To post your news or news from your instituiton, please email the IMTAL Secretary or IMTAL Membership with the subject line "IMTAL Member News." A typical blurb is about 150 words, and non-copyrighted photos are especially appreciated! Your contributions will be posted on this page and may also be published in INSIGHTS.

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  • 15 Oct 2014 7:35 PM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)

    Recently, there have been some welcome stories in the mainstream press about museum theatre practice: Express published a short feature on The Congo Code at the Milwaukee County Zoo, (see, The Chicago Sun-Times had a notable blog entry from theatre critic Hedy Weiss about our recent IMTAL conference, (see ) and Indianapolis Fox 59 visited Conner Prairie to get a glimpse at the Headless Horseman! ( 

    Have you or your institution been featured in your local media recently? Let us know! Any story is great for the movement, and always helps you make your case when looking for senior management and financial support.

  • 06 Oct 2014 9:38 PM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)

    Several of our presenters in Chicago mentioned books that can help you and your institution get a better handle on museum theatre practices. Others in attendance were actually the authors of a couple of those books, and the following is a list of the available texts, along with a some of our recommendations. (Note that if you make a purchase through the links below, IMTAL will receive a small percentage as an Amazon Associate.)

    Tessa Bridal (Sunday Pre-Conference Workshop)

    Exploring Museum Theatre

    Effective Exhibit Interpretation and Design

    Catherine Hughes (Monday session "Opening Doors")

    Museum Theatre: Communicating with Visitors Through Drama

    Greg Allen (Tuesday Keynote)

    100 Neo-Futurists Plays: From Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes)

    Michael Gellman (Tuesday Keynote, Thursday session "Process Theatre")

    Process: An Improviser's Journey

    Josh Sigal (Tuesday session "Class Act: Using Basic Theatre Techniques to Invigorate the Learning Experience"

    The Viewpoints Book

    Heather Barnes and Natalie Shipman (Tuesday sessions "Improv 101" and "Improv 202")

    Improvisation for the Theatre (3rd Edition)

    Theatre Games for Rehearsal: A Director's Handbook

    Douglas Coler (Wednesday session "An Actor Walks Into an Exhibit...")

    Speak With Distinction: The Classic Skinner Method to Speech on the Stage

    Tara McGowan (Wednesday Session "Asian Picture Storytelling Performance in the Museum")

    Kamishibai Man

    The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies Through the Art of "Paper Theatre"

    Natalie Shipman (Thursday session "White City...Then and Now)

    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

  • 23 May 2014 8:54 PM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)
    Earlier this week, thousands of museum professionals descended upon Seattle, Washington for the 2014 American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo. Among the thousands were several members of IMTAL. At our board meeting we said goodbye to outgoing board members Heather Barnes and Elizabeth Keaney, and welcomed new members Todd D. Norris, Amber Davis Parham, and S. Xavier Carnegie (Elizabeth and Xavier in absentia...).

    Parties and excursions, early morning sessions and late night (re)caps, old friends, new friends, famous faces, and extraordinary hospitality (those volunteers were everywhere!) made for an enjoyable, exhausting, and memorable conference.

    At the Annual IMTAL Luncheon, the 2014 IMTY Award was presented to Betty Brewer and Rebecca Gilliam of Minnetrista in Muncie, IN.
    Rebecca Gilliam(c) accepts the 2014 IMTY from George Buss and IMTAL President Stephanie Long.

    The First Annual Jon Lipsky Playwrighting Award for Excellence in Museum Theatre was given to Addae Moon (at left, with VP Elizabeth Pickard)of the Atlanta History Center for his play 
    Four Days of Fury: Atlanta 1906.

    IMTAL was well represented at the conference. Catherine Hughes, Director of Interpretation at Conner Prairie Museum was a presenter for two sessions: A Model for Integrating STEM Activities and History, and "I Wish Somebody Had Told Me..."; Elizabeth Pickard (Missouri Historical Society) and George Buss (Minnetrista) provided situational improv for Working With You Is Killing Me.

    (L-R) Elizabeth Pickard, Douglas Coler, Todd D. Norris, Carla Bruton, Cat Chiappa

    Innovation Through Creation:The IMTAL Museum Theatre Showcase
    featured a quartet of diverse offerings from around the country, presented by Todd D. Norris (Children's Museum of Indianapolis), Carla Bruton (Museum of Science + Industry Chicago), Elizabeth Pickard (Missouri Historical Society), and Douglas Coler (Discovery Place Charlotte). The panel discussion was moderated by Cat Chiappa (Monterrey Bay Aquarium).

