Children’s Theatre | Community Theatre | Creative Dramatics | Professional | Secondary School | University/College

Annual Events

You can register for any event by printing out a registration form (look under the individual event listings), and sending it to us, with your payment. Address given on the registration form.

Annual Convention

Download the registration form and send it in today!

Saturday, Oct. 2
8:00-9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00-10:00 a.m.
The Challenge of Teaching Acting at a Liberal Arts College/University
Panel members representing three different types of liberal arts colleges will share their unique challenges of teaching acting and their efforts to meet them. Those attending will have an opportunity to share their solutions.
Peter Cocuzza, SIUE; Cecilia Ulmer, Greenville College; Nancy Taylor, MacMurray College

Big Costumes/Small Budgets

Lauren Lowell, ISU, will present ideas on how to create production appropriate costumes when funds are tight and skills of the available labor are undeveloped. Innovation, creative and inexpensive approaches will be shared.

Integrating Technology into the drama classroom

Whether using the internet or digital video camera with your students sound exciting or intimidating, this workshop will be of interest to you. Basic film making as well us using the internet as a student resource will be explored, including implementation and assessment.
Melanie Ludington, Drama Educator

University/College Department Chair Forum

Don LaCasse, ISU, Chair

The Challenges and Opportunites of
the No Child Left Behind Legislation

Dan Haughey, Blackhawk College, moderator

10:30-11:30 a.m.
Stage Combat: A Basic Introduction
Robin McFarquhar, UICU, will lead the participants through a basic methodology for choreographing simple hand to hand fights on stage.


Become a Seventeenth century Italian in this physical based, comedy acting class. Lose your shoes and dress for movement as we explore possible approaches to the modern lazzo.
John Fisher, professional actor, Bloomington

The Shakespeare Project

Under the direction of James Zager, Chair of BFA Theatre Studies Program, students from the Univ. of IL Urbana-Champaign will demonstrate how Shakespearean scenes performed in a contemporary style can reveal new and often remarkable interpretations

We’re in the Money: A Fund Raising Primer

A basic workshop about finding valuable donations from various sources: government grants, institutional grants, individual gifts and sponsorships
Joan Mazzonelli, Executive Director, Theatre Building Chicago; Leah Kaiser, Development Consultant; Kim Swinton, Vice Pres. of External Affairs, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum; Walter Buford, IAC Director of Performing Arts and Partners in Excellence Programs

Noon-1:00 p.m.
Division Meetings—Working Lunch
Box lunches included with registration

1:00-2:45 p.m.
Accent on Access
ITA’s Access Coalition Chair, Eunice Joffe and an attorney from Lawyers for the Creative Arts will provide information on the legal responsibilities and low cost methods to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The workshop should be of interest to theatre artistic and administrative staff, their board of directors, and volunteers as well as those representing university and high school theatre departments.

Saturday 1:00-2:45
Invigorate Your Season—Stage Something New
Excerpts from works by Illinois authors will be given staged readings and followed by a discussion with the authors. Excite your audience by producing a play they’ve never seen before.
David Alex, Chicago Alliance for Playwrights, coordinator

Introduction to Stage Faux Finish Techniques

A demonstration of some of the techniques stage scenic artists use to create painted surfaces. Lee Boyer, Boyer Drawing and Painting, Urbana, will show how to mix glazes using scene paint and various tools and methods which can be used to paint on the stage or in the home or business

New Kids on the Block: Surviving the Early Years of Teaching and Directing a High School Theatre Program

A discussion about survival techniques to include: taking over an already established program, making changes, revitalizing curriculum, dealing with student acceptance, choosing shows, handling stress, making contacts and using resources.
J.R. Rose, Carrie Grzeskiewicz, Andy Sinclair, Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.; Terri Miller, Willowbrook H.S.
Saturday 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Abraham Lincoln: Touch of the Poet

Lonn Pressnall, Richland C.C., portrays Lincoln, a president with a passion for poetry: his own, American, English and his real love, William Shakespeare. A discussion will follow.

