Session Descriptions

Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
Official Education Sponsor
2022 Conference Host: Playhouse Square
2022 Conference Host

2022 Education Session Details

The League's National Conference Education Program includes 13 sessions on reopening, technology, diversity, and insurance along with important reopening best practices from around the nation, offering something for everyone.

Click on each speaker's name to read their full bio.

All sessions presented at The Idea Center® at Playhouse Square unless otherwise noted.

Updated 06.22.2022

Cleveland

Accessibility for Historic Theatres: A Guide to the ADAAG
Tools & Techniques: 3rd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
2:15 pm – 3:30 pm

In this session we will review the most recent requirements of the ADAAG including those related to wheelchair accommodations, the ambulatory handicapped, the hard of hearing, and the sight impaired. We will discuss the technical requirements and technological solutions as well as challenges specific to historic buildings and the case for making 'reasonable accommodations' when full compliance is impossible or cost prohibitive. We will also discuss ways to make your events more accessible, even if you don't plan to do a construction project. The structure of the session will be a technical overview followed by some examples from other historic projects. Then we will discuss what you can do right now operationally, and then we will cap it off with a Q&A.

Presenters:

Scott Cryer, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, HGA, Washington, D.C.
Alec Stoll, ASTC, Principal, Stages Consultants, Highland Park, NJ
Cleveland

Cincinnati Music Hall: Orchestrating Multiple Arts Programs into One Venue
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
11:30 am – 12:45 pm

The Cincinnati Music Hall has been restored and improved to support the needs of many diverse performing arts groups. CMH has very significant resident companies that operate in the same hall; working together, they improved their production quality, patron experience, and technical sophistication. Reopening in 2017, the venue is a wonderful example of intensive programming and discussions to elevate the needs, aspirations, and design of the renovated hall. The programmatic requirements for the Hall and the antiquated building and systems needed to be redefined to create a successful future for the performance groups, all within the context of the National Historic Landmark status. This session will bring together the Symphony’s operations manager, the architect, the theatre planner, and the acoustician to show how the needs were met and balanced throughout the project and how these aspects of a multi-purpose hall are pertinent to theatres of all sizes.

Presenters:

Michael DiBlasi, ASTC, Partner, Schuler Shook Theatre Planners, Minneapolis, MN
Gary Martinez, FAIA, Partner, OTJ Architects, Washington, D.C.
Paul Scarbrough, Principal, Akustiks, Norwalk, CT
Heather Stengle, Director of Operations, Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland

Creating a "Paranormal" Revenue Stream in a Rural Market
Tools & Techniques: 3rd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
2:15 pm – 3:30 pm

The Rohs Opera House is the oldest theater in Kentucky, originally built as a music hall in 1871. It had a history of being haunted. The current owners took that history and built a revenue stream around it that accounts for 20% of the theater's annual revenue. Featuring overnight ghost hunts, an annual walking tour, and a recently created "escape room" experience, "ghosts" at the Rohs are now generating a significant amount of our yearly revenue in a small, rural market. This presentation will walk participants through the lessons learned on how to leverage your local ghosts and stories into paid admissions and events. We'll share stories of "our ghosts" along with pictures, videos, and "EVP's" so participants can see firsthand what our customers have experienced on their "hunts." We'll talk about how we monetized and marketed these experiences but also have a time for shared experiences in the audience to contribute their own success stories.

Presenter:

James Smith, Co-Owner, Rohs Opera House, Cynthiana, KY
Cleveland

Creative Community Partnerships for FUNdraising and "Friend"raising
Tools & Techniques: 1st Segment
Monday, July 11, 2022
2:00 pm – 3:15 pm & Tools & Techniques: 3rd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
2:15 pm – 3:30 pm

How can you utilize relationships to create community partnerships that will help enhance your theatre’s mission and potentially grow your patron and donor base? Think about the leading organizations and groups within your community, like school districts, community colleges and universities, neighboring businesses, hospitals and more. How can your theatre be of service because of its unique strengths? How can you meet their needs? The Executive Directors of the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville and the Wallace Theater in Levelland, TX and will share their real-world strategies and success stories. Learn how to leverage your organization’s unique strengths, talents and programming to be a leader in your community to receive more donations and funding.

