Conference Schedule

SETC is working to complete the schedule for The 57th National Conference on Outdoor Theatre which will be held virtually Oct. 1 and 2, 2020.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, this year’s conference will be provided virtually at a reduced cost to attendees.

This year’s virtual conference will focus on practical solutions for the pressing issues that we are all facing during this time. Our live presentations will build robust discussions and reach for solutions that range from safely reopening a theatre in the midst of a pandemic, building equity, diversity, and inclusion in the performing arts, alternative performance options for outdoor theatre, and incorporating design in a virtual world. Of course, we will continue our informative roundtable discussions with a built-in happy hour.


Want to see the details from the schedule of last year’s event to see what types of programs and events are usually offered?

The 56th National Conference on Outdoor Theatre was hosted by The Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico, October 1-3, 2019.
The 2019 Conference was packed with roundtable discussions, networking events, tours of The Santa Fe Opera complex, and informative presentations including surprising new concepts in projection design/technology for outdoor performances, creating/presenting site specific theatre pieces and much more.

Last year’s conference programming was exceptional! Thank you to all who participated!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

  • 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM  |  Welcome & Dinner
    DoubleTree by Hilton Santa Fe
    Cash Bar
  • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM  |  Roll Call & Company Exchange
    Traditional sharing of successes and challenges from the past year
    DoubleTree by Hilton Santa Fe
    Facilitator:  John Tissue, Executive Director, Unto These Hills

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

  • 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM  |  Buzz & Brainstorm – An Un-Conference Conversation – Part I
    Looking for the next great idea?  Or want to chat up a problem? The National Conference on Outdoor Theatre will include participant driven buzz sessions where peer-to-peer sharing and learning, collaboration, and creativity will energize and intrigue.  From tried and true to something new, these provocative brainstorming sessions will send you home with fresh insight and inspiration.  During these sessions, participants will have the opportunity to introduce issues they want to talk about, making for a discussion and experience that is relevant to each professional and organization at the table.
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Facilitator:  Susie Prueter, Executive Director, SETC
  • 11:15 AM – 1:00 PM  |  Tour of The Santa Fe Opera Theatre Complex
    The Santa Fe Opera has now completed its 63rd season of operation in the open air Crosby Theatre. With every renovation and new construction project the company has made an effort to become more energy and water efficient and user-friendly.  This tour of the theatre complex will share the ideas and solutions the company has brought to fruition and the recently completed $38M renovations and improvements that are benefiting audience members, the theatre community and the environment.
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Tour Leaders: Paul Horpedahl, Production and Facilities Director and Chelsea Dennis, Production Stage Manager, The Santa Fe Opera
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM  |  Lunch
    The Santa Fe Opera 

    The two Wednesday afternoon sessions on Community Engagement and
    Communal Experiences
    are supported with a grant from the Paul Green Foundation
  • 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM  |  Developing New Work through Community Engagement
    This session will be a practical examination of the community engagement and impact of the new play “Night Witches.” Elena will discuss the opportunities that can be found in visible, creative labs for diverse artists and organizations to enhance connections beyond the play, and the innovative use of existing spaces as an opportunity to develop new work. We will explore how “Night Witches” culminated in an airplane hangar in the Piedmont River Valley and educated viewers on buried history and revealed the potential for what theatre could be to a rural community – a mirror for the physical prowess and presence of women. Attendees are encouraged to bring a seed of a story that excites them.
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Presenter:  Elena Kritter, Producer and Director of “Night Witches”
  • 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM  |  It Takes a Village:  An Exploration of Place-Making Theatre in Italy
    Trinacria Theatre Company is dedicated to creating theatre that stems from local folklore, mythology, and shared history, with a focus on rural communities in Sicily. Learn how one theatre company devises place-responsive experiences that rely on the “village” to re-frame Sicily as a site of pilgrimage for artistic inspiration and residency. Mariagrazia will explore how Trinacria makes use of limited local resources to generate adaptable, engaging, outside-the-box opportunities for new audiences and artists.
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Presenter:  Mariagrazia La Fauci, Artistic Director, Trinacria Theatre Company 
  • 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM  |  Reception, Dinner & Awards 
    The prestigious Mark R. Sumner Award will be presented to an individual who has made major contributions to the field of outdoor theatre. The Scott J. Parker Award will recognize an exceptional volunteer within The Santa Fe Opera outdoor theatre community.
    The Santa Fe Opera open air Crosby Theatre
    Welcome, Introductions, Presenters, TBA
  • 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM  |  Get Downtown Santa Fe
    Enjoy free time in Downtown Santa Fe, the oldest and highest (7,199 ft) state capital in the USA.
  • 9:30 PM – 11:00 PM  |  Late Night Hospitality
    Double Tree by Hilton Santa Fe
    Cash Bar

