association for theatre in higher education

Additional Hotel Accepting Reservations

As of June 24, 2015, reservations are no longer available for the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Please make your reservations at the Montréal Marriott Chateau Champlain Hotel. Please contact with questions.

Montréal Marriott Chateau Champlain

1050 de la Gauchetiere
West Montreal
Quebec H3B 4C9

Start date: July 26, 2015
End date: August 4, 2015
Cut-off date: July 6, 2015

Special Group Rate: $189.00 CAD per room, per night, single or double occupancy. Additional charge applies for triple or quad occupancy.

A non-refundable deposit of one night's room and tax will be taken to hold each individuals reservation – attendees have up to 11:59PM the day prior to arrival to cancel an existing reservation to avoid a penalty of one night’s room and tax.

Reserve Your Room Now!

Hiring Trends in Theatre in Higher Education

By Henry Bial, ATHE President

Two years ago, ATHE began tracking data on employment opportunities for theatre faculty, using the job advertisements posted in ArtSEARCH as our data set. The results of that initial inquiry were published in ATHE News in Fall 2013. We are now pleased to update that report with similar information from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 hiring seasons. This data was compiled by ATHE member and recent University of Kansas graduate Dr. Lynn Deboeck, supported in part by funding from the University of Kansas School of the Arts.

As we can see, the overall number of faculty vacancies in theatre and performance studies has increased by a couple of percentage points each of the last two years. Unfortunately, it is equally clear that virtually all of the increased hiring has been in positions with no possibility of tenure. The same trend holds when we look at vacancies by faculty rank:

We note also that as the number of “Lecturer” or other non-tenure track positions is increasing, the number of postings for senior faculty (always a small subset of the overall market) seems to be decreasing. Though the situation undoubtedly varies from campus to campus, it appears that our field overall is in line with broad trends in the humanities and social sciences, wherein many of the tenure-track lines vacated by retirement are being eliminated, replaced by lecturers, “visiting” assistant professors, and other contingent laborers.

Given the increasing economic pressures on colleges and universities to reduce labor costs, as well as attacks on tenure and conspicuous disinvestment from public higher education in states such as Wisconsin, Arizona, and Louisiana, it seems certain that this trend will continue. For the long-term sustainability of the field, and of our Association, it is critical that ATHE find new ways to provide advocacy and professional development opportunities for contingent faculty members. We must also explore ways to support our full-time colleagues who, short-handed and under-resourced, strive to maintain the highest standards in the study and practice of theatre and performance in higher education.

To help us focus our efforts, we are preparing to conduct a larger study of labor conditions in the field. This project, which has been developed by President-Elect Patricia Ybarra and the Strategic Planning Committee, will gather information about what is actually happening “on the ground” in theatre programs across North America. For this effort, we expect to partner with the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR). Our goal is to join in advocacy efforts with other faculty associations such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), but also to identify issues such as “guest artist” contracts that are specific to the theatre and performance.

Meanwhile, our job market analysis shows that the desired specialties for which departments are hiring have stayed relatively consistent, with Design and Acting (including voice and movement) as the most frequently sought areas of expertise.

The number of positions in Acting is down slightly from our previous survey, while the number of positions in Musical Theatre is up slightly. Similarly, the number of Theatre History positions is down a little, while Generalist positions are up. This may be a meaningless statistical blip, but it may also indicate that as resources become more limited, departments are increasingly seeking candidates who can contribute to multiple areas of the curriculum.

In terms of qualifications required to attain a faculty position, not much has changed since our last study. The overwhelming majority of positions still require a terminal degree, with about 7% specifying the Ph.D. exclusively.

NOTE: Following the 2012-2013 survey, we conducted follow-up inquiries with those departments that had posted vacancies requiring either the MFA or the PhD. About half of those departments responded. The numbers are too small to draw definitive conclusions (hence, no graph), but discounting a handful of failed searches, roughly 65% of the “either/or” programs ultimately hired a faculty member with an MFA. About 25% hired a faculty member with a PhD (or ABD), and nearly 10% hired faculty members who hold both degrees. Before interpreting this as evidence that MFAs are “preferred,” we should keep in mind that many more MFAs are awarded annually than PhDs.

