Spring Conference 2018 – On The Road


ctamOnTheRoadIf you can’t make it to the spring conference, we will bring the conference to you…or at least your region!  Everyone is so busy, work, rehearsals, kids, rehearsals, classes, rehearsals, meetings, rehearsals and we understand.  Although, we love to have everyone together in one place, we would really love to have more of our members and affiliate groups in attendance.

CTAM is going on the road for spring 2018! The conferences will be hosted by Kalamazoo Civic on April 13 – 15, Fenton Village Players on April 20 – 22, and Players de Noc in Escanaba May 4 – 6. Choose the conference closest to you or whichever one fits your schedule!

Michigan has incredible community theatres; take advantage of these networking and educational opportunities!  Keep watching our Facebook, Callboard and webpage for updates!

April 13 – 15: Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

Registration fees will cover workshops plus some additional events/programming – full details coming by Friday, March 16th.  Kalamazoo Civic is located at 329 S Park St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.  Hotel rooms will be available at Residence Inn @ 1500 E Kilgore Rd, Kalamazoo, MI 49001.  Rooms are available for $139 through March 23rd, after that there will be limited availability.  To book a room you must call them @ 269-349-0855 and specify CTAM Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.

April 20 – 22: Fenton Village Players

Registration includes a light breakfast at theatre, workshop fees, lunch, and a ticket to see Calendar Girls at FVP (Saturday @ 7 pm).  The Fenton Village Players is located at: 14197 Torrey Rd, Fenton, MI 48430  Please email: office@fentontheatre.org or call: (810) 750-7700 if you have any questions.  Hotel rooms can be reserved for $95 per room at Comfort Inn & Suites, which is located 5 minutes away at: 17800 Silver Pkwy, Fenton, MI 48430  Phone: (810) 714-7171.  Ask for the CTAM group rate and reserve by April 7th.  This also includes a continental breakfast.

Tentative Schedule, Saturday, April 21st:

9:00 – 9:30 am:  Registration
9:30 – 11:30 am:  Morning Workshop
11:30 am – 1:00 pm:  Lunch Break / Free Time
1:00 – 3:00 pm:  Afternoon Workshop
3:00 – 3:30 pm:  Wrap-up Session
3:30 – 6:30 pm:  Dinner Break / Free Time
*We are looking at scheduling a roundtable during one of the free time blocks.*
6:30 – 7:00 pm:  Get seated for FVP production of Calendar Girls


May 4 – 6: Players de Noc (Escanaba)

Registration includes a light refreshment at welcome mixer (Friday night @ 8 pm), full day of workshops (Saturday), 1 ticket to Dinner With Friends performance (Saturday @ 8 pm), refreshments at Afterglow (Saturday @ 10:30 following performance).  CTAM participants will receive a 10% discount on their room at the Terrace Bay Hotel by using the reservation code CTAMUP.  Book your room online or call 906-786-7554.  Go to www.terracebayhotel.com  Click: Book Now. Enter Dates of stay.  Click: Do you have a group code?  Enter: CTAMUP

Tentative Schedule, Saturday, May 5th:

9:00 – 9:30 am:  Registration
9:30 – 11:30 am:  Morning Workshop
11:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Roundtable Discussion – How can CTAM help you?
12:30 – 2:30 pm:  Lunch Break / Free Time
2:30 – 4:30 pm:  Afternoon Workshop
4:30 – 7:30 pm:  Dinner Break / Free Time
7:30 – 8:00 pm:  Get seated for Players de Noc production of Dinner With Friends
10:30 pm:  Afterglow Refreshments



Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard – with Ben Zylman

BenZ-actorNo one knows exactly who coined this well-worn phrase, but we can all attest to the sentiment!  During this fast-paced, action-packed workshop we will discuss acting technique in general, and the art of comedic acting more specifically.  Why is comedy so challenging?  Can anyone do it?  Can comedic timing be taught? These and many more topics will be addressed.  If you’re looking to develop your comedic acting skills, this is the workshop for you!

Ben Zylman is a multi-award winning actor and director whose career spans 40 years and 130 productions.  A veteran of stage, radio, television and film, he has worked with Jerry Seinfeld, Chita Rivera, Mayim Bialik, Renee Taylor, and Claire Bloom, as well as Grammy Award winning artists Meredith Arwady and Timothy Nordwind.  His training includes work with Paul Sills, the co-founder of The Second City.  Ben has conducted his well received acting workshop, which focuses on the art of comedic acting, at the local, state and regional levels.

Grant Writing 101 – with Betsy Willis

BetsyW-grantBy the end of Betsy’s all-day workshop, you will understand the basics of writing grants, how to pen a compelling story that tells your story in an emotional and factual way, and know how to approach grantors to find out the likelihood of receiving funding.  We will discuss:

  • How grants can increase your organization’s financial health
  • What you should consider before applying for a grant
  • Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs granting opportunities
  • The Cultural Data Project/Data Arts reporting and the important impact it can have for your organization
  • Grant language that will resonate with the reader
  • How to determine the appropriate request
  • How to look for available grants
  • How to build your grant budget

With over 15 years of theatrical management to her credit, Betsy Willis is one of the most highly regarded community theatre development directors in the state.  Betsy’s passion for fund development in general, and grant writing in particular, has led her to create corporate sponsorship programs, plan fundraising events and perhaps most importantly, to write grants.  With 95% of her grants being awarded, Betsy’s grant writing skills have helped to provide funding for special programs, operational expenses and capital campaigns.  In addition to her position as Development Director for the Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City, Willis has her own consulting business specializing in development, grant writing, and strategic planning.  She currently serves as a grant panel receiver for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and received her Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) in 2014.

The Art of Marketing – with Ben Zylman

BenZ-marketingNew media! Traditional media!  What’s the best, most effective way to reach patrons and volunteers?  It’s never been more important to have a clear, dynamic message and a marketing plan that is designed for maximum impact.  This informative workshop will provide insight into what it takes to market your theatre while examining some of the obstacles all of us must overcome.

Ben’s career in sales, management, marketing and development encompasses both the profit and non-profit sectors.  During his 16 year tenure as Director of Marketing and Development for the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Ben developed a Corporate Sponsorship Program, created a marketing strategy for all programs and productions and branded the organization in a meaningful way.

New (and Old!) Challenges in Lighting Design with Aaron Butler

In this workshop you will learn how to integrate new technologies in lighting design and equipment within the restraints of community theatre budgets.  We will also explore some methods for effectively communicating the capabilities of existing and emerging technologies to non-technical team members.  This will be a half-day workshop.

Aaron has designed lightning for many shows in many venues, most recently for Bay City Players (Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and All My Sons) and for their Stages of Discovery Youth Program, as well as for Pit and Balcony.  He attended Illinois State University and worked on many shows there. In real life, he is employed at WLNS/WLAJ Television in Lansing.

Props, Props and More Props! – with Michael Wilson

MichaelW-propsThis workshop will discuss common and uncommon prop needs and how to go about fulfilling them.  We will also look at challenging props and prop flops with discussion and show and tell. (Attendees are encouraged to bring their one challenging prop and/or flop.)  Michael will demonstrate how he built a typewriter from foam board for Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Michael is the Prop Master for Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and has been working with properties for over 20 years.  Before taking the reins of the props department at GRCT he spent 14 years as the Props Master for Opera Grand Rapids.  He has also propped many shows for Circle Theatre, Grand Valley State University and Saugatuck Center for the Arts.