High Attendance at Florida Theatre Conference Festival Demonstrates Importance of the Arts

November 8, 2019 – With close to 3000 people expected to fill local hotels, this year’s Florida Theatre Conference Festival at Santa Fe College (SF) demonstrates the popularity of the arts in Florida and the positive contributions—including economic contributions—which the arts can make to their communities. Middle school students, high school students and adult thespians from throughout Florida will converge on the Northwest Campus Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 13-16, 2019, to immerse themselves in workshops, auditions, vendor displays, a college recruiting fair and performances by the touring company of Sarasota’s Asolo Repertory Theatre and other theatre groups.

Day passes are available each day of the festival and include admission to all conference activities except workshops. Passes are $10 and are available at the Florida Theatre Conference registration desk in the lobby of the Fine Arts Hall at the Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville.

Day passes for Wednesday, Nov. 13, include admission to the opening ceremony with the Asolo Repertory Theatre touring group’s condensed performance of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m.

Day passes for Saturday, Nov. 16, include admission to the college fair that runs from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and the awards ceremony that will close the festival beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Hall.

The theme of this year’s festival, “The Prom,” complements the romance of the star-crossed lovers in “Romeo and Juliet.” Workshops, photo opportunities and other events throughout the conference will relate to the Broadway musical comedy “The Prom,” which won the 2019 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and will begin a national tour in 2021.

“This is the ninth year that the festival has been held at Santa Fe College and it’s one of our highest-profile events for students who want to enroll here,” said SF Theatre Professor Terry Klenk, who is the site coordinator for the Florida Theatre Conference. “Because the festival is so large with such wide-ranging workshops, it attracts students to our music and dance programs and to other subject areas—not just theatre. Students like what they see on our campus and the ability to transfer from Santa Fe to the University of Florida is another big plus.”

Klenk has been involved with the Florida Theatre Conference for 20 years. He explained that this year, the Conference has a new executive director with a local connection—Steven H. Butler, a former professional performer who is the executive/artistic director of Actors’ Warehouse, Inc., winner of the City of Gainesville’s 2017 Business Arts Award.

Over 50 workshops on acting, singing and dancing will include such diverse subjects as improvisation, viewpoints, monologues, fight choreography, breaking into Hollywood, preparing professional resumes, interactions between directors and designers, how to audition and the future of creativity. An Inclusion Festival will focus on how to stage performances for people with physical challenges. There will be separate festival activities for middle school students, high school students and theatre for youth. Representatives of 52 colleges, including all major theatre programs in the Southeast, will be on hand for the college fair to audition students and to provide information about their programs.

The Florida Theatre Conference is an educational nonprofit organization founded in 1955 to celebrate the diversity of Florida theatre, to nurture cooperation and communication among theatre constituencies, to advance the highest possible theatre standards, to encourage public appreciation of theatre, and to strengthen and support individual theatre artists and theatrical organizations.

For more information, call Terry Klenk at 352-395-5092.