The mission of the International Museum Theatre Alliance is to inspire and support the use of theatre and theatrical technique to cultivate emotional connections, provoke action, and add public value to the museum experience. 

Members: New issue of INSIGHTS has been posted. Please click on the INSIGHTS tab in the Members Only section.

 Our thanks to The Littleton Museum, The Denver Art Museum, History Colorado Center, and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the presenters and organizing committee, and of course, to the attendees. 

You are magical.


Vice President: Todd D. Norris, 

Children's Museum, Indianapolis

Publications Officer: Ilana Gustafson, 

Natural History Museum, Los Angeles

Secretary: Elysia Segal, 

New York Transit Museum

Their terms begin in May. Our thanks to outgoing Publications Officer Judy Fort Brenneman and Secretary Amber Parham for their dedicated service. We will hold a special election later in the year to select a new Membership Officer (the position that Mr. Norris vacates when he assumes the Vice Presidency.)

2017 Jon Lipsky Award for Excellence in Playwriting

In 2014, IMTAL established an annual award dedicated to the memory of playwright Jon Lipsky. Jon was Professor of Acting and Playwriting at Boston University’s School of Theater, and he created many wonderful short plays on science themes for Boston's Museum of Science.

The winner of the Lipsky award will have written the play that most exemplifies standards of excellence in Museum Theatre. Deadline for submissions was January 29, 2017. The award will be presented at The IMTAL luncheon during the American Alliance of Museums Conference and Expo in St. Louis in May.

Nominate The Ones Who Support Museum Theatre 

We're also accepting nominations for this year's IMTY Award, given annually to Senior Management who show outstanding support for museum theatre programming. See this page for details.

The recipient of the 2016 Jon Lipsky Award for Excellence in Playwriting is Chris Bresky of Chicago's Adler Planetarium for his play About a Door.

Mr. Bresky was presented with the award during the IMTAL luncheon on May 28 in Washington, D.C. 

We received more submissions this year than in previous years, and from a wider spectrum of institutions.

In fact, we had submissions from six distinct and well known institutions:

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum

The Milwaukee Zoological Society

Science Museum of Minnesota

Minnetrista Historic site

The Adler Planetarium

The Denver Art Museum.

Each script delivered a unique insight into the subject of the work, each presented a strong voice and a strong point of view.

Some were zany and comic, some were reflective and serious, one gave a firm nod to magical realism, one asked the audience to imagine a devastating side effect of mechanical failure, one presented a heartbreaking look at a friendship riven by racial misunderstanding.

We list these to underscore the breadth and depth of museum theatre, and acknowledge that if the reading committee been made up of a different set of members, the outcome would very likely be different. And that is the strength of this field: any of the submitted pieces is worthy of being honored for excellence in museum theatre.  Each of these is an outstanding example of something vitally important , that museum theatre is worth the investment in time, worth the investment in energy and sweat and tears. That theatre, far from being an afterthought, is in fact a critically important co-resident in the galleries and exhibit halls of our museums, the underwater avenues of our aquariums, the darkened domes of our planetariums, the animal scented pathways of our zoos. Very few exhibits, static or not, are as effective as those which have a supporting story to tell, a live connection to the ideas, the values, the uncomfortable truths, the resilience, the glory, and the wonder of the human spirit.

Build Your Library

(This post originally appeared on our blog. We've re-posted on the home page because if you make a purchase through the links below, IMTAL will receive a small percentage as an Amazon Associate.)

Several of our presenters at our 2014 Chicago conference mentioned books that can help you and your institution get a better handle on museum theatre practices. Others in attendance were actually the authors of a couple of those books, and the following is a list of the available texts, along with a some of our recommendations.

Tessa Bridal (Sunday Pre-Conference Workshop)

Exploring Museum Theatre

Effective Exhibit Interpretation and Design

Catherine Hughes (Monday session "Opening Doors")

Museum Theatre: Communicating with Visitors Through Drama

Greg Allen (Tuesday Keynote)

100 Neo-Futurists Plays: From Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes)

Michael Gellman (Tuesday Keynote, Thursday session "Process Theatre")

Process: An Improviser's Journey

Josh Sigal (Tuesday session "Class Act: Using Basic Theatre Techniques to Invigorate the Learning Experience"

The Viewpoints Book

Heather Barnes and Natalie Shipman (Tuesday sessions "Improv 101" and "Improv 202")

Improvisation for the Theatre (3rd Edition)

Theatre Games for Rehearsal: A Director's Handbook

Douglas Coler (Wednesday session "An Actor Walks Into an Exhibit...")

Speak With Distinction: The Classic Skinner Method to Speech on the Stage

Tara McGowan (Wednesday Session "Asian Picture Storytelling Performance in the Museum")

Kamishibai Man

The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies Through the Art of "Paper Theatre"

Natalie Shipman (Thursday session "White City...Then and Now)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

Upcoming Events

07 May 2017 • St. Louis, MO
07 May 2017 5:00 PM • St. Louis, MO
09 May 2017 12:00 PM • Marriott St. Louis Grand


Performances and Gatherings

Join the Conversation

Just the FAQs

Download the IMTAL Information Brochure here

Read The Value of History from the History Relevance Campaign.

Visit Our Sister Sites

Site Search

c/o New England Museum Association
22 Mill Street, Ste 409
Arlington, MA 02476


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software