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ATHENews - Volume 26, Number 4 - Interactive Theatre Sub-Committee Held 2012 Pre-Conference
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Interactive Theatre Sub-Committee Held 2012 Pre-Conference

by Cheryl Kaplan Zachariah

The Interactive Theatre Sub-Committee (under the Advocacy Committee) and the Theatre and Social Change Focus Group held a very successful and first ever pre-conference focused around the theme “Interactive Performance and Social Change: Civic engagement and rehearsal for action.” 25 people came together to exchange ideas and resources, share techniques, openly discuss the challenges and ethical considerations within this field of work, and networked among colleagues in interactive theatre. We invited local and national artist/scholars to serve as workshop leaders and speakers, featuring their work for ATHE members, and in turn, introduced our guests to ATHE’s membership and organization. Highlights of our one and one half days together were:

  1. Petra Kuppers, our keynote speaker from the University of Michigan, Artistic Director of The Olimpias and an internationally acclaimed artist and scholar, presented “Social Somatics and Interactive Performance: Touching Presence in Public” which addressed movement, performance, disability and social change.
  2. Two professional interactive theatre performances - "Be Rea$onable: Differences in socio-economic status on a college campus" by Theater Delta, focusing on awareness of class issues and stereotypes, confronting classist behavior, and advocating for those with few resources and "Seed of Spirit GenY,” performed and written by Caitlin Green and co-written and directed by Jason Jedrusiak about the journey of finding oneself in community.
  3. Professional workshops from Shelia Kerrigan from TOUCH Mime Theatre and Rebecca Brown Adelman and Trent Norman from the Interactive Theatre Project,
  4. Interactive Panel of experienced experts in the field of Interactive Theatre about successful Interactive Theatre development and planning with particular attention to goals, theory, methods, funding challenges, and resources. Presenters - Ben Saypol, Kate Collins, Lise Kloeppel, John Reitz, Cheryl Kaplan Zachariah and
  5. Guided Reflections of all activities by Michael Ellison, Suzanne Burgoyne, Cece McFarland, Abigail Leeder, and Paxus Calta.

We aim to have a Interactive Theatre pre-conferences every 2-3 years. If you are interested in learning more about the Interactive Theatre Sub-committee or would like to get involved, please contact our co-chairs, Michael Ellison ( or Ben Saypol ( for detatils.

Special thanks to our Pre-Conference planning Committee: Cheryl Kaplan Zachariah (co-chair), Kaarin Johnston (co-chair), Michael Ellison, Ben Saypol, Willa Taylor and Cathy Plourde and to our sponsors: ATHE Advocacy Committee, ATHE, Taylor and Francis/Routledge Press, Palgrave Macmillan

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