National Community Theatre Managing Directors' Conference

At a glance

What: National Community Theatre Managing Directors' Conference

When: Sat, Nov 21-Tues, Nov 24

Where: The Lowell Center on the UW-Madison campus

Cost: $375, or $325 each for groups of 3+ until Nov 1. Then fee increases to $400 per person or $350 per person for groups or 3 or more.


Community theatre managing directors gather at UW-Madison to work together, share stories of challenges and solutions, learn about other theatre operations, and meet colleagues from across the country. This 4-day, biennial conference is held exclusively for individuals employed in an administrative or artistic position in a community theatre organization. Nonparticipating observers will be allowed to register if space permits.

Unique conference features

  • Learn of challenges and solutions faced by theatre directors just like you
  • Share your own expertise, resources, and stories
  • Collect copies of organizational materials from other theatres
  • Receive a detailed profile of each theatre represented at the conference
  • Compile and receive a “2013-2015 Hits and Misses” list
  • Make connections from around the country that you can rely on year-round
  • Spend 4 days on the beautiful UW-Madison campus, one block from scenic Lake Mendota and historic State Street with dozens of shops and restaurants
  • Return to your job feeling inspired and filled with new ideas!


Facilitator(s) guide the group through a managed but vibrant discussion of various topics including marketing strategies, fundraising challenges, staffing issues, outreach activities, and systems for selecting a season. All who wish to contribute may do so by asking questions, identifying specific problems, or providing other useful input.

As part of this professional development experience, all participants are invited to bring copies of their season brochures, staff handbooks, fundraising materials, organizational charts, and promotional materials to share with the group.  Bring or send many copies to share.

2015 Conference schedule

Saturday, Nov 21
5:00pm – 7:00pm Welcome Reception with cash bar (co-hosted by AACT)

Sunday, Nov 22
8:00am Orientation Breakfast
9:00am Morning Session
12:30pm Lunch buffet 
1:30pm Afternoon Session
5:30pm Dinner at The University Club
7:30pm Evening Session
10:00pm Adjourn for the day

Monday, Nov 23 
8:00am "Share Your Wares" Breakfast
9:00am Morning Session
12:30pm Lunch buffet 
1:30pm Afternoon Session
5:30pm Dinner on your own
7:30pm Evening Session with MTI Music Theatre International
10:00pm Adjourn for the day

Tuesday, Nov 24
8:00am Breakfast
9:00am Morning Session
11:30am Conference adjourns

2015 Housing & parking information

The Lowell Center on the UW-Madison campus serves as conference headquarters. The $375 conference fee ($325 each for groups of 3+) includes instruction, multiple handouts, administrative support, conference leadership, morning and afternoon coffee/soda breaks, two noon lunches, Sunday group dinner, and incidental conference expenses.

We have reserved a block of Standard Guest Rooms at Lowell Center with daily rates of $94.00/single, and $106.00/double (no room tax). Off-site parking a few blocks from the Lowell Center and daily breakfast are included in the price of the room reservation. Onsite parking may be reserved for an additional $10 per day. Please clearly indicate your preference for off-site or on-site parking upon registration.

The room block will be released to the public on October 23, so make your reservations early! Please note: Deluxe Guest Rooms are not part of the Directors Conference room block but may be available for $109 single occupancy and $121 double occupancy.

To reserve a room, call the Lowell Center (conference headquarters) at 1-866-301-1753 or reserve online. Whether registering online or calling, please note we are in the block reserved for the National Community Theatre Directors Conference; use the code DIREC. When it asks you to indicate how you heard about the Lowell Center, select Liberal Arts & Applied Studies.

Questions about this conference?

Contact Sarah Marty, 608-263-2790, or Tina Smith, 608-265-3517,

Final thoughts

Special thanks to the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Directors Conference Committee and Executive Director Julie Crawford for their continued support of this conference.

We hope to see you in November 2015!