June 18, 2024

U Theatre hosts first annual summer workshop for high school theatre teachers

Participants of the theatre teachers workshop Participants of the theatre teachers workshop Photo Chris DuVal

The University of Utah Department of Theatre hosted the first annual High School Theatre Teacher Summer Workshop in the Meldrum Theatre on June 14. The day-long event consisted of four workshops taught to fourteen secondary school teachers from Cedar City, Heber, Lehi, South Jordan, Sandy, West Jordan, Stansbury Park, Magna, Ogden, and Bountiful. The day’s sessions concluded with a roundtable Q&A session with faculty and staff.  

  • Armed Stage Combat Choreography, taught by professor and department chair Chris DuVal, in which participants practiced the techniques of Single Sword –– the most common sword-based style used in theatre, television, and film –– and explored how to incorporate techniques into their programs.
  • Devised Practices, taught by assistant professors Alexandra Harbold and Robert Scott Smith, in which educators explored myriad ways into the process of creating original work with students, drawing upon practical techniques and structures from the Viewpoints, Tectonic’s Moment Work, Frantic Assembly and more.
  • Choreography for Musical Theatre, taught by assistant professor Erin Speer. This was an interactive dance workshop where participants examined story and character driven choreography, avoiding the trap of “dance for dance’s sake.”
  • Unarmed Stage Combat Choreography, also taught by Chris DuVal, exploring the foundational skills of unarmed stage techniques frequently required in productions

Participant Feedback:Participants learn stage combat | Photo Chris DuVal

  • “I truly loved these workshops and was very glad to be a part of if for the first year!  They were very valuable!”
  • “This was a great workshop.  I had a lot of fun and enjoyed learning from all the presenters!”
  • “The day-long theatre professional development at the University of Utah is a great opportunity for secondary school teachers! The professors all provided valuable training and were so fun to work with! I appreciated that they respected our work as secondary school theatre teachers and treated us like colleagues.”

Special thanks to faculty members Arika Schockmel, Erin Speer, Gage Williams, Kyle Becker, Kelby McIntyre-Martinez, Michael Horejsi, Rob Scott Smith, Amber Bielinski, Andra Harbold, Jessica Dudley-Rodriguez, Colleen Hirst, Karen Azenberg, and Penny Caywood for making this event possible.