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TDF's first online teacher workshop: "Directing Plays and Musicals in the School and Classroom" to be held virtually, July 13 - 17

Date: Jul 10, 2020


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TDF (the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts) invited educators to develop their directing skills this summer by enrolling in TDF Teacher Seminars and Professional Development Program’s first-ever virtual workshop titled Directing Plays and Musicals in the School and Classroom.  From July 13 – 17 twenty-six educators from New York City will participate is the one-week program led by award-winning director and TDF Teaching Artist Stephen DiMenna. The program is geared for those who teach grades K – 12.

“This workshop has previously been taught in person each summer, but with that being impossible this year due to the health crisis, we decided to move the course online,” said Victoria Bailey, TDF’s Executive Director. “By pivoting to have the class taught via Zoom, we’re thrilled that it sold out its 26 spots quickly and these teachers will have developed new skills for directing  when they return into their classrooms.” 

Participants will meet with Stephen DiMenna for two hours each day for a week via Zoom. Demonstrations, discussions and activities will happen online, and teachers will be given assignments to complete on their own and present the next day to the group via Zoom. It's different and new, but we have exciting things planned to explore the art of directing. Normally, the class would attend two Broadway shows during the week and discuss how they would develop it for their classroom. With theatres closed they will instead watch two filmed productions – Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau and Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of The King and I.

TDF hopes to provide teachers with the tools and experience to be able to direct and choreograph plays and musicals with their students for production within their school or classroom. The course goals include: developing the teacher's abilities to stage and direct school plays and musicals; develop and articulate a clear and specific directorial concept, style and approach to a performance event; demonstrate strategies and methods for teaching their own students how to direct and assistant direct student productions and scenes; and to use the knowledge and skills involved in directing to enhance their overall knowledge and understanding of theater making. 

Teachers will create production plans and directorial concepts, rehearsal schedules and strategies for staging and integrating the production process into their classroom curriculum. Teacher's will choose and analyze a theatrical text that is appropriate for their grade level, create a specific concept, style and approach to the text and articulate a directorial plan for a scene or musical number Teachers will learn various rehearsal activities including ensemble-building warm-ups, blocking demonstrations and text analysis designed to expand and enhance their own teaching practice. 

Stephen DiMenna is an Off Broadway and regional theatre director. He is the Artistic Director of The International Theatre Project, which uses theatre as a catalyst for education, self-discovery and empowerment for young people living in disenfranchised communities worldwide. He has been a senior teaching artist for TDF since 1996. He was the Artistic Director of The MCC Theatre Youth Company for 11 years. He was on the faculty of New York University's Program in Educational Theatre for 14 years. He was the director of The Hennepin County Home School Drama Project, where he conducted workshops with incarcerated juvenile felons in a detention facility in Minneapolis. He was the Co-Artistic Director of The Stargate Theatre Company, a program of Manhattan Theatre Club that works with court involved youth in NYC. He has directed over 60 productions Off-Broadway and around the country. He directs theatre workshops regularly for The Stratford Festival of Canada. He is a theatre facilitator for the NYC DOE and was a co-author of The Theatre Blueprint. He is the director of the high school theatre studio for Summer Arts Institute for the NYC Department of Education. He is a member of The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. For more information, visit

Founded in 1968, TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, dedicated to bringing the power of live performance to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. TDF fulfills its mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts. TDF is known for its theatregoing programs (including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and the TDF Membership program); Accessibility programs (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances), Education & Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually), as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research programs. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to