Thursday, October 3, 2019

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM  |  Buzz & Brainstorm – An Un-Conference Conversation – Part II
    Building upon Wednesday’s provocative roundtable discussions we will continue to explore a variety of operational and artistic opportunities and challenges that theatres are facing. The floor is yours!
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Facilitator: Susie Prueter, Executive Director, SETC
  • 10:15 AM – 11:30 AM  |  Projection Design for Outdoor Theatre
    Examine the use of projection as location information, atmospheric enhancement and just plain magical light. Types of performance applications will include dance, theatre and outdoor drama. The session will highlight the marriage of technology and design and show how projection media can be bold or subtle as the situation demands for outdoor theatre.
    Stieren Orchestra Hall, The Santa Fe Opera
    Presenters: David C. Harwell, Associate Professor and Theatre Program Director at The University of Alabama in Huntsville and
    Alexander Hillgartner, Projectionist at Unto These Hills
  • 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM  |  Learned Lessons From Hurricane Harvey on Emergency Preparedness
    Sponsored by USITT
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Learn how the Alley Theatre’s Neuhaus Stage recovered from 19 feet of water during Hurricane Harvey. Karin Rabe, Alley Theatre Properties Master, shares her story of being thrust into the world of disaster triage and recovery of props, theatre equipment and heritage items. Recently trained to be a Texas Heritage Responder with TX-CERA, Karin will cover the best practices for emergency preparation and recovery, including sharing specific tools to aid other organizations’ planning and preparedness in the case of a natural disaster.
    Presenter: Karin Rabe Vance, Properties Master, Alley Theatre
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM  |  Lunch
    The Santa Fe Opera
  • 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM  |  Tour of The Ranch and Rehearsal Facilities of The Santa Fe Opera Campus
    This tour of The Santa Fe Opera will explore The Ranch part of the campus that houses the rehearsal areas.
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Tour Leaders: Paul Horpedahl, Production and Facilities Director and Chelsea Dennis, Production Stage Manager, The Santa Fe Opera
  • 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM  |  Planning for the Audience Experience
    From the parking lot to the theatre seat, hear how the key Front-of-House staff at The Santa Fe Opera work to orchestrate and provide an enriched experience for audience members. Managing the audience experience includes everything from smooth transactions at the box office to navigating environmental factors such as weather emergencies and patrons with altitude sickness. Hear too how this staff works closely with the production facilities staff to create exceptional audience services.
    The Santa Fe Opera
    Presenter:   Julie Wheeler, Audience Services Director, The Santa Fe Opera
  • 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM  |  Meow Wolf
    We’ll enjoy creative inspiration by way of a tour of Meow Wolf, an immersive storytelling experience and exhibition which has interactive performance elements. “Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. This includes art installations, video and music production, and extended reality content.” Tour costs are covered within your conference registration fee.   
    Santa Fe
  • 7:30 PM  |  Closing Session:  Dinner, Reflection & Looking Forward
    DoubleTree by Hilton Santa Fe
    Cash Bar
    Facilitator: Susie Prueter, Executive Director, SETC


To view the previous 2018 and 2017 program schedules, see the links below.

To view the 2018 conference programming schedule, click here to see the PDF.
To view the 2017 conference programming schedule, click here to see the PDF.