The Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA) will host the 51st annual Georgia Theatre Conference (GTC) in Gainesville Oct. 14-18.
The conference, the annual gathering for Georgia's official theater organization, will draw about 2,000 participants to the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Gainesville Campus, Brenau University and Gainesville Square. GTA is a nationally acclaimed collaboration of UNG, Brenau, theater professionals and the north Georgia community.
"This is the first time in 10 years that GTA has hosted the conference," said Jim Hammond, head of UNG's Department of Theater and artistic and managing director of GTA. "We're excited to be able to offer up this year's theme as 'Go Pro,' borrowing the popular camera name to help conference attendees know that studying theater does translate into jobs."
In addition to high school students and their teachers, conference-goers will include college-level theater students and professors, theater professionals and novice enthusiasts.
The workshop line-up will include several panels of Atlanta-area performance and technical artists discussing their career paths, and there will be "pop up" interviews on a few small stages, where individual artists will share their education and career paths and answer questions.
The featured keynotes are Broadway actors (and husband and wife) Ray and Jodi Benson, of Hall County. Ray toured with the Broadway national tour of “Oklahoma!” and performed the Gene Kelly role in Broadway’s "Singin’ in the Rain", and Jodi was nominated for a Tony Award for originating the leading role in "Crazy for You," and is known internationally as the beloved, original voice of Ariel, Walt Disney’s "The Little Mermaid," and as the bubbly voice of Barbie in Disney/Pixar’s "Toy Story 2" and "Toy Story 3."
The Bensons, who are devoted to education, will meet with Georgia drama teachers during the conference and teach a master class.
In addition to workshops, the conference also offers the opportunity for attendees to perform and audition for the chance to represent Georgia at next spring's Southeastern Theatre Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Established in 1965, the Georgia Theatre Conference mission is to encourage and coordinate a close relationship among the community, educational and professional theaters in Georgia; to aid in maintaining the highest possible quality of live theater; and to promote and facilitate education in varied phases of theater. Membership is open to all individuals and groups.
"This presents a great opportunity for local business, as well as for the UNG theater department, to showcase what makes our community so dynamic," Hammond said.
The City of Gainesville is partnering with GTA to host the event, and will assist with hospitality coordination and sponsorship of a GTC Street Fest on the Gainesville Square on Friday evening, which will feature fire jugglers, roving magicians and live bands. For more information on the convention and the schedule of events, visit www.gtc2015.sched.org