Moving forward, ATHE will continue to keep its attention focused on hiring and labor issues in the field. If you are interested in contributing to this effort, I encourage you to contact me directly at

Around ATHE

ATHE Seeks Nominations for Leadership Positions

This summer we will elect three individuals to Member at Large positions (Member at Large - Liason to the Operations Committee, Member at Large - Liason to the Finance Commitee, and Member at Large - Outreach). Members at Large fill an important role in representing the focus groups on the Governing Council.

Please take some time to consider who might be a qualified nominee to fill these positions. Then, contact potential nominees to find out if they are willing to run. Finally, please email their name and contact information to Alicia Tafoya. If you are interested in one of the three positions please feel free to self nominate.


The Performance Studies Focus Group (PSFG) invites to you VITAL MEMORIES, the 2015 Pre-Conference at ATHE. The pre-conference includes a keynote by T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko (University of Toronto), a performance art walking tour of Montreal curated by Didier Morielli, and papers and performances that engage theories, practices, and methodologies at the intersection of memory and performance, and their entanglements with space, repertoires of technique, technology, race, gender, and sexuality. VITAL MEMORIES takes place Wednesday, July 29, 9am to 8pm, and Thursday, July 30, 8am to 12pm. For more information, and to register, visit:

VASTA Post Conference – “Cirque des Voix/Circus of Voices” – August 2-5, 2015

Join VASTA in Montréal immediately following this year’s ATHE Conference! The theme for VASTA’s 2015 conference in Montréal, Québec, Canada is “Cirque des Voix/Circus of Voices”—with the meanings of both circle and circus. The conference will include leading-edge master teachers and practitioners, featuring a variety of languages and cultures, and in the spirit of Cirque du Soleil—one ring, many voices. The VASTA post-conference will be hosted by Concordia University, and the official hotel is the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, which offers those who attended the ATHE Conference the convenience of remaining in the same, beautiful hotel.

Promo Video

Click here to learn more

Theatre as a Liberal Art

TLA Panels - ATHE 2015 Montréal

Click here for a PDF file for a complete list of TLA sponsored panels at this year's conference. The document includes panel titles, along with assigned date, time, and room locations.

Looking forward to seeing you at many of these panels!!!

TLA Open Forum Panel - Selected Article Discussion

At this year's conference, TLA is hosting a discussion on an article that we feel has great relevance for college theatre educators. The article, written by Jay P. Greene, Collin Hitt, Anne Kraybill and Cari A. Bogulski, is entitled “Learning from Live Theatre,” and was published in EducationNext. If you’d like to participate in the discussion, which will take place Saturday at noon, here’s a direct link to the article:

Questions/Topics for Plenary Session at ATHE 2015

This year, the Conference Committee has envisioned the Plenary as part of a large international Open Forum on the Devoted and Disgruntled website, which brings people together to discuss specific questions inspired by the broad question, "What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?" You can check them out at

Please give some thought to a question you might want answered around an issue that faces us in academic theatre and send in a suggested question or two that we might explore during the Plenary. You might look at it through the lens of the classroom, the department, the faculty, the university to form your question.

Please send your questions to

The Players' Journal

After a hiatus, The Players' Journal is back. We have already added one post (about the new musical, Something Rotten) and one article, Stop Surviving! An Actor's Manifesto, by Valeri Lantz-Gefroh (Stony Brook University).

The Players Journal is an outlet for articles, and book and performance reviews on the art of acting. We welcome thoughtful, well-written material in any style. Peer review on material submitted is based upon the content of the submission and its contribution to further understanding of the art of acting. We realize that many of our contributors are themselves practitioners, teachers, and students of the art of acting and it is their knowledge of craft which we seek.

Actors and teachers of acting, as you prepare for the ATHE conference, please think about adapting your exercise, paper, or ideas for an article and send it to Paul Kassel at: Paul is on leave from SUNY New Paltz for the fall, but will be actively pursuing new articles from students, teachers and working professionals. Don't hesitate to contact Paul with questions, ideas or suggestions.

July 2015

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