Recent Conferences


ATCA/New Orleans, March 25-29, 2015

Alan Smason sums up the conference and issues thanks.

Thank you all for a wonderful time in the Big Easy. As Conference Chair for our first-ever New Orleans Conference, I can attest that it took lots of planning to pull this thing off and I certainly hope you enjoyed yourselves. I am sorry for those of you that missed out on the past six days of fun and frivolity (and, oh yes, theatre too)… .

New Orleans conference logo: ATCA meets Tennessee

 For much more on ATCA/New Orleans, click here.


New York weekend conference

For some accounts of the Nov. 7-9, 2014 conference organized by Sherry Eaker and Ira Bilowit, click here.

Blythe DannerSherry Eaker


Barbara Bannon & Stefanie ZadravecCady Huffman


Tina Howe. Whean asked what she wanted from critics, she said, “illumination!” and opened the book in front of her.

Jay Handelman & Elizabeth Ashley






ATCA/Humana, April 2-6, 2014

Registration now open for ATCA’s 40th anniversary conference!

If you’d like to be persuaded to attend, click below. 
Otherwise, go right to these links:
Conference Registration and 
Galt House (Hotel) — or phone them at 800-626-1814.

Click to read more ...


July 17-21, 2013: Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, W.V.

Check out the new conference brochure (download pdf).

Five plays, panels, speakers, dinners, a host of historical sites and more, plus transport, etc.


 The venue: The theaters of Shepherd University.

 The dates: Wednesday, July 17 to Saturday, July 21, 2013.

Click to read more ...


ATCA to hold 2012 annual conference in Chicago

Download PDF Registration Packet

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) selected Chicago as the site of its 39th annual conference, June 13-17, 2012.

It was the fourth time Chicago hosted an ATCA conference, more than any other American city, and the first time since 2002. The conference host was Jonathan Abarbanel at

After Chicago, some members joined host Anne Siegel ( for a follow-up trip to Milwaukee, a relatively short drive from Chicago, for activities June 17-20. 

The Milwaukee trip included a visit to Ten Chimneys, the historic summer residence of theater legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and other noted theaters and sites.


ATCA in Ashland

The 2011 ATCA ANNUAL CONFERENCE was be at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, July 6-10: there  were eight plays to see (4 Shakespeare, 4 not), lively ATCA panels, companionship, a lovely small town full of good restaurants and the top-notch Ashland Springs Hotel, just a few minutes walk from the theaters.


ATCA conferences past

The 2011 ATCA Weekend Meeting (aka “Mini-Meeting”) was in New York City, Feb. 4-6. Here’s the registration form.


2010 Annual Conference, July 14-18, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Conn.

ATCA went back to its 1974 birthplace, “America’s premiere theater laboratory.” The O’Neill is a template for developmental programs for new plays, musicals and critics, with a rich roster of playwrights of national significance.

The conference included a side bus trip up the Connecticut River valley to the delicious Goodspeed Opera House (worth an article) for a revival of “Carnival!”

Our mornings were at the Radisson, starting with breakfast buffets and including ATCA meetings, panels, discussions and a Perspectives in Criticism. A panel on the new media was be at Monte Cristo, the O’Neill family cottage, famous from his plays (also worth an article). At the O’Neill, there was a panel of theater pros telling us what they think of theater criticism… 


SPRING, 2010: Humana Festival of New American Plays, Special Visitors (formerly Critics) Weekend

Actors Theatre of Louisville, March 25-28

Not an ATCA event, but many critics attend and ATCA annually annouces the Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn new play award winners. Click here to read some blog entries on the weekend just completed.


WINTER, 2010: Denver Mini-Meeting

Feb. 11-13, 2010

Colorado New Play Summit, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver, Colorado

Some ATCA members at the Denver conference: (left, in rear) Jim Steinberg; (left to right) Chris Jones, Christine Dolen, Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, Bill Hirschman, Chris Rawson, Jonathan Abarbanel, Lynn Rosen, Barry Gaines, Rick Pender and Brad Hathaway; (left to right, in front) Juliet Wittman (in red), Glenn Loney, Barbara Bannon, Judith Reynolds and Sylvie Drake.

ATCA blog about Denver>>

Details about the content of the CNPS>>



History of ATCA conferences

Each year ATCA holds both a weekend mini-meeting and a five or six day annual conference, with the ATCA members in the relevant cities playing lead roles in planning and organization. (In addition, there’s a tradition of occasional Critics’ Seminars.)

For many years the mini-meetings were regularly in New York in February, when many papers traditionally sent their critics to report on new Broadway openings — how the world has changed! Recently the mini-meetings have branched out, going to New York less regularly, and sometimes based there on a festival of new plays; in the other years, it has gone elsewhere or to other theater festivals, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Harriet Lake Festival of New Plays (at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival) or Humana Festival.

The main annual conference (aka convention) continues to be held in a national theater center other than New York, allowing ATCA members over time to develop an acquaintance with American theater geography. Many of these conferences have also had add-ons at near-by cities or festivals.

Whether the ATCA meetings in the early years (1974-77), at the O’Neill Theatre Center, where ATCA was founded, should properly be called annual conferences, is the sort of question pedants can debate. But it is without question that in subsequent years the annual conferences were held as follows:

1978 - Minneapolis/St. Paul
1979 - Chicago
1980 - San Francisco
1981 - Nashville
1982 - Washington, DC
1983 - San Diego
1984 - Providence, R.I. (including New Haven and Cambridge, Mass.)
1985 - Oregon Shakespeare Festival
1986 - Los Angeles
1987 - Stratford/Shaw Festivals, Canada
1988 - Houston
1989 - Atlanta
1990 - The Berkshires, Mass.
1991 - Chicago
1992 - Cleveland
1993 - Seattle
1994 - Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Conn.
1995 - Miami
1996 - Dallas/Ft. Worth
1997 - Salt Lake City/Utah Shakespeare Festival
1998 - Denver
1999 - Philadelphia
2000 - Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival
2001 - Oregon Shakespeare Festival
2002 - Chicago
2003 - St. Paul/Minneapolis
2004 - San Francisco
2005 - Los Angeles/National Critics Conference
2006 - Stratford/Shaw Festivals, Canada
2007 - Las Vegas
2008 - Washington, D.C./Arlington, Va.
2009 - Sarasota, Fla.
2010 - Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Waterford, Conn.
2011 - Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Oregon
2012 - Chicago
2013 - Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Shepherdstown, WV
2014 - Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival
2015 - New Orleans