IMTAL 2008 Regional Conference
Raising The Curtain, Raising the Bar
Hosted by the Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY
September 5-7, 2008

Adam Luckey and Greg Hardison perform Jack and the Robbers

Conference Program: Click HERE.

Photo Gallery: Click HERE.

Session Notes (IMTAL Members Only): Click HERE.

Registrant List (IMTAL Members Only): Click HERE.

Testimonial from first-time attendee Laura Ayers: Click HERE.

Report From the Conference:

by Jillian Finkle, IMTAL Secretary

Report From the Conference:
by Jillian Finkle, IMTAL Secretary
IMTAL members from as far as Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, St. Louis and Cooperstown, NY gathered in the charming and friendly town of Frankfort, KY for the 2008 regional conference. A hearty thank you to Greg Hardison, Adam Luckey and the Kentucky Historical Society for hosting us and for your generous hospitality! (A special thank you to Greg for all of his hard work as the conference coordinator!)
The conference theme, “Raising the Curtain, Raising the Bar” directed much discussion to how museum theatre programs can fully and explicitly meet the missions of their respective institutions and integrate themselves completely into their organizations’ “core.” Examples included the scholarly annotation of scripts and the use of the collection and the gift shop as sources of inspiration. (See the session notes section for more details.)
Much discussion surrounded what seems like a trend towards the use of museum theatre and our growing need to establish standards of excellence, perhaps to coincide with AAM’s museum assessment program (MAP.)
The sessions presented topics such as outreach and the needs of our consumers with a panel including elementary school teachers, working with teens to write and produce plays on sensitive issues linking past to present and meeting state educational standards while fully engaging children as young as 2 and 3.
Over only two days participants witnessed five complete live performances and portions of several more, two full performances on video, and one program presented via videoconference! This included (click to see photos): 
Georgia Grown (Imagine It! Children’s Museum of Atlanta) 
Attendees were treated to authentic Kentucky meals such as the “hot brown” and tasted local wines with the folks at Capital Cellars. One dinner was spent in horse country, driving along “shady lane” past farms owned by movie stars and princes and thoroughly examining the Midway caboose as well as a fine dinner. (See photos in the conference photo gallery.)
Overall, the conference had the intimate feeling of a retreat as members were able to delve deeply into their questions, debate the direction of the field, offer their own challenges for discussion, learn about new valuable resources, and connect with colleagues that truly understand our needs and can relate with examples from their own experiences. Members also had the opportunity to share their suggestions about how IMTAL can better serve and involve its members and how we as an organization can reach the many, many folks we hear about that are using museum theatre but do not yet know about our network. (Click HERE to email us with your own ideas or to volunteer to help us out, and please remember to mention IMTAL to your colleagues!)
Everyone left asking when the next opportunity for this kind of exchange would occur.  We hope that we will see all of you for the AAM meeting in Philadelphia, PA in spring, 2008 and the next GLOBAL IMTAL conference in Monterey, CA in August, 2009

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