association for theatre in higher education
September 2016

In Memory of

As we gathered in August to celebrate the achievements of ATHE and its members, we took a moment to acknowledge those friends and colleagues whom we have lost since our last meeting. This year we mourn the passing of Claire Sponsler, Mark McGinley, Tim Vasen, Jerry Crawford, Bernard Coyne, Oscar Brockett Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education Award Winner Katie Whitlock, Stephen Cole and Jon Corley.

Dear ATHE Members,

I am proud to share initial data from the ASTR/ATHE adjunct survey. Although we are still working with the results, we would like to share some initial results with the membership and the public. The link to a power point presentation of these results is here.

We will also be posting this powerpoint to our website such that it will be available to the public.

If you have questions about the survey, data, or would like to distribute it formally, please contact Patricia Ybarra at

Dear ATHE Colleagues,

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us in Chicago in August for ATHE’s 30th anniversary conference, Bodies at Work: Performance, Labor, and ATHE @ 30. It was a pleasure to learn from and alongside all of you. We had a fantastic turnout of 931 registered participants.

As I noted in the conference program and onsite in August, many people worked hard to make the conference possible. Below I try to combine some heartfelt thanks to special guests and collaborators with a bit of recap of some of the conference events for those who were unable to be with us this year.

On behalf of the ATHE 2016 team, I’d like to express deep gratitude to all of the following guests, collaborators, and colleagues:

  • Lydia R. Diamond for an engaging, timely, and very funny keynote address that allowed us to hear excerpts of her celebrated work—and that insightfully surfaced contradictions and complexities of the labor conditions and critical landscapes faced by many contemporary US playwrights.
  • Ntozake Shange, Kahil El'Zabar, and Black Theatre Network for the extraordinary special event that was Colored Love Comes in Many Rhythms, a Thursday night concert that also marked ATHE and Black Theatre Network’s joint 30th anniversaries and ongoing collaborations.
  • Naomi Wallace, Meredith Alexander, Lisa Schlesinger, and an ensemble of excellent professional actors, all of whom helped create a beautiful all-conference performance event in the form of staged readings of Wallace’s The Retreating World and scenes from Things of Dry Hours, followed by a conversation that explored those texts and Wallace’s distinguished career writing about labor and class. (Special thanks to ATHE member Baron Kelly for stepping into this reading process in the final days.)
  • Nicholas Ridout for joining us for a rich dialogue on labor and performance with Naomi Wallace.
  • Julian Boal, Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, The Neo-Futurists, and Congo Square Theatre Company for leading this year’s very popular, largely sold-out paid workshops.
  • The featured guests for our plenary on diversity in theatre and higher education (Jill Dolan, Donatella Galella, Carmen Morgan, Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Lisa Portes, and Carrie Sandahl), as well as our moderators for that event (Lindsey Mantoan, Coya Paz, and Willa Taylor, with huge onsite assistance from Tlaloc Rivas).
  • Lee Kottner of New Faculty Majority (who was a featured guest for our plenary on adjunct labor struggle and who shared vital information on strategies for organizing), ATHE President Patricia Ybarra (who presented preliminary data from ATHE’s adjunct labor research project), and Patrick McKelvey (who co-moderated the adjunct plenary event and its breakout conversations).
  • Everyone—both ATHE members from many places and local Chicago artists—who participated in our featured concurrent session panel series, Bodies at Work.
  • The various past ATHE presidents who, along with President Patricia Ybarra, eloquently toasted ATHE’s 30th anniversary at the annual membership meeting.
  • David Feiner and the team at Albany Park Theatre Project (APTP) for helping ATHE arrange for some of its members to experience APTP’s sold-out, critically-acclaimed site-specific performance Learning Curve on Sunday afternoon after the conference.
  • The 2016 Conference Committee for far too many contributions to name here. The members of that committee were: Bill Doan, Lindsey Mantoan, Coya Paz, Tlaloc Rivas, Monica White Ndounou, Sam O’Connell, Alicia Tafoya, Willa Taylor, and Patricia Ybarra. (Thanks also to Chase Bringardner and Jill Dolan for consulting in various ways.)
  • The leadership of ATHE’s focus groups for curating the majority of our conference experience.
  • The ATHE/Ewald staff—especially Eric Ewald, Erin Babarskis, Emily Fairall, and La’Shawn Beasley—and the ATHE Governing Council—especially Patricia Ybarra—for all their work to make our time together possible.