Presenters:

Becky Hancock, Executive Director, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, TN
Alycyn Keeling, Executive Director, Wallace Theater, Levelland, TX
Cleveland

Finding Post-COVID Normal in the Film World
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
11:30 am – 12:45 pm

The evolving landscape of film exhibition post-COVID has been a challenge on many fronts. From policy, to audiences, to film release schedule, we are seeing the need to evolve strategy, work with stakeholders in new ways and generally reignite excitement for moviegoing in new and innovative ways. This panel will explore the strategies of three different exhibitors navigating the world of showing films in this changing environment.

Presenter:

Barak Epstein, Operator, Texas Theatre, Dallas, TX
Stephanie Silverman, Executive Director, Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, TN
Jill Witecki, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL
Cleveland

Historic Theatre Renovation 101: A Framework for Planning Successful Projects
Early Bird Intensive Session
Sunday, July 11, 2022
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
at the Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square

Thinking about acquiring, restoring, and revitalizing a historic theatre? Already have one and need some help? This early-bird, in-depth session – featuring a team of leading experts in theatre planning, design, operation and tax credit financing – presents an overview of a historic theatre renovation project. Designed for historic theatre owners, community leaders, board members, senior staff and others who are considering, beginning or participating in the renovation of a historic theatre, this in-depth session will help you develop a clear understanding of your role in the process. Groups who want to renovate a historic theatre are encouraged to attend as a team.

Presenters:

Michael DiBlasi, ASTC, Partner, Schuler Shook Theatre Planners, Minneapolis, MN
Molly Fortune, Executive Director for the South Carolina American Revolution Sestercential Commission
Michael Schnoering, FAIA, Partner, Mills + Schnoering Architects, Princeton, NJ
Alec Stoll, ASTC, Principal, Stages Consultants, Highland Park, NJ (moderator)
Nick Wilkinson, Executive Director, The Tivoli Theatre Foundation, Chattanooga, TN
Cleveland

How to Manage Your Theatre’s Risk
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
9:45 am - 11:00 am

MDP Programs and National Trust Insurance Services administer the Historic Theatre Insurance Program designed for LHAT members. Kevin Sullivan will address the insurance coverages every theatre needs; whether just starting out or a fully operational organization. An overall discussion on what the different coverage options mean for a theatre will be provided as well as risk management tips. Ask the Expert Q&A session will follow where you can present your current insurance woes and have Kevin as a resource!

Presenter:

Kevin Sullivan, Client Executive, National Trust Insurance Services, Baltimore, MD
Cleveland

“I'm in a Glass Case of Emotion!" How the Movie Anchorman Inspired Us to Raise $35,000 in One Day with Facebook Live
Tools & Techniques: 1st Segment
Monday, July 11, 2022
11:15 am - 12:30 pm & 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

We are all looking for the next great fundraising idea. The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, IL utilized a day of giving by going live on Facebook every hour all day long with different guests and raised over $35,000. You'll see the cheesy news team commercial inspired by the movie Anchorman and the live Facebook segments they did. You'll learn how they used an iPad, two iPhones, and a free app to pull it all off with a very small staff. Most importantly, you'll learn how this idea allowed the theatre to share its non-profit mission, engage the board and volunteers, and ultimately be a very successful fundraising day. Walk away inspired and ready to try something similar back at your own theatre.

Presenters:

Jeanine Holcomb, Marketing & Communications Director, Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, IL
Alex Nerad, Executive Director, Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, IL
Cleveland

Making the Case for Investment in the Arts and Your Historic Theatre
Early Bird Session
Sunday, July 11, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
at the Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square

Arts advocates are made, not born. Your ability to articulate the social, educational, and economic value of your historic theater to government and community leaders is critical to your funding and local leadership. Take the mystery out of how to be an effective advocate in this lively session with national arts advocacy leader, Randy Cohen. Bring home the tools and strategies that will make you the knowledge resource that decision makers look to for years to come.

