The mission of the International Museum Theatre Alliance is to inspire and support the use of theatre and theatrical technique to cultivate emotional connections, provoke action, and add public value to the museum experience. 

The Practical Magic of Museum Theatre
We Share, We Play, We Teach

2016 IMTAL Americas Conference
Denver, Colorado
August 26-30, 2016
Opening reception Friday evening, Aug. 26

sessions begin 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 27.

4 full days of sharing, playing, and teaching 

at some of the Denver area's top museums: 
Littleton Museum (conference host) 
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver Art Museum 
History Colorado Center 

Here's What's Happening:

Saturday Keynote & Workshop

Jeff Wirth

Jeff Wirth directs the Interactive PlayLab, with a mission of training, research and development, and prototyping of applied interactive performance. He wrote the book Interactive Acting, and has written and directed over 100 interactive performance experiences. Jeff has consulted for Blue Man Group, Disney Imagineering, and Cirque du Soleil. 

Saturday Performance & Workshop

Susan Marie Frontczak

Storysmith® Susan Marie Frontczak has given over 600 one-woman Living History presentations, performing original works as Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Clara Barton, and others, across the United States and abroad.  She has been teaching Living History to both youth and adults since 2004.

Tuesday Endnote

David B. Allison: 

Entertainment, Education, and the Power of Relationships in Museums

Author of Living History: Effective Costumed Interpretation and Enactment at Museums and Historic Sites

The following are scheduled to participate:


Jeff Wirth: The Co-Creative Audience

Audiences are no longer satisfied with observing. They want to engage, to explore, to impact. This workshop offers practical, field-tested techniques to engage audiences as co-creators in the interpretive process. Learn how to establish instant rapport, endow collaborative roles, integrate improvisation with interpretive material, and transform passive spectators into co-creative spect-actors.

Storysmith® Susan Marie Frontczak

Bringing Science to Life!: Biomechanics and Puppetry

Ilana Gustafson and staff of Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Learn How You Can Facilitate the Creation of Devised Theatre: A Process

Staff of Colonial Williamsburg


Children’s Museum Theatre: Purposeful Magic

Cindy Lou Edwards, Long Island Children’s Museum

Destination Solar System: Managing a Cosmic Scale Production

Mark Webb, Adler Planetarium

Reaching Goals: Assessing and Improving Programming for Children and Families

Aaron Bonds, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Benevolent Theft: Adopt, Adapt, Improve

Douglas Coler, Discovery Place Science

MTYVA: Engaging the Youngest Visitors

Roberta Gasbarre, Smithsonian Institution

Post Show 2.0

Todd Norris, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Enactor Overview

Jennifer Moss Logan, Denver Museum of Nature and Science


Art Emergency, CODE RED...

Staff of Denver Art Museum

Foxy & Schmoxy: Art Detectives

Staff of Denver Art Museum

A Visit with Madame Curie

Susan Marie Frontczak

Memory Kitchen, Sydney Sales, and Ditch Boss

Staff of History Colorado Center

Journey to Redemption

Staff of Colonial Williamsburg

So You Think You Can Fly

Staff of Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Astronaut on The Surface

Staff of Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Destination Solar System

Staff of Denver Museum of Nature and Science

2016 Jon Lipsky Award for Excellence in Playwrighting

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. 

This year's recipient 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.

Welcome our New Members of The Board of Directors

Membership Officer: Todd D. Norris

Todd has served in one term as Membership officer, and will continue for another two year term.

 Treasurer: Annie Johnson

Annie is Interpretive Programs Manager at The Minnesota History Center. This is her first time serving on the board.

Their terms commence in May, 2016. Congratulations! Welcome back, and welcome aboard.

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.

Tessa Bridal (Sunday Pre-Conference Workshop)

Exploring Museum Theatre

Effective Exhibit Interpretation and Design

Catherine Hughes (Monday session "Opening Doors")

Museum Theatre: Communicating with Visitors Through Drama

Greg Allen (Tuesday Keynote)

100 Neo-Futurists Plays: From Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes)

Michael Gellman (Tuesday Keynote, Thursday session "Process Theatre")

Process: An Improviser's Journey

Josh Sigal (Tuesday session "Class Act: Using Basic Theatre Techniques to Invigorate the Learning Experience"

The Viewpoints Book

Heather Barnes and Natalie Shipman (Tuesday sessions "Improv 101" and "Improv 202")

Improvisation for the Theatre (3rd Edition)

Theatre Games for Rehearsal: A Director's Handbook

Douglas Coler (Wednesday session "An Actor Walks Into an Exhibit...")

Speak With Distinction: The Classic Skinner Method to Speech on the Stage

Tara McGowan (Wednesday Session "Asian Picture Storytelling Performance in the Museum")

Kamishibai Man

The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies Through the Art of "Paper Theatre"

Natalie Shipman (Thursday session "White City...Then and Now)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

Stephanie Long
Director of Science Live Theatre
Science Museum of Minnesota
Howard Levine
Director of Digital Innovation & Creative Strategy 
and Director of the Milstein/Rosenthal Center for Media & Technology
92nd Street Y
Lauren Sivak
Education and Community Programs Coordinator
Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Upcoming Events

26 Aug 2016 (UTC-04:00) • Denver, Colorado


Performances and Gatherings

Join the Conversation

Just the FAQs

Download the IMTAL Information Brochure here

Read The Value of History from the History Relevance Campaign.

Visit Our Sister Sites

Site Search

c/o New England Museum Association
22 Mill Street, Ste 409
Arlington, MA 02476


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software