Southeastern Theatre Conference Convention expected to draw 4,000

Southeastern Theatre Conference Convention expected to draw 4,000

March 2nd, 2012 by Clint Cooper in Life Entertainment


* What: Southeastern Theatre Conference Convention.

* When: 4 p.m. Wednesday-noon March 11.

* Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.

* Admission: Various prices (free to $20) for public events; conference registration also available.

* Phone: 336-272-3645.

* Website:

Renowned stage designers Tony Walton and Richard Pilbrow, Tony Award-winning actor Roger Robinson, more than 350 workshops and five theater festivals are among all that is to be had at the 63rd annual Southeastern Theatre Conference. The five-day convention starts Wednesday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The convention is expected to draw more than 4,000 participants and have an estimated economic impact of $2,197,800, according to the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"There is an enormous amount of positive energy and excitement that hits you as you walk in the door," said Judi Rossabi, communications/marketing manager of the Southeastern Theatre Conference. "It's also a big networking opportunity [for theater professionals]."

Among the local participants are the Choo Choo Kids of Chattanooga High School for Creative Arts; actress Kate Forbes Dallimore of The Muse of Fire Project; Rodney Van Valkenburg of Allied Arts of Chattanooga; Tenika Dye of The Salvation Army and its Recreate Café; Brother Ron Fender of the Community Kitchen; hammer dulcimer players Christie Burns and Lisa Ferguson; and big-band musicians Sweet Georgia Sound.

Anyone is welcome to register and attend the convention - it's $270 for individuals, $210 for seniors and $195 for students - but there are specific activities open to the public, according to Rossabi.

Those activities include the High School Theatre Festival on Thursday and March 9 at the Tivoli Theatre, the Theatre for Youth Invitational Festival on Thursday at the Chattanooga Marriott Plaza Ballroom and the Community Theatre Festival at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre Thursday through March 10.

Tickets are available to the 19-play High School Theatre Festival at $20 for a block of five shows. Attendance at the Theatre for Youth Invitational Festival is free. Ticket blocks for two plays in the 10-play Community Theatre Festival are $10.

A teachers institute on Wednesday at the Sheraton Read House is also available, and registration is still available online or may be done at the door. The cost, including lunch, is $65. Continuing-education credits are available.

Online registration is closed for the overall convention, but interested participants may still download and fill out a registration form and bring it to the door.

This is the fourth year the Scenic City has hosted the convention, having first hosted it in 1960 and most recently in 2008.