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June 27, 2023 @ 9:30 am - 3:30 pm



Perpich Center for Arts Education is excited to host an in-person one-day tech/design workshop for theater educators and directors in Brainerd, MN!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (see detailed schedule for the day below)

Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts
602 S 5th St, Brainerd, MN 56401, USA

CLOCK HOURS: Certificates will be given for 6 Clock Hours

K-12 and College/University Theater Educators, Directors, Tech Directors, Music Directors, Arts Educators, and others who work with educational theater or performing arts programs and would like to learn more about technical and design elements of the process

After a more than four-year hiatus, Backstage Center Stage is back – this time in a new location!


Join K-12/College/University theater educators, designers, and artists for an intensive workshop day combining hands-on training in technology and design skills, opportunities to expand your assessment and curriculum practices, conversations to spark your thinking about working in collaboration with designers, and an opportunity to ask the experts about any of the challenging tech/design questions you might have. Deepen your tech/design toolbox with practical tools you can apply in your classroom and theater spaces. Be inspired by the gorgeous facilities, equipment, and expertise of the technical directors and leadership at the Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts, as well as from theater educators, directors, tech directors, and administrators from the region. And of course, connect with other theater educators and directors from across the state!

9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Arrival and Check In
9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Transition to 1st Session Block
10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Session Block 1

Option A: SketchUp, Screw Gun, & Saw: Designing and Building a Set with Simple Tools
– Tim Catlett
Option B: How to Work With the Lighting Equipment You Have
– Mike Smith
Option C: Working with Technicians and Designers to Create the World of the Play
– Kristina Hess + Ryan Julien
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch, Vendor Fair, Tour of the Space
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Session Block 2
Option A: Rigging Systems – Tim Catlett
Option B: Advanced Lighting: DMX – Mike Smith
Option C: Costuming on a Shoestring Budget – Susan Nelson
1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Transition to 3rd Session Block/Break
2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Session Block 3
Option A: Safety in the Theater and Troubleshooting Q&A – Tim Catlett
Option B: Sound Systems 101 – Mike Smith
Option C: The BACKstage Exam: Measuring High School Tech Success – Dana Taylor
3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Final Reflection, Eval, and Wrap Up
Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts Hosts and Session Presenters:
Tim Catlett has made a career in non-profit theatre and theatre education. After spending many years in NYC  building new theater facilities, including the new Flea Theater in TriBeCa, and the new Bronx Music Hall, he is now the Performing Arts Facilities Manager for the Brainerd School District. He is also a certified HS Theater Educator (WI, CO, TX), and taught in those states for over 15 years. Bringing his knowledge and experience to helping teachers raise better theater students, and advocating for safer theater spaces and practices, has been a career-long passion.
Mike Smith has 20 years of experience in theatrical production ranging from professional productions to high school one act competitions. He started his career as a freelance lighting designer in Chicago where he worked with numerous storefront theater companies, several schools, and Columbia College. He spent a few years in Phoenix after receiving an offer to work with the Mesa Arts Center. Recently, he has been in Minnesota working with the Elk River and Brainerd school districts with their theater and community education programs.
Session Presenters also include:
Dana W. Taylor spent over 25 years teaching technical theatre at Mt. Vernon (Indiana) Senior High School Fine Arts Academy. He is a writer in technical theatre and served as a technical editor for “Dramatics Magazine,” “Teaching Theatre Journal,” and “Basic Drama Projects” 9th Edition. Dana received the Founders Award from the Educational Theatre Association in 2011. In 2014, he was the first high school educator to receive the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Education. A director of USITT, Dana’s working group created the BACKstage Exam.
Kristina Hess is the District Auditorium Theater Manager for District 728 (Elk River, Otsego, Rogers, Zimmerman), where she provides leadership and coordination for all aspects of 4 district theaters, including in-house staffing, production designs, liaison to rentals and student recruitment and involvement in newly developing theater programs. Kristina’s background includes 20+ years of working in technical theater and teaching high school students, as well as facility management. She holds a BA from St. Cloud State University and has taken coursework at Concordia University, St. Paul and the University of Minnesota.
Ryan Julien – Fine Arts Center Supervisor at Spring Lake Park Independent School District (bio coming soon!)
Susan Nelson is a teacher of CITS Instruction through the University of Minnesota, Duluth and an award winning stage director. She has a Masters of Theatre Arts from Regent University. Beside devoting her time to education, she has directed over 60 community, college and children’s plays and musicals. She also designs costumes, sets, and is an accomplished seamstress. After recently retiring from teaching theater and science at Hibbing High School, Susan now directs and runs the costume shop at Lyric Center for the Arts in Virginia, Minnesota, where she works as a rental house and consultant with educational, community, and professional theater companies across the state.
Backstage Center Stage is hosted by Dr. Stephanie Lein Walseth, Theater Education Specialist in Professional Development and Resource Programs at Perpich Center for Arts Education 
(More here:
Lunch and snacks will be provided – please note any dietary restrictions in the registration form.
This workshop is hosted by the Perpich Center for Arts Education Professional Development and Resource Programs team, and is FREE for participants. Upon completion, certificates for 6 Clock Hours will be available.
Please contact Theater Education Specialist, Stephanie Lein Walseth with any questions about the workshop:


June 27, 2023
9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Event Categories:


Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts
523 South 5th Street
Brainerd, 56401
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