Pre-Conference Registration & Programming





  Early (March/April) Regular (May)
NET Member – Intensives A or B  $50.00 $75.00
NET Member – Sessions A1, A2, or B  $25.00 $50.00
NET Member – Film Screening/Discussion  $15.00 $15.00
NET Member – Group rate* see below* see below*
Non-Member – Intensives A or B  $75.00  $100.00
Non-Member – Sessions A1, A2, or B  $35.00  $50.00
Non-Member – Film Screening/Discussion  $20.00 $20.00
Student – Intensives A or B $10.00 $10.00
Student – Sessions A1, A2, or B $5.00 $5.00
Student – Film Screening/Discussion $5.00 $5.00

*If you are a NET member and want to register 3 or more people to the pre-conference please email for code to take 20% off each registration! (Not valid on student registrations)


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Register as a STUDENT



Chicago Actor Training Sampler

Participatory workshop

Facilitator/session leader: 
Thom Pasculli, Adjunct Faculty at Columbia College Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and DePaul University; Co-Artistic Director, Walkabout Theater; Co-Director, VoxFest, Dartmouth College

Additional session leaders/presenters:  
Kristina Fluty, Independent Movement Coach; Founder/Principal, Kinespark Consulting; Adjunct faculty, The Theatre School at DePaul University; Adjunct faculty, Department of Creative Arts Therapies, Columbia College Chicago
Anne Libera, Director of Comedy Studies, Columbia College Chicago/The Second City

In a four-hour intensive, this participatory workshop examines the connective tissue between disparate actor training techniques that are prominent in the Chicago theater landscape, including movement-based and non-movement-based training. By colliding dance, body awareness, expressive gestures, partner acrobatics, improv comedy, storytelling, and Stanislavski’s acting method, theater artists and educators will examine how these techniques enhance each other…and how they don’t. The session will provoke a conversation around the specialization of these techniques and the potential in cross-discipline training.

Devising: Training & Practice
Participatory workshop, panel, and full-room discussion

Facilitators/session leaders: 
Michael Brown, Director of MFA in European Devised Performance Practice, Assistant Professor, Columbia College Chicago; Artistic Director, Unbridled Theatre Company
Marc Frost, Adjunct Professor, Columbia College Chicago; Managing Artistic Director, Theater Unspeakable; Co-Artistic Director, Physical Festival Chicago

Additional session leaders/presenters:  
Jason Bohon, Producing Director, Split Knuckle Theatre
Adrian Danzig, Co-Founder, 500 Clown
Adrienne Kapstein, Assistant Professor, BA International Performance Ensemble, Pace School of Performing Arts
Kaitlen Osburn, Community Engagement Associate, Dell'Arte International
Davis Robinson, Professor of Theater, Department of Theater and Dance, Bowdoin College; Artistic Director, Beau Jest Moving Theater
Greg Webster, Assistant Professor of Movement & Devised Theatre, University of Connecticut; Founding Artistic Director, Split Knuckle Theatre

Moving between workshop, panel presentations, and full-room discussion, this four-hour intensive will include sections on:

Who Decides? / Adrian Danzig, Davis Robinson
A roundtable discussion on how choices get made in ensemble devising processes. How does an ensemble write a new piece? Who is “in the room?” How do student/teacher or actor/director dynamics impact the writing? Who has final say? Can art be made by committee? How much is work steered, and who does the steering?

Balancing Play and Rigor / Marc Frost, Michael Brown
A participatory workshop that will actively grapple with questions like how we understand (and title) the role of an actor/devisor who may at different times engage very different functions? How does the company credit this contribution? What agreement does the ensemble need to have in place before engaging in a “level playing field” devising process?

How To Say No / Kaitlen Osburn
This participatory workshop/discussion will explore preserving the personal point of view of the individual artist within an ensemble devising process. By employing the fine art of saying no, we can engage a process in which the ensemble also serves the individual, avoiding the trap of only moving forward by reaching risk-free, “consensus” agreements.

The Artist-Teacher / Adrienne Kapstein, Davis Robinson
This roundtable will discuss the process and pedagogy of creating original work with students in an undergraduate setting, and will address the complexities that arise when one engages in work as both an artist and teacher. Topics to be examined include hierarchy, inclusion, pedagogical framework, investment and ownership, and presentation.

How to Navigate Performing Arts Centers and University Residencies / Greg Webster, Jason Bohon
This panel will discuss devising new work in ways that are professionally viable in the market place, as well as issues associated with teaching and executing devised work in association with higher education institutions. Topics will include effective training methods, funding, pitching work that is in process, market place partners, and the role of the community.

