Maine Educational Theatre Association and the Maine Department of Education are teaming up to offer a day of professional development workshops for theatre teachers in late April, hosted by the University of Maine in Orono, Dept. of Theatre. A full day of active workshops will be offered to help your work teaching theatre in the Middle School and High School classroom.


Postponed due to Covid-19

The 2020 Theatre Professional Development Day offers workshops in Physical Theatre from three leading practitioners in Maine.

Dana Wieluns Legawiec

A Rising Tide: Devising Brave New Worlds in the Drama (or Any) Classroom

Avner Eisenberg

Your Body Tells the Story: How to Connect with Others

Rene Johnson

Self Activism & Decolonizing: A Daily Movement Practice for non dancers

As theatre teachers and practitioners, we understand in our bones the power of our work – with its potential to forge identities, create relationships, spark movements and shape lives. How can we empower our students to carry their learning beyond the stage or studio, into the hallways and cafeterias, into their homes and communities? This movement-based, experiential workshop blends Theatre for Social Justice with Physical Theatre to engage participants in the experience of student-centered, student-led devised theatre. Participants will develop their own methodologies to “flip the script”: by elevating students’ voices and honoring their impulses and curiosities, we can create energized creative communities in the classroom and beyond.
What messages do our bodies unconsciously telegraph that interfere with our ability to connect with others?
Drawing from over 40 years experience as a comic performance artist and teacher, Avner will guide you in using easy-to-learn techniques to recognize, embrace, and enjoy rapport.
You will discover how to enhance your skill in communication and comfort in both social and professional situations, in making presentations and performing. You will learn techniques to ease your and your students' fears about public speaking.
My mission is to create a safe, welcoming, body positive environment where humans of all shapes, sizes, genders, ages, and varying physical abilities are transformed by the act of performing art and becoming self activists. Our body, can be a place where we are comfortable, a place of safety and security, where we can be ourselves and be creative. Our body can be something we open to other people. A place where we invite them inside to share with us, in both tangible and intangible ways.
In this workshop, we will explore the body as our neutral, our first tool in communication and how to invite people into this openness of safety and vulnerability — particularly through the collaboration of embodied equity tools, that guide us through becoming self activists against "White Terrorism (People Institute For Survival and Beyond). Your body is the tool with by which you use to share your poetry with the world. Physical self confidence means something different to each one of us. We will build personal and collective confidence through our creative expression, dialogue, and the physical body.
This workshop will get you moving while strengthening your positive expression of open channels for community dialogue and suggests options for change and community growth, focused on equity.
Each participant will hopefully leave the workshop with a better idea of themselves, their body, and their own self activists journey
Dance experience is not required for this fun workshop!

Dana Wieluns Legawiec

Dana Wieluns Legawiec (pronounced “Luh-GAHV-yetz”) is a professional Theatre Artist, Teaching Artist and Arts Educator who uses physical theatre to synergize joy, activate whimsy and elevate voices in rural Maine. She draws upon three decades’ experience working in ensemble theater to develop programs for children and youth that celebrate individuality within collaboration while fostering deep connections to place. She was named a Creative Community Fellow by National Arts Strategies in recognition of her work making theatre with children. She holds a BA from Princeton University, an M.Ed. in Arts in Education from Harvard, is a graduate of the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre, and is currently working toward certification in Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process, a facilitation framework designed to fuel creativity and foster constructive dialogue between artists and audience. She is a Teaching Artist with the Maine Arts Education Alliance and a member of the 2019-2020 Vision Team of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. She is co-Artistic Director of Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble, Artistic Associate with the Bath & Camden Shakespeare Festivals, Lecturer at the University of Southern Maine and a Visiting Artist at Colby College. After witnessing the transformational potential of the elementary school play, Dana is founding The School Play Project to design and implement extracurricular creative drama programs for elementary schools in the state and region, and to research and advocate for free, high-quality participatory creative theatre-making for children.

Special Guest: Avner Eisenberg

You might recognize Avner from his portrayal of the lovable holy man, the Jewel, in the Michael Douglas film, The Jewel of the Nile. Avner is an award-winning performer at international theater, comedy, and magic, and festivals. He teaches master classes in the U.S. and throughout the world. Avner was the first solo clown to play Broadway. He was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 2002. He played a ventriloquist in, Ghetto, on Broadway and his dummy was nominated for a Tony Award. Avner is a Board Certified Hypnotherapist and a certified trainer in Ericksonian Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

René Johnson

René Goddess Johnson is a queer, black, South African, woman, who has been navigating assimilation, white terrorism, and a temporary loss of self pride since arriving in Maine in 1991. Her areas of interest include the intersection of the arts in movements for social justice and racial equity. As an embodied equity consultant, she works closely with the public, with artists of many genres, with minority communities, youth, and nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Maine, to develop creative opportunities focused on inter organizational collaboration. These moments of coming together and creating art, is the common denominator that connects all of my work.


$20.00 for EdTA Professional members and Thespian Troupe Directors

$30.00 for non-Members

6 Contact Hours and Lunch will be provided.

Please register by clicking on the form at the bottom of the page


8:30-9:00 Arrival and Registration, Coffee

9:00-9:10 Opening and Welcome (Black Box Theatre)

9:10-10:25 Workshop Session 1

Rene Johnson (Black Box Theatre) & Dana Legawiec (Dance Studio)

10:25-10:35 Break

10:35-11:50 Workshop Session 2

Avner Eisenberg (Black Box Theatre) & Dana Legawiec (Dance Studio)

11:50-12:35 Lunch

12:35-1:50 Workshop Session 3

Avner Eisenberg (Black Box Theatre) & Rene Johnson (Dance Studio)

1:50-2:00 Break

2:00-3:30 Closing Session: Updating Maine Standards and Online Professional Development Tools (everyone together in Black Box Theatre)

Closing Session:

Updating Maine Standards

Beth Lambert and Jason Anderson from Maine Dept. of Education

will offer an overview of the ongoing work at DOE to review and update the Maine Learning Results for re-authorization by the Maine Legislature.

Online Professional Development: "Theatre Educator PRO"

Rick Osann, Maine EdTA, will introduce a new and powerful online professional development tool available to EdTA members