Clayton Center to host theater conference

The Tennessee Theatre Association will hold its 45th annual conference Oct. 25-28 at the Clayton Center for the Arts. The conference will consist of a variety of workshops, socials and theater competitions.

Performance competitions will be presented for the Secondary School Theatre One-Act Play Festival and the 2013 AACTFest Community Theatre Festival. Other competitive events include auditions for TTA scholarships and university admission, as well as screening for the South Eastern Theatre Conference, also known as SETC.

“Because we have this worldclass facility, it makes a lot of sense for us to show it off and get artsy folk here as often as we can,” said Dr. Heather McMahon, associate professor of theater at Maryville College.

The Tennessee Theatre Association was founded in 1968 with the mission of promoting the art of theater throughout the state of Tennessee, McMahon said. The association also serves a connection between Tennessee theatres and national theatres. Hosting the conference at the Clayton Center offers opportunities for theater students at MC.

“Maryville College theater students will be instrumental in making this year’s event run smoothly,” McMahon said. “Students will work tech for the performances, act as timekeepers for SETC auditions and help guests find workshops.”

In return for their services, MC theater students will be allowed to sit in on all workshops and seminars for free. “The Basics of Theatrical Makeup,” “The Belt Voice” and “Dance and Movement” are a few of the workshops that will be offered at the conference and that are available to students.

MC adjunct professor of theater Lisa Soland will be hosting a workshop entitled, “Creating an Effective Ten-Minute Play.” McMahon said that not only will students have the opportunity to learn from these workshops, but advance their theatrical careers, as well. “[Students] will make invaluable connections with other theater artists across the state,” she said.

“Those connections cannot be underestimated when it is time to leave MC and get your first job. In this business, it really is who you know.” Alpha Psi Omega, a national theater honors society, will host a social gathering on Friday evening for chapters of Tennessee. The APO chapter on campus will participate, as well.

“It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity for all of our APO members, because we get to meet other members from different schools,” said Rachel Jarnigan, vice president of the MC chapter of APO. “We can learn from each other.” The conference is also an opportunity for area theater instructors to meet one another. Many of the theater professors that will host workshops are from East Tennessee.

“I am most looking forward to time with colleagues,” McMahon said. “I always return from conferences like this one with renewed passion and drive, as well as with new ideas about teaching and directing.”

The TTA conference registration will begin at 2 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 25. Individual day admission fees are $15 dollars for students or seniors, and $25 for general admission. Admission to the entire festival is $45.

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