Building Civic Empathy: The Storytelling Game

Participatory workshop

Session leader: 
Gerard Stropnicky (Co-Founder/Emeritus, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble)

When engaging communities across sector, across discipline, across intersections of economics, race, class, sex, gender, age, faith, ability, education, language, geography, and more, a single question always arises: How do we truly listen to each other? The Storytelling Game releases the wonder and responsibility that comes from holding another’s story in your hands and heart. Designed for colleges and universities, this active workshop offers an understanding of the keys that release the power in community story, and includes a contextual overview to session leader Gerard Stropnicky’s decades of experience creating place-based, change-making work.

Digital Archives & Online Resources: Tools for Teaching and Research on Ensembles

Lecture-demo, panel, and full-room discussion

Facilitator/session leader: 
Monique Courcy,; Digital Media Manager, On the Boards

Additional session leaders/presenters:  
Adewunmi Oke, Fellow, HowlRound
Adam Soch, Filmmaker, Archivist
Jorge Vargas, Co-Director, Teatro Línea de Sombra
Ruth Wikler-Luker, Curator & Producer, Boom Arts

A conversation about documentation, archival strategies, and online resources. How is (and isn't) performance being conceptualized, produced, contextualized, and distributed across a range of platforms and media. What is the value for artists, educators, communities, and presenting organizations? Representatives from, HowlRound, BoomArts, as well as theater makers from Teatro Linea de Sombra and filmmaker/archivist Adam Soch will demonstrate and discuss approaches, resources currently available, and possibilities.

SoulWork: A Training Methodology and Journey to Ensemble

Participatory workshop with introductory lecture

Session leader: 
Cristal Chanelle Truscott, PhD, Founding Artistic Director/Playwright, Progress Theatre

Developed by Dr. Cristal Chanelle Truscott as the primary technique for Progress Theatre and the creation of her Neo-Spirituals (a’cappela musicals), SoulWork is a methodology of acting, directing, playwriting, songwriting, script analysis, and ensemble-building that is designed to create heightened levels of emotional sincerity and evoke circumstances beyond words to reimagine or recreate experiences that elicit a “visceral response” or, more esoterically, that elicit “soul.”  The term “soul” in African American cultural expression is used to describe an aesthetic occurrence that communicates through intrinsic connection, emotion, and embodiment. Just as there is soul music and soul food, just as a person can dance with soul, paint with soul—in all areas of theatre and theatre-making, soul can be created and cultivated. At the center of SoulWork is achieving what Truscott terms Emotional Availability, which allows for a state of song that is not about singing, a state of movement that is not about dance, characters that are not about acting, and story that is not about a literal/linear plot.  Creating from a state of Emotional Availability both connects and liberates emotional (breath, voice, etc.) and physical functions (action, movement, gesture, etc.) to/from/with intellectual analysis to explore the essence of a piece both spontaneously and deliberately.

The session will begin with an introductory lecture (featuring video from Progress Theatre's practice and repertoire) of SoulWork philosophies, origins, and founding principles—with specific emphasis on SoulWork’s roots in communal artistic genealogy, in challenging universities’ exclusionary privileging of Eurocentric training methods, and in building ensemble practice. After an experiential SoulWork exercise, we will end with Q&A and dialogue/exchange that includes practical tools and resources to engage with university departments to diversify training offerings, and best practices for supporting student ensembles transitioning to professional industry work.

Reza Abdoh: Theatre Visionary (Adam Soch; US, 2015)

Documentary film screening followed by discussion with filmmaker

Adam Soch, Filmmaker

View Trailer & Film's Website

The impact of wunderkind theatre director Reza Abdoh’s explosive work is finally brought to light 20 years after his death from AIDS in 1995 at the age of 32. Directed by Adam Soch (Abdoh’s long-time collaborator and video archivist), this new documentary film Reza Abdoh: Theatre Visionary is an intimate portrait of the world and work of Abdoh and his company Dar a Luz (founded in 1991), and features excerpts from Abdoh’s most important productions alongside interviews with Abdoh himself, his collaborators, critics, friends, and family. These elements combine to illuminate his legacy, his groundbreaking work, and his visionary, theatrical genius. An enigmatic and prolific creative force, Abdoh created an impressive body of stage spectacles known for their sensory overload, ferocious energy, and hallucinatory dreamscapes. With the generous, fierce, and fearless company members of Dar a Luz, Abdoh created experimental productions that were irreverent, rule-breaking, game-changing, and razor-sharp—and that have had a lasting influence on experimental theatre worldwide.

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