Over 80 New Jersey high school theatre teachers gathered at
the University in January to participate in the first ever “Theatre Day for
Teachers.” Organized by the College of the Arts’ Department of Theatre and Dance,
the full-day event provided participants with opportunities to attend
performance- and production-related workshops, network with peers, share best
practices and learn about the theatre programs at the University.
Theatre Day for Teachers was conceived by Susan Kerner,
associate professor of theatre and dance, in response to the need for
professional development opportunities for secondary school arts teachers in
the state. “High school theatre teachers are dedicated professionals who do
everything in their productions from choreography to lighting design. They are
looking for ways to enhance and expand their skills,” says Kerner. “This event
was organized to help meet that need and to give participants an opportunity to
exchange ideas with fellow high school theatre arts professionals.”
With a dozen workshops on topics such as audition
techniques, Broadway choreography, stage management and theatre games,
participants had ample opportunity to learn about the latest trends and
techniques in theatre and to take away new ideas to use in the classroom and at
rehearsal. Taught by faculty of the Theatre and Dance Department and visiting
theatre professionals, the workshops were timely, informative and lively.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive reactions of the high school teachers, Kerner believes the Theatre Day for Teachers should be an annual event. “With such an enthusiastic response in the first year, we plan to continue this program and possibly expand this day-long conference to a week-long summer institute at Montclair State,” she says.