Tricks of the Trade

Veteran high school theatre directors share their favorite exercises or warm-ups. You’re sure to leave with another trick in your bag.
Timothy Ortmann, Niles North H.S.
Barbara Ridenour, University High, Urbana

Alba Emoting: Emotion Through Breath

Alba Emotion is a scientifically based technique which allows actors to trigger and control genuine emotion at will without the use of memory or imagery. Participants will learn the theory behind the technique, will see demonstrations given by certified Alba Emoting practitioners and will experience a few introductory exercises.
Nancy Loitz, Director of the School of Theatre Arts, Illinois Wesleyan Univ.

The Penguin Project: Theatre for Young Artists with Disabilities

A presentation about the development, process and outcome of a musical theatre experience for young artists with disabilities produced by Eastlight Theatre with the cooperation of the Easter Seals-UCP Foundation of Central Illinois.
Kathy Chitwood, Eastlight Theatre, East Peoria
Dr. Andrew Morgan, Penguin Project Director

4:15-5:15 p.m.
Legislators Panel Discussion
How do we get to know our Legislators?
How do we build effective working relationships with them, for the arts?

Hors d’oeuvres and Cash Bar

University/College Showcase

Sunday 8:45-9:45
Continental Breakfast and Annual Business Meeting

Sunday 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Tools for Success: The Story of Heartland Theatre Company
Mike and Gail Dobbins will share their strategy they implemented to grow a small regional black box theatre in Normal. Mike, from the perspective of attracting and keeping quality actors, directors and staff and Gail, from the perspective of solid branding and marketing strategies, will tell how they doubled donations, subscribers and talent pool. Ideas for sustaining this success and growth in the future will be discussed.

Hiring the Equity Actor (Playing by the Rules)
Luther Goins, Business Representative at Actors’ Equity Midwest will explain the process and answer any questions you might have about Equity contracts and hiring an Equity guest artist.

“Do we get to go to the festival?” Learn the language of adjudication and how to be a sensitive respondent. After examining the goals of adjudication, hands-on response to students’ work will be part of the session. (Required to become an ITA certified H.S. adjudicator)
Timothy Ortmann, Niles North H.S.
Sandra Zielinski, ISU

Working with a Dramaturge

In this session Thomas Jones, President of Chicago’s Eclipse Theatre and Mark Begovich, Director of Theatre at Leyden H.S., will explain the work of the dramaturge and the benefits he or she can bring to the production.

Sunday 11:15-ll:45
Performance by Prairie Folklore Theatre
Brian Fox Ellis and Barry Cloyd, folksingers, storytellers, actors and songwriters, weave traditional ballads and tales with original songs and poetry into a celebration of regional history.

Sunday 11:45-2:00 p.m.
Awards Luncheon
Tina Salamone, Coordinator

Go back to the top

Children’s Theatre & Creative Dramatics Conference

Download the registration form and send it in today!

8:00 am — 8:30 am
Registration / Sign In and Continental Breakfast

8:30 am – 9:00 am
Tribute to Carolyn Applebaum
The ITA celebrates the life of Educator, ITA Member and Creative Dramatics Division Representative Carolyn Applebaum.

9:00 am — 9:30 am
Keynote Speaker: David Barr III
David Barr III is a resident playwright at the Chicago Dramatists and has served as Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Theatre Company since 1994. Mr. Barr’s ability to weave fiction, literature, history and social commentary into his plays forces audiences to stand up and take notice. His play The State of Mississippi vs. Emmett Till was developed with Mrs. Mamie Till Mobley and based on the life and tragic death of her son Emmett Till. Mr. Barr was co – adapter of Journal of Ordinary Thought which dramatizes a series of poems, monologues and prose taken from the works of South Side and West Side Chicago Authors.

9:40 am — 10:45 am
Session 1
A) She Sells Toy Boats by the Seashore: Teaching Diction and Dialects
Naomi Landman- Jeff Nominated Actress and Dialect Coach
A Discussion and Workshop including various activities and approaches designed to enrich diction, projection and dialect work among actors of mixed ages.

B) HELP! I am SO in the Dark!
Tina Salamone- Artistic Director for Our Town Productions
This is stage lighting at its most basic, from illumination through color theory and on to design. Regardless of the equipment in your particular theatre, we can get you started on the road to enhanced productions. (Plus, you’ll find out what the heck a gobo even is!)
Note: Please write down the make/model of your lighting control board and bring that info to the session.