I’ll make sure that ATHE leaders have records of the conversations in the breakout sessions for both plenaries, with the hope that our time together in Chicago might leave as many lasting traces as possible.

Finally, thank you again to all attendees for your contributions to many different conversations about the contexts and stakes of labor in our field(s). I’m looking forward to continued discussion on many fronts.

All my best,
Kelly Howe
2016 Conference VP

ATHE 2017 Annual Conference

ATHE 2017 will be August 3-6, 2017 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino and while that is a year away, conference proposal deadlines are right around the corner. The electronic proposal form for ATHE 2017 is expected to be available on the ATHE website on Thursday, September 15, 2016. The deadline to submit a proposal is Tuesday, November 1,2016. ATHE does not accept single paper submissions; therefore, individuals wishing to present a paper must collaborate with others for paper panels. If you are interested in proposing a session please reach out to the conference planner for the focus group under which your session will fall. This will limit duplicate session topics and should allow you to connect with like-minded colleagues for possible collaborations on sessions. Contact information for conference planners can be found on the ATHE website. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your proposals:

  • Presenters are limited to two (2) appearances (i.e.: Session chair, Participant, Moderator, Respondent, etc.) Exceptions are at the discretion of the Conference Committee.
  • All presenters are expected to be current members of ATHE.
  • All presenters are expected to register/pay for the conference.

Latinx, Indigenous, and the Americas (LIA) Focus Group

At the Chicago conference, the Latina/o Focus Group voted to change its name to the Latinx, Indigenous, and the Americas (LIA) Focus Group. This name change reflects a more inclusive and diverse range of identities and work that the focus group is dedicated to promoting. In particular, the change to LIA embraces indigenous performance in its many formations (and across the globe), as well as the variety of performances that occur throughout the Americas (including the US, Latin America, Canada, Brazil, and the Caribbean). LIA also embraces the influences of the African and Asian diasporas in the Americas and seeks to carve a space in which to interrogate and disseminate new scholarship on the intersections of these performance practices.

- Jimmy A. Noriega (Focus Group Representative)

VASTA Goes International!

The VASTA conference in Chicago was a wonderful 4 days of sharing in August just prior to the ATHE conference. DePaul University was a perfect venue for "Dynamic Dialogues and Connections", featuring excellent workshops, panels, master presenters and member presentations.

The organization remains vibrant and the new president, Betty Moulton (2016-18) reports the international outreach is strong. Next year we go to Singapore, to connect with colleagues in the region and to study "The Art of Storytelling". Keep connected via our website for news of our voice professionals, workshops and conferences that focus on vocal communication throughout the year!

ACLS Fellowship and Grant Programs

Greetings from ACLS!

We are pleased to announce that the 2016-17 ACLS competitions are now open for many programs. ACLS offers fellowship and grant programs that promote the full spectrum of humanities and humanistic social sciences research and support scholars at the advanced graduate student level through all stages of the academic career. Comprehensive information and eligibility criteria for all programs can be found at

Privacy on Stage: Announcing P3M5

As part of the Theatre Communications Group Conference in Washington, DC on June 25, 2016, the Goethe-Institut unveiled a new project centered on the value of privacy using the medium of theatre: the Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays (P3M5).

The project seeks to facilitate a dynamic trans-Atlantic dialogue about privacy issues through short plays commissioned by partnering theatres across Europe and in the US. The theatres have asked playwrights from their countries, “What does privacy mean to you in the digital age?” The answers, in the form of five-minute plays, will be turned into film pieces and performed live by an international network of theatres from January 2017 to June 2018, reaching diverse audiences around the world.

Learn more here.