October 5, 2016, 6:51 pm

Announcing a Call for VASTA Session Proposals for the 2017 ATHE Conference to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 3-6


Please note, the ATHE and VASTA conferences overlap in 2017—if you are unable to attend the 2017 VASTA Conference in Singapore, please consider joining VASTA @ ATHE in Las Vegas.


The deadline for proposals is November 1st, 2016, 11:59pm, Central Standard Time


For all details on how to submit a proposal and for the proposal submission form, use this link: http://www.athe.org/page/17_CFP


General Information from the ATHE website:                                                            


Spectacle: balancing education, theory, and praxis #ATHE2017OfBreadAndCircuses

In Poetics, Aristotle ranks spectacle last among his six constituent elements of drama, privileging the poetic over the visual, claiming that spectacle “stirs the emotions” yet “is less a matter of art than the others.” (GRUBE) In the millennia since, countless artists and scholars have championed the aesthetics of theatre and stood in defense of spectacle. Nevertheless, a bias persists.

The 2017 ATHE Conference Committee invites you to join us in Las Vegas, Nevada for an examination of the role of spectacle in theatre practice, scholarship, and pedagogy. What opportunities do an emphasis on spectacle present to us as artists, scholars, theorists, and educators? Does a spectacle-driven theatre lead us away from Aristotle’s aims, or do we find that enhanced spectacle serves to support and strengthen plot, character, thought, diction, and music? How have certain bodies been made spectacular? How does the use of spectacle highlight or obscure the politics of performance, representation, and staging? What ethical and political responsibilities must artists, scholars, and activists negotiate when employing spectacle in performance, design, scholarship, and/or dramaturgy?

What is ATHE?

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education is an organization that brings together educators from a wide variety of theatre disciplines (acting, movement, directing, musical theatre, history/criticism, etc.).  Each of these disciplines is represented by “Focus Groups,” of which VASTA is one. The ATHE conference (an annual event) offers you a great opportunity to reach out and share your work with colleagues from any, or all, of these other disciplines. 

  • For those of you seeking tenure or promotion: it is a wonderful opportunity for presenting research, pedagogy, experiential workshops, etc… that can be peer reviewed for your tenure file.
  • For those of you seeking employment in a higher education setting: it can provide an invaluable addition to your CV and to your professional network.
  • For those of you not involved with higher education: it can provide you with the opportunity to engage with other professional theatre artists from a variety of disciplines.


For the following Proposals, the Deadline is November 1st, 2016.


If you are seeking VASTA Focus Group Sponsorship, you MUST reach out to Conference Planner Kristi Dana (athe.planner@vasta.org) prior to submitting your proposal, and the VASTA Focus Group MUST communicate to you that they are willing to sponsor your proposal as a submission to ATHE. 


  • Workshops: Demonstrating practical, hands-on work.  Workshops usually have a minimum of three (3) presenters but can include more. These can be experiential or pedagogical in nature.
  • Paper Panels: A formal panel presenting papers/research exploring the facets of a single topic.
  • Panel Discussion/ Roundtable. A more informal discussion of a single topic with three to five participants. 
  • Multidisciplinary Panels: These can be any of the above formats, but must include multiple disciplines, such as VASTA and the acting focus group.  

Guidelines for Panel Presentations Here

  • Please contact Kristi Dana, VASTA Focus Group Conference Planner (athe.planner@vasta.org), if you plan to put together a Multidisciplinary Panel.  These panels must be sponsored by the focus group planners of at least one other Focus Group.  Each Focus Group conference planner must be contacted. 
  • If you have an idea for a multidisciplinary panel but don’t have a group assembled, let me know and I can help you to reach interested parties from other Focus and Groups. Look on the ATHE website to see a list of the Focus Groups. 
  • Note: The presenting group does not have to contain representatives from focus groups but must have the sponsorship of the two groups.