C) From Literature to Social Studies Through Drama
Anne Lefkovitz- Drama Department Chair, Evanston School District 65
This session will explore approaches to interdisciplinary learning using C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

10:55 am — 12:00 pm
Session 2
A) Bam! Pow! Kazowie! How to Keep Fighting Students Safe on Stage.
Babes With Blades- first all-female stage combat company in the U.S.
Mystified by stage combat? Let the Babes teach you tools and exercises to keep stage violence safe and accessible for students. Safety first!

B) Creating a Masked Character
Elizabeth Westphal- Drama Teacher, Nichols Middle School, Evanston School District 65
Learn how to teach your students to build simple masks, create mask characters and use these characters as a springboard for creative writing.

C) The 1, 2, 3’s of Set Construction
Don Calgaro- Freelance Carpenter
Are you a one person theater department? This “how to” workshop covers the basics of set construction including building platforms and flats (plywood and canvas). Using Styrofoam to create a set will also be discussed.

D) Clowns Are People Too
Stacy Deemar- actress, clown, theater educator
This workshop answers the who, what, where and why questions for children about clowns. Attendants will first be engaged about clowns through storytelling. Following the fun filled reading, Shmoopy, the clown, will magically evolve in front of her audience by applying her make-up, wig, and nose.

12:10 pm — 1:25 pm
Lunch and CD / CT Division Meeting

1:30 pm — 2:35 pm
Session 3
A) Gory Make-up Made Easy
Brad Newlan- Special Effects Make-Up Artist / Blood and Gore Specialist
Special Effects Make-Up Artist, Brad Newlan, is guaranteed to gross you out! Learn basic techniques of creating the goriest of the gore, including some “interesting” uses for KY jelly, corn syrup, and jello. Recommended for theater teachers, directors, and student council sponsors.

B) African Drumming, Dancing and Traditions
Andrea Salloum- Artistic Director for Kidworks Touring Theatre
Work “hands on” with Kidworks as we explore Africa through the Arts. Come wear an African Head-wrap, play the Djembe Drum, and Dance. Plus learn a series of activities for the classroom.

C) Turning Children’s Books into Children’s Theatre
Holly McNeill- High School Drama Teacher / Director, Larkin H.S.
Participants will learn how to help students create real children’s theatre by adapting their very own children’s storybooks from home. Students practice reading, writing and working cooperatively.

2:45 pm- 3:45 pm
Closing Performance

Share a Lesson Plan
We know you have great ideas. Bring 60 copies of your most creative lesson plan and swap them for the brilliant innovations of your fellow teachers. Drop off your copies in our reserved room for swapping.

Go back to the top

Students enrolled in an Illinois college or university.
College students intending to move to Chicago.
Non-professional affiliates of an Illinois community theatre.
Freelance, non-union actors.

Preliminary Screening Auditions:
In the preliminary screening audition, each actor
will be evaluated by a committee of (3) screening judges selected from the ITA and members of the Chicago
professional theatre community. This committee will recommend up to 60 individuals whose performances they
deem of caliber for auditions on Saturday afternoon.

Callback Auditions:
Those individuals selected by the screening committee will be assigned an audition time for the Saturday callbacks.
Representatives of Chicago and national talent and casting agencies, resident theatres, summer stock companies and
professional internship programs will be present.

Theatre Building Chicago
1225 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657-3205
Phone: 773-929-7288 x219
Fax: 773-327-1404
E-mail: [email protected]

Actors must submit the following:
A copy of the registration form (available NOW!!!)
A professional and/or faculty letter of recommendation
A resume & an 8×10 headshot
The audition fee ($30 for non-members, $25 for members)
All materials must be included to reserve a slot at the screening audition.


Each non-musical auditionee will be limited to three minutes and should include 2 contrasting monologues. However, a musical auditionee may include 16 bars of a song and the 2 monologues within a four minutre time limit. An accompanist will be provided. Each musical auditionee must bring sheet music in his/her own key. A capella singing will NOT help your musical audition.

NOTE: All actors MUST bring an additional 60 resumes and headshots (already attached) to the preliminary screening auditions. (If an actor is not called back, he/she may pick up the photos and resumes at a designated time announced during the weekend.)

March 4, 2005
Screening Auditions
March 5, 2005
Screening Auditions & Callbacks

Go back to the top

Community Theatre Showcase

Please check back for information about the 2005 Community Theatre Showcase.

Go back to the top

Illinois High School Theatre Festival