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Our thanks to The Littleton Museum, The Denver Art Museum, History Colorado Center, and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the presenters and organizing committee, and of course, to the attendees.
You are magical.
Nominate yourself or a willing colleague for a position on the IMTAL Board of Directors. Three positions are opening—Vice President, Secretary, and Publications Officer. Terms begin in May; officers are officially installed during the AAM IMTAL luncheon. Length of term for Secretary and Publications Officer is 2 years. Term for Vice President is 2 years, followed automatically by 2-year term as President and a final year as past- president. For job descriptions, see this page.
Call for Submissions: 2017 Jon Lipsky Award for Excellence in Playwriting
In 2014, IMTAL established an annual award dedicated to the memory of playwright Jon Lipsky. Jon was Professor of Acting and Playwriting at Boston University’s School of Theater, and he created many wonderful short plays on science themes for Boston's Museum of Science.
The winner of the Lipsky award will have written the play that most exemplifies standards of excellence in Museum Theatre. Deadline for submissions is January 29, 2017.
The recipient of the 2016 Jon Lipsky Award for Excellence in Playwriting is Chris Bresky of Chicago's Adler Planetarium for his play About a Door.
Mr. Bresky was presented with the award during the IMTAL luncheon on May 28 in Washington, D.C.
We received more submissions this year than in previous years, and from a wider spectrum of institutions.
In fact, we had submissions from six distinct and well known institutions:
The Indianapolis Children’s Museum
The Milwaukee Zoological Society
Science Museum of Minnesota
Minnetrista Historic site
The Adler Planetarium
The Denver Art Museum.
Each script delivered a unique insight into the subject of the work, each presented a strong voice and a strong point of view.
Some were zany and comic, some were reflective and serious, one gave a firm nod to magical realism, one asked the audience to imagine a devastating side effect of mechanical failure, one presented a heartbreaking look at a friendship riven by racial misunderstanding.
We list these to underscore the breadth and depth of museum theatre, and acknowledge that if the reading committee been made up of a different set of members, the outcome would very likely be different. And that is the strength of this field: any of the submitted pieces is worthy of being honored for excellence in museum theatre. Each of these is an outstanding example of something vitally important , that museum theatre is worth the investment in time, worth the investment in energy and sweat and tears. That theatre, far from being an afterthought, is in fact a critically important co-resident in the galleries and exhibit halls of our museums, the underwater avenues of our aquariums, the darkened domes of our planetariums, the animal scented pathways of our zoos. Very few exhibits, static or not, are as effective as those which have a supporting story to tell, a live connection to the ideas, the values, the uncomfortable truths, the resilience, the glory, and the wonder of the human spirit.
Build Your Library
(This post originally appeared on our blog. We've re-posted on the home page because if you make a purchase through the links below, IMTAL will receive a small percentage as an Amazon Associate.)
Several of our presenters at our 2014 Chicago conference mentioned books that can help you and your institution get a better handle on museum theatre practices. Others in attendance were actually the authors of a couple of those books, and the following is a list of the available texts, along with a some of our recommendations.
Catherine Hughes (Monday session "Opening Doors")
Greg Allen (Tuesday Keynote)
Michael Gellman (Tuesday Keynote, Thursday session "Process Theatre")
Josh Sigal (Tuesday session "Class Act: Using Basic Theatre Techniques to Invigorate the Learning Experience"
Heather Barnes and Natalie Shipman (Tuesday sessions "Improv 101" and "Improv 202")
Douglas Coler (Wednesday session "An Actor Walks Into an Exhibit...")
Tara McGowan (Wednesday Session "Asian Picture Storytelling Performance in the Museum")
Natalie Shipman (Thursday session "White City...Then and Now)