*For Debut Panels ONLY the submission process and deadline is different:


  • Debut Panels: We encourage First-Time ATHE Presenters who have short presentations to share, approximately 20 minutes, to share hands-on voice exercises and/or paper topics.  Please send your “proposed exercise to present” or paper abstract directly to Kristi Dana (athe.planner@vasta.org) no later than April 14th, 2016


  • NOTE: The DEBUT PANEL will accept submissions for “First-Time ATHE Presenters”.  You may still participate in this panel, even if you have already presented at conferences other than ATHE. Please let me know if either you or a colleague/professional in the field might be interested in presenting!  Keep in mind this is an opportunity for VASTA to feature presenters that might not present otherwise. I will begin recruiting right away so if you have any ideas, please forward those directly to me.




Application Process:

Application forms are all submitted online and go directly to the ATHE website. All applications MUST be submitted electronically.  The form for 2017 is now available here: http://www.athe.org/page/17_CFP


I will see the proposals only after they are submitted.  If you need to, please feel free to contact me to review or respond to your ideas before submitting your application. That way if someone else is submitting a similar proposal I can let you know and we can discuss ways to change or collaborate with other presenters to increase your chances of having your proposal accepted. 


Single person sessions will NOT be accepted, so if you are looking for someone to present with or have an idea but need a collaborator, the VASTAvox and the Facebook pages (VASTA, VASTA’s Voices and VASTA International Collaborations) are great resources, or feel free to email me to see if any other presenters are looking for co-presenters. You can also send out an email to Focus Group members by logging in on the ATHE site and then clicking “GROUPS” on the right hand side under “MY PROFILE.” Then, click the little tool icon next to the group you’d like to send an email to.


Important Application things to remember:

  • All application forms are available on the ATHE website: http://www.athe.org/page/17_CFP
  • Forms must be submitted electronically from the ATHE site no later that November 1st(*with the exception of Debut Panel).
  • When you complete your proposal, click “submit” and you will get a confirmation and recap of what you submitted.
  • Incomplete forms will not be accepted.
  • You will be notified by February 1, 2017 of the status of your proposal
  • *Consider collaborating with other presenters – you have a far better chance of being accepted.


How Does Ranking Work?

The number of panels available to any Focus Group is limited based on number of proposals submitted, number of rooms available at the conference site, types of proposals submitted, etc.  While there is no set formula for ranking, the goal is to include those presentations that best reflect the needs and interests of the given Focus or Network Group and ATHE Conference. 


As Conference Planner, I serve as a go-between and advocate for proposals in the submission process. If, for example, two panels are duplicating material and, in essence, canceling each other out, I will contact these panels to help them combine or re-direct.  Or, if several multidisciplinary panels are proposed, I might suggest that one of the panels be submitted through another Focus Group. The idea is to give each panel whatever advantage possible given the combination of proposals being submitted.


Answers to FAQs

  • All participants are required to register for the conference. You will know if your panel has been accepted by February 1, 2017.
  • Presenters are limited to two (2) appearances per conference.
  • Session Coordinator is the person who puts together the panel and organizes the participants.  Session Chair leads the panel itself at the conference.  These two jobs can be done by the same person.
  • Conference Grant requests are also due by Nov 1, 2016.
  • It is useful to find a way of phrasing your title so that it fits with the conference theme. 


Where Can I Get More Information?

  • If you have questions about the submission process or if you just want to talk through your ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me at athe.planner@vasta.org
  • All conference information is available on the ATHE website, www.athe.org.


 Summary of process:

  • Decide on a topic/panel idea
  • Get in touch with other colleagues who might be interested in participating on the panel with you via list serves, email, phone calls, etc.
  • If you would like to be considered as a multi-disciplinary panel, contact other Focus Groups to get sponsorship
  • Apply online by November 1, 2016 (*exception – Debut Panel)
  • Request AV equipment if you need it and apply for AV grants
  • Wait for February 1st to be notified of proposal status
  • Book your travel!


Many thanks! I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas in 2017!


Warmest regards,


Kristi Dana

Interim Head, MFA, Acting

Lecturer, Voice & Speech

Brooklyn College, CUNY


Miller Voice Method (mVm), Teaching Apprentice (2014-2016), 

mentored by Scott Miller, hosted in part at the 

Graduate Acting Program at NYU | Tisch School of the Arts 



Member, Voice and Speech Trainers Association

Officer, ATHE Conference Planner for VASTA, 2015-2017

Early Career Non-Voting Board Member, VASTA, 2016-2017

Posted by Kristi Dana at 6:51 pm