Theatre Sessions

The theatre component of the Academy combines practical and creative elements to expand the teacher's ability to interpret curriculum in exciting new ways. Arts Integration, Creative Drama and Movement is the focus area for the K – 6 elementary/lower middle theatre sessions. Each day participants will take classes in three areas of study that are especially designed for classroom generalist teachers, librarians, special education, physical education and gifted teachers. Arts Integration will help facilitate the learning process in traditional subject areas. Creative drama will focus on improvisational and non-performance aspects of theatre. A final daily class in movement and dance will be offered. All elementary theatre participants will attend all three classes. The upper middle/secondary theatre sessions (7 – 12) include unique sessions each year in at least three of the following areas: acting, directing, improvisation, criticism, movement, playwriting and technical theatre. Instructors from around the country provide stimulating class sessions that reflect a mix of stage and performance techniques coupled with current trends and the latest research in arts education.  In addition to the theatre sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities.


Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2018 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Elementary/Lower Middle Theatre

Focus Areas: Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.


Doing with Drama: Creative Dramatics, Literacy, and Expeditionary Learning

Instructor: Mary McAvoy

In a series of engaging, practical workshops, participants will develop strategies for enlivening literacy curriculum using student-empowering experiential drama methods. Building on the principle that people learn by doing, these sessions will focus both on bringing narratives to life and providing learners opportunities to imagine, reinvent, and experiment within them.


Dramatic Investigation: Using the Arts as Tools to Spark Science Learning

Instructor: Lauren Smith

This experiential workshop invites participants to explore ways to integrate art forms—including drama, visual art, and music—into science curriculum in order to deepen student engagement with the content. Teachers will gain practical, ready-to-use strategies and resources that support students’ comprehension and retention of complex vocabulary and understanding of cycles in nature, as well as their critical thinking and collaborative skills. This session is designed for classroom teachers and includes approaches applicable for gifted and special education teachers, librarians, and arts specialists.


Making Movement Meaningful: Creative Movement Meets Social Studies and Language Arts in the Elementary Classroom

Instructor: Kevin S. Warner

This session will explore the role of creative movement in elementary education, along with simple strategies for using it in the classroom. The curricular integration of movement with social studies and language arts will be highlighted to illustrate the power of dance for promoting a deeper understanding of both content and process skills as outlined in the Tennessee Academic Standards. No prior dance experience is required to participate in this workshop.



Upper Middle/Secondary Theatre

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.


Capturing Students' Imaginations: Devising Tools and Techniques to Create Original Work

Instructor: Noah Martin

Around the country youth are speaking out on issues they care about. Learn theatrical devising techniques that engage youth in meaningful dialogue around issues that will spark the creation of vital new work. In this workshop, participants will use a mix of improvisation, storytelling, and movement exercises to create characters, embody ideas, and explore different perspectives. The week will culminate with the sharing of an in-process devised work.


Unexpected Alchemy: Cultivating Truth and Spontaneity in Performance

Instructor: Mark Price

This workshop focuses on cultivating more truth and spontaneity in performance. During these sessions, participants will employ tools to access more creative play and breakdown the five key elements that are necessary for good storytelling. They will also use tools for resiliency that will deepen authenticity in performance and help artists stay in the game.


Shaping the Stage: A Musical Theatre Choreography Intensive

Instructor: Brad Willcuts

This activity-based workshop will explore new and exciting ways of using musical theatre choreography to illuminate and embolden the stories being conveyed on stage. Participants will be given five simple compositional and directorial techniques with which to experiment. Ideas for improving the musical theatre director’s choreography toolbox will include objective-based dance compositions, hooking the theme, and stage-shape surprises, among others. No previous dance experience is required.