Presenter:

Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research, Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Cleveland

Marketing the Event Life Cycle: How to Sell More Tickets and Grow Your Audience Using Digital Strategies and the Conversion Funnel
Tools & Techniques: 1st Segment
Monday, July 11, 2022
11:15 am - 12:30 pm

You want to grow your audience and sell as many tickets as possible to your live events, but are you taking advantage of the natural ebbs and flows of an event life cycle? In this session, we will teach you basic strategies to understand the ad metrics that truly matter by examining the organic event sales cycle and the sales conversions funnel. We will discuss how you can apply these strategies to grow your audience, discover new individual donors, and sell more tickets – often without increasing your marketing budget. Session Takeaways: -Receive a clear understanding of the conversion funnel using real-world examples. -Discuss the organic stages of the event sales cycle and how these stages tie into marketing strategies, from the perspectives of both a consumer and marketer. -Discuss how sales data can inform data mining for cultivating donors. -Identify where customers are in the marketing funnel (top, middle, bottom) with appropriate marketing strategies for their location.

Presenters:

Aaron Bare, Chief Marketing Officer, Etix
Maddie Snider, Marketing Services Manager, Etix
Cleveland

Maximizing Sustainable Seating in Historic Venues: The Effects of Poor Seated Posture on Theatre Audiences
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
9:45 am - 11:00 am

On average, customers making up your theatre audience will be physically bigger now than when your venue was built. But is lower seat density and larger seats the only solution to a more comfortable audience, or should we be looking at how we sit in seats (whatever their size) rather than how many seats are in a venue? This interactive presentation covers: - physical and ergonomic factors causing people to sit badly - poor posture’s negative influence on physiological well-being and emotions - clinical findings - history of improving seated posture - ideas to sustainably improve seat comfort and customer satisfaction.

Presenter:

Ian Moore, Chief Executive Officer, NuBax Limited / Business Development Manager, Kirwin & Simpson Theatre Seating
Cleveland

Re-engaging Your Donor Audience Post-Pandemic
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
9:45 am - 11:00 am & 11:30 am – 12:45 pm

An interactive workshop to reflect on lessons learned from the pandemic and best practices moving forward. Join us as we take a deep dive into LHAT members experiences. Participants will walk away with a menu of findings and ideas. We encourage participants to come prepared to share their successes and challenges experienced during the pandemic.

Presenters:

Ricia Ballas, Vice President, The Compass Group, Dayton, OH
Elizabeth Weatherly, Vice President, The Compass Group, Knoxville, TN
Cleveland

Selling Nostalgia: How to Produce Moneymaking Repertory Film Programs
Tools & Techniques: 1st Segment
Monday, July 11, 2022
11:15 am - 12:30 pm & 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Whether it’s the shark from Jaws, the Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz, or those gooey xenomorphs from Aliens, audiences love the iconic movie moments that defined their childhoods. There is a real desire to go home again, to revisit the classics images that shaped their lives. Why? Some pictures are too big---and too good---to be seen on TV. They must be watched in a theatre in order to recapture the nostalgia associated with them and, no matter how great a home TV system may be, a cinematic spectacle is defined by spaces that can breathe…like gladiatorial arenas…and grand movie palaces. There’s a generation of potentially bankable movie lovers for your repertory film series, if you know how to produce one (or several). How do you book repertory films? How expensive is it? Which titles are proven moneymakers? You’ve likely asked yourself these questions if you’ve been going to the movies much since they started to talk---and scream---and astonish us in Technicolor, widescreen, and Dolby Sound. And you’ll learn these secrets in this fun and informative session that takes you through some of the greatest moments in movie history.

