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.


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

Dana Wieluns Legawiec

Avner Eisenberg

Your Body Tells the Story: How to Connect with Others

Rene Johnson

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

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 Legaviec (Luh-GAHV-yetz) is a theatre practitioner specializing in Physical Theatre and new work. She has over two decades’ experience as an actor, director, movement coach, teaching artist and arts educator working in Los Angeles, New York, Maine and internationally. Dana is co-Artistic Director and Director of Training for Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble, Artistic Associate with the Bath and Camden Shakespeare Festivals, and an adjunct member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine. In 2019 she was named a Creative Community Fellow by National Arts Strategies in recognition of her work making theatre with children in rural communities.
Dana received her BA in English Literature and a Certificate in Theatre and Dance from Princeton University, and is a graduate of Harvard University and the Physical Theatre Training Program at the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theater.

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 using the Form below.


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

9:00-9:10 Opening and Welcome

9:10-10:25 Workshop Session 1

Two workshops each session

10:25-10:35 Break

10:35-11:50 Workshop Session 2

Two workshops each session

11:50-12:35 Lunch

12:35-1:50 Workshop Session 3

Two workshops each session

1:50-2:00 Break

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


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 in preparation 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

Other Presenters and Workshop Topics will be announced soon!