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News & Press: ATHE News

ATHE Will Not Host an In-Person Conference this Summer

Tuesday, April 21, 2020  
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Dear ATHE Members,

I hope that this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and doing as well as possible during these difficult times. Following consultation and discussion with the Conference Committee and Focus Group leaders, the Governing Council confirmed that because of the challenges presented by COVID-19, ATHE will not be hosting an in-person conference this summer in Detroit. In the next few weeks, various ATHE committees will be meeting to discuss virtual opportunities for members to share and present their work, as well as address the effects of this particular moment on the arts and higher education.

This has been a very difficult decision, and it is one that we do not take lightly. We feel that our duties to our members and the broader community necessitate this choice. As an organization devoted to the consideration of theatre and performance in higher education, we continue to emphasize the value of in-person connection and remain committed to the annual conference as a key site. We are in conversation with the Detroit hotel about possibilities to return in a future year, and we are finalizing the possibilities in order to minimize the costs of cancelling this year’s contract.

We must recognize the incredible work of Vice President for Conference 2020 CarlosAlexis Cruz and the Conference Committee: Mary Anderson, Megan Geigner, Ann Haugo, Jeanmarie Higgins, Jake Hooker, Baron Kelly, Aubrey Neumann, Nicole Hodges Persley, Alicia Tafoya, Annette Thornton, and Beliza Torres Narvaez. This team has worked hard over the past year to craft an exciting conference that truly engaged with Detroit and with key issues facing our field today. We will unfortunately not see those plans and dreams come to fruition.


Combustion ⇔ Energy ⇔ Resilience ⇔ Drive ⇔

Resilience ⇔ Energy ⇔ Combustion

Their conference theme reminds us that even in this pause, in this momentary hiatus, we have the strength and resilience to push forward, and ATHE will drive through this moment thanks to the tireless work of the many volunteers throughout our structure, from Focus Group officers to committee volunteers to the members of the Governing Council and Operations Committee, as well as the hundreds of people who submitted abstracts and proposals for the conference

Thank you as well to the Focus Group Representatives, Conference Planners, and officer teams who have contacted members, created surveys, and fed information back to the Governing Council as we weighed these decisions. The varied responses and the degree of care that was evident both in those processes and in the many responses we’ve received speak to our strengths as an organization. We know that for many members, there continue to be fundamental needs to present work and to receive the dedicated feedback, dialogue, and provocation that the conference space provides. We are looking at ways to continue to provide those opportunities through a range of online and multimodal possibilities.

We will be in touch with further updates and developments in early May. We know that for many of you the challenges of the moment mean that the conference may be the furthest thing from your mind. We thank you for your continued organizational commitment.

Stay safe and well, and I look forward to seeing you both virtually and in-person in the time to come.

All our best wishes,

© 2020 Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 922 | Santa Cruz, CA 95061 | Phone: 628.222.4088