Presenter:

Jim Carl, Senior Director of Film Programming, Carolina Theatre of Durham, Durham, NC
Cleveland

Targeting Performing Arts Audiences in Rural, Blue-Collar America
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
11:30 am - 12:45 pm

Struthers Library Theatre (SLT) is in Warren, PA, a rural northwestern Pennsylvanian town in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest. The entire county consists of about 37,000 people, with the city's population totaling 9,191 citizens. Warren has long been known for its oil and timber and is mostly a blue-collar, working town. For decades, the people of Warren County considered the theatre as a place that provided entertainment only for "the rich." In the past few labor-intensive years, the theatre has reached out to several businesses in the area to sponsor shows and events it provides. With sponsorship backing, SLT can book quality performers at a price that is affordable to most Warren County citizens. Traditional means of marketing (newspaper, radio, and flyers) have been utilized to promote activities to the largest demographic (60-80+) in the Warren area, while newer marketing strategies include more online advertising through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram reach the younger generations. In-depth surveys have been and still are consistently utilized to determine what shows and genres would be most attended by Warren area audiences. Performers such as LeAnn Rimes, Winona Judd and Dwight Yoakam have all graced the stage at SLT for sold out performances. Struthers Library Theatre remains passionate about fulfilling its mission statement: Entertaining, enriching and educating the people of Warren County and the surrounding region in all the qualities and delights of live theatre, music, dance, and film.

Presenters:

Karen Austin, Executive Director, Struthers Library Theatre, Warren, PA
Eric Morelli, Marketing and Educational Director, Struthers Library Theatre, Warren, PA
Cleveland

That’s Not Our Fire Exit - It’s Our VIP Speakeasy! Using Your Theatre Spaces Differently than Intended to Drive Revenue and Advance Your Mission
Tools & Techniques: 2nd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
9:45 am - 11:00 am

Take a look inside the 1,250 seat Paramount Theatre in Austin to learn how its spaces have been activated to further engage donors through its history and mission. We are not just a ticketed show venue! This session will teach you creative ways to use the areas of your theatre differently. We are constantly striving to create new and exciting experiences for donors and patrons who have been in the building countless numbers of times, making them want to return again and again and discover something new as often as possible. We will cover the full scope of specific projects, from inception of idea and scoping the work and budget through execution. You will be surprised how areas of your theatre can be reimagined with a small budget to create big impact while also driving revenue and engaging donors. Your fire exit stairwell can convert to a “Hall of Legends”. The hidden alley/trash storage can become the VIP Garrison Brothers Bourbon Speakeasy. The historic stage can transform into a BBQ & Bourbon picnic, or a private dinner and film for two, or a museum area with archive materials from the past 105 years.

Presenter:

Sydney Barrosse, Associate Director Special Events, Paramount Theatre, Austin, TX
Maica Jordan, Chief Development Officer, Paramount Theatre, Austin, TX
Cleveland

The Best Seat in the House: The Tale of the Playhouse Square KeyBank State Theatre's Balcony Renovation
Tools & Techniques: 1st Segment
Monday, July 11, 2022
11:15 am - 12:30 pm
at the Keybank State Theatre

Presented at the 101-year-old KeyBank State Theatre, this is a collaborative, energetic discussion of renovations at Playhouse Square's Connor Palace Theatre and KeyBank State Theatre. Tom Einhouse, VP of Facilities and Capital at Playhouse Square, Christopher Loeser, Culture and Performing Arts Principal for DLR Group, and a representative of Turner Construction will join Irwin Seating specialists Fritz Owen and Alex McCallum for a behind the scenes look at the challenges and rewards of large-scale historic renovations. This conversation reunites the team that worked on the ambitious redesign of KeyBank State Theatre's balcony. Tom will provide the broad scope of Playhouse Square's vision and process for preservation and expansion projects. Chris will speak more specifically to the layout and overall coordination of the KeyBank State Theatre balcony and orchestra pit design, including seat aesthetics. Turner Construction will detail their management role which kept the project on schedule and within budget. Fritz and Alex will discuss sight lines and guest comfort. Attendees will experience the amazing results firsthand from key players in the restoration.