    The audience becomes owls at the behest of Glory the Gargoyle.

    Pickard's Gargoyle, Coler's Chef, Norris's Federal Marshall. That's former IMTAL Treasurer Simone Mortan assisting the chef by eating FIVE petri dishes of bacteria, mold, and fungus.

    photos courtesy of Judy Fort Brenneman and Amber Davis Parham
  • 19 May 2014 3:56 PM | Rebecca Colon (Administrator)

    The 2014 IMTAL Regional Conference will focus on the idea of how saying “yes” to museum theatre culture in your institution, can affirm your organization’s mission and vision.  Museum theatre has been successfully implemented to educate, entertain, and inspire museum guests.  The 2014 Regional Conference will gather a variety of performers, museum professionals, and museum theater supporters to discuss, present, and workshop ways in which we may actively promote museum theatre.

    We are currently accepting session proposals that include the following:

    • High audience participation and/or a strong interactive component
    • New ways of showcasing museum theatre principles (i.e. Cultivating  emotional connections, provoking action, and adding public value to the museum experience)
    • A focus on program development and the creative process
    • Artistic and creative conveyance of educational content through strong storylines.

    Session Types:

    • Showcase – A performance of museum theatre work followed by a discussion to provide a more in-depth understanding of the goals and objectives of the work, as well as the development process and production of the work. 
    • Preview – A performance of museum theatre work that is still in development followed by a feedback session with the audience.
    • Do It Yourself Session – A workshop session where session participants will work together to create a museum theatre piece.  The session will focus on one or more of the core principles of museum theatre.
    • Skills Workshop - Interactive sessions presented by an individual or a group focused on learning practical museum theatre skills, including but not limited to: prop, costume or set design, acting, script writing, directing or producing, fostering audience interaction, grant writing, and improv. 
    • Other – Please outline your session idea in the space provided in the RFP Template.

    We strongly encourage session participants to work with others in the museum theatre community on session proposals.  Resources can be found by visiting

    Please submit proposals by July 1, 2014 by visiting HERE.  All individuals who submit a proposal will be contacted by a conference representative from MSI by July 15, 2014. 

    Thank you!

  • 19 May 2014 3:55 PM | Rebecca Colon (Administrator)
    Conference registration for the 2014 IMTAL Regional Conference is now open.  Visit HERE to register!
  • 24 Mar 2014 12:30 PM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)
    Please join our immediate Past President, Jillian Finkle, as she conducts a free web conference entitled 'Connecting with Visitors through Performance', on Wednesday, March 26, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Eastern time.
    This event is sponsored by NEMA (The New England Museum Association). Jill will will share a variety of examples of live museum performance, discuss how these experiences create meaningful connections with visitors, and share best practices for program development and implementation.

    For more information and registration, please visit

  • 24 Feb 2014 6:19 PM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)
    Plinth is a digital magazine dedicated to promoting and highlighting innovative and educational programming within museums and cultural institutions. Plinth was created by Museum Force, an organization built to support and strengthen our museums and cultural institutions.
  • 17 Jan 2014 6:30 AM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)
    This just in from VP Elizabeth Pickard:
    Hey friends of IMTAL - two big deadlines are coming up. January 31, 2014 is the deadline to submit applications to participate in the IMTAL Showcase at AAM as well as the deadline to apply for the first ever Jon Lipsky award for museum theatre playwrights. Lipsky award guidelines are available at For the showcase, send the title, type of show, running time, technical needs, number of actors and a script or link to video. Both applications go to Elizabeth Pickard at You have til midnight central time on January 31st. Don't miss out.
  • 27 Nov 2013 6:00 AM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)
    Check out the latest IMTALAP Rap.

    Photos, an overview of the recent Global conference, the Come Alive 2013, checking in with member Janice Hayes, and much more!!

  • 26 Nov 2013 12:30 PM | Douglas Coler (Administrator)
    IMTAL Founder Catherine Hughes recently spoke with Carol Bossert, host of The Museum Life on VoiceAmerica. Set aside some time and give a listen!

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