Nomination 2007), ACCIDENTALLY, LIKE A MARTYR (also Director, at Paradise Factory Theatre), and UNDETECTABLE (Planet Connections Festival). Grant is on the board of Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory Theatre.

He has worked extensively as a writer and actor with Moises Kaufman’s Tectonic Theatre, where he is a Teaching Artist in their Moment Work Conservatory; including acting in the HBO film adaptation of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, and the Los Angeles production of 33 VARIATIONS with Jane Fonda. Grant has worked as an actor at the Goodman Theater; Lincoln Center, The Roundabout, and EST (all in NYC); and CTG in Los Angeles; amongst many others. The original cast recording of 33 TO NOTHING is available on Spotify, Apple, and Amazon Music.

Professional Development / Continuing Education

Take advantage of gaining CEUs and professional development credits at SETC’s Teachers Institute AND the more than 300 workshops offered at the convention. Contact SETC Central Office for more information on continuing education units and/or professional development documentation. Contact your local education agency or fine arts coordinator in your county to find out what you need to qualify for Professional Development Credits. SETC provides a form to track classes and hours and a certificate of attendance for verification. It is the responsibility of the teacher to work within their school system or accreditation bodies to receive their CEUs.

Recap: 14th Annual Teachers Institute

Thank you to Tim Webb and all the teachers and teachers-to-be who joined us for the 14th annual Teachers Institute, Wed., Feb. 27, 2019, in Knoxville, TN, for a day of learning, inspiration and creative renewal.

The theme for the day was “Theatre for All Abilities.” It was an honor to welcome Tim Webb, co-founder of Oily Cart in the U.K., which makes “All Sorts of Theatre for All Sorts of Kids.” Since 1981, Oily Cart Theatre has created original, interactive, multi-sensory theatre that has captivated audiences around the globe. We hope everyone took home new tools to reach students on the autism spectrum, those with learning disabilities, and those who have nontraditional learning styles.

Read more about the day’s activities and about Tim Webb’s practices in Hop on the Cart: Making Theatre the Oily Cart Way, featured in the Spring 2019 issue of Southern Theatre Magazine.

Teacher Takeaways

“I enjoyed the chance to play, create and collaborate with fellow theatre teachers at the Institute! We’re so busy in our own ‘silos’ all year long that we rarely get the chance to create with colleagues, and that was such a fun and creative experience!”

Maria Karres-Williams, Theatre Teacher
Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, Atlanta

“Tim said something that really resonated with me: ‘Leave space for kids to have their voice.’ I feel that this is essential, not just in theatre but in education as well. Students should not need permission to react honestly to an educational experience, and I plan to establish that concept in my classroom as I grow as an educator.”

Kelsey Kott, Drama and English Teacher
Indian Land High School, Fort Mill, SC

“So much of theatre is based off of sight, and you don’t realize it fully until you close your eyes and try to perform a piece. Incorporating all of the senses can transform a show from a performance to an immersive experience.”

Adam Messenger, Professional Teaching Artist
West Virginia University Youth Theatre Academy

“Tim Webb’s workshop was delightful. Not only did we hear about his extensive theatre work, but we also got to experience his devising process in action. Rather than hear a lecture about engaging young people, we constructed and shared co-created experience with each other. It has changed how I view the devising process.”

Andy Waldron, Assistant Professor
Fresno (CA) State University