Presenters:

Tom Einhouse, VP of Facilities & Capital, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH
Brenda Gajkowski, Turner Construction, Cleveland, OH
Christopher Loeser, AIA, Culture and Performing Arts Principal, DLR Group, Cleveland, OH
Alex McCallum, Northeast Regional Sales Manager, Irwin Seating
Fritz Owen, Regional Sales Manager – Midwest, Irwin Seating
Rob Taras, Superintendent, Turner Construction
Cleveland

The Power of the Historic Theatre
Early Bird Session
Sunday, July 11, 2022
3:15 pm - 4:15 pm
at the Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square

Come join Ken Stein for a story about the small, historic theatre that outperformed its larger, newer competitors despite its smaller stage, cramped seats, tiny lobby and… well we all know about historic theatre bathrooms. In this inspiring true story, you will learn that most shows can play almost anywhere, but they are better when they play a historic stage. Learn how to refine your marketing and fundraising skills to sell more tickets, raise more donations, and have more fun because you don’t operate a theatre – you operate a historic theatre. There really is a difference and we can put a $ value on that difference. What is the value of your history? You might be pleasantly surprised!

Presenter:

Ken Stein, President & CEO, League of Historic American Theatres, Austin, TX
Cleveland

The Remarkable Journey of an Obscure, Dilapidated and Boarded Up Downtown Building to a Fully Restored 1851 Theater
Tools & Techniques: 3rd Segment
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
2:15 pm - 3:30 pm

The journey of the 1851 Woodward Opera House restoration project is a story of success and a story of transformation. The challenges were immense and required substantial community support, as well as resources, people, professionals, experts, and organizations from around the country. What are the transformational elements of success for the multi-million-dollar restoration of a historic structure and theater in a small town (population 16,000) in rural Ohio? This transformation required multiple cooperative partnerships, a dedicated core leadership team, education and edification, promotion and marketing, analysis and studies, engineering, and design, and even a change in the business cultural within the community. Hear how the Woodward team found their footing, defined the project’s importance to the community, state, and - yes - even the nation. See the depth of the team brought together to design the building upgrades, define the historicity of the project, and negotiate with SHPO, define the needs of contemporary art staging and performance in an historic theater, analyze and define the acoustic elements needed in every aspect of the design. Learn how the team moved forward with the work in the building incrementally using local match dollars for CDBG, environmental, and SAT grants, and finally with the overall restoration project funded with substantial local participation to match state funding, as well as federal and state historic tax credit funding to complete the final $22.1 million (hard+soft) theater restoration and renovation project. Each member of the panel will share from their perspective how they collaborated to develop a renovation design that respected the history and unique design elements of this historic performance space, found a way to transform this historic landmark in a way that supports contemporary performance space programming, provides an attractive venue for audience, promoters, and artists, as well as providing for a sustainable cost model.

Presenters:

Pat Crow, Project Manager & Founding Board Member, Woodward Development Corp., Mount Vernon, OH
Charissa Durst, Project Architect, Hardlines Design Company, Columbus, OH
David Kahn, President, Acoustic Distinctions, Stamford, CT
Cleveland

Those People: How a Historic Theater and Youth Arts Activists Transformed a Community
Tools & Techniques: 1st Segment
Monday, July 11,2022
11:15 am - 12:30 pm & 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

The historic 1400-seat Garde Arts Center in a small Northeast city struggled to serve a diverse and fragmented regional population as it transitioned from a standard robust performing arts center program to that of a civic gathering place, especially serving those who, by fear, prejudice, or distance, are often the least likely to be a typical theater audience. The murder in 2010 of a young white musician and chef by local black kids alarmed the typically progressive city’s leaders and further isolated the theater and the downtown from the region. Everything changed when, in response to the tragedy, the theater's role as a "community center" spurred the city's youth to take the lead by making the theater the host and home base of a New London Youth Talent Show. Over the past 11 years, the impact of that first youth-produced and presented sold-out event has healed and transformed the city and region, changing long-held racial, economic, and generational prejudices. The diverse youth of the Talent Show has saved and transformed lives, opened the doors of the theater even wider, and brought a State-wide appreciation and funding for the power of a historic theater committed to its community. In this presentation, the process of community engagement, especially with BIPOC youth, will be shared, along with the challenges and lessons still being learned about youth leadership and community activism through the arts, and how historic theaters can be agents of change in their own community. The presentation will include excerpts from the award-winning documentary film about the New London Talent Show, "Those People."

Presenters:

Curtis Goodwin, Director of Youth and Community Engagement, Garde Arts Center. New London, CT
Steve Sigel, Executive Director, Garde Arts Center. New London, CT