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Wednesday
Dec302009

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