HOW THE CONFERENCE WORKS
Thinking about or planning on attending the Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Conference? The following information is intended to answer a lot of questions about how things work. If you don’t find the answers you need here, don’t hesitate to e-mail the Conference Coordinator.
This guide includes:
- How to get to Valdez.
- Where to sleep.
- What to wear.
- How Play Lab readings work, and how to get involved as a reader.
HOW TO GET TO VALDEZ
STEP ONE: GET TO ANCHORAGE
If you’re coming from out-of-state, first you need to get to Anchorage, which has the only major airport in Alaska. Some adventuresome people drive all the way to Valdez on the Alcan Highway. Find all sorts of useful information on this trip at http://www.travelalaska.com.
STEP TWO: GET TO VALDEZ FROM ANCHORAGE
The lovely drive from Anchorage to Valdez is 306 miles, and takes five to six hours. Our Ride Sharing and Other Requests page is a good place to look for someone with space in their care or to share a rental car with, as is our Facebook page. The Conference Coordinator can also help with this.
Ravn Alaska flies into Valdez 2-3 times per day, and it takes about 40 minutes, so it’s much quicker than driving. Valdez U-Drive runs a shuttle service from the Valdez airport into town is available starting the day before we officially begin the Conference to take you to wherever you are staying in town. Valdez U-Drive also rents cars… while Valdez is a small, walkable town, having a car is a great convenience.
Some people take the ferry to Valdez. For prices and times, go to http://www.akferry.com.
For a map to give you perspective on Alaska and Valdez, go to http://www.valdezalaska.org/discover-valdez-maps-trails/valdez-alaska-road-maps.
STEP THREE: NOW I’M IN VALDEZ
WHAT’S THE TOWN LIKE
There are about four thousand residents, though that number can increase by several thousand during the summer months. Almost everything within walking distance. As one might expect from visiting a town that is remote by Alaskan standards, generally everything here is going to cost more than you’re used to.
WHERE TO RESIDE
Valdez has lots of hotels and B&Bs. For full listings, visit www.valdezalaska.org. We receive support from the Best Western, the Keystone Hotel, the Glacier Hotel, and the recently rebuilt Totem Inn, and would love for you to support the businesses that support us.
We provide very minimal free accommodations for those who need them in our student housing. To have enough room for everyone, rooms are shared by multiple people, often strangers. The facilities do have showers and kitchen facilities. For minimal additional charges, we have a limited number of beds and cots available, and linen sets as well. Alternately, bringing an air mattress or sleeping bag can make it much more comfortable. People are welcome to sleep there from the Friday preceding the Conference, checking out by the final Sunday. One can stay longer on either side of the event for an additional fee.
TO BE CLEAR: This housing is provided free of charge to make attending financially viable; people using it share tight communal living spaces with strangers. The price is right, but this is roughing it.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO WEAR
Weather in Valdez is highly variable, usually 40 to 75 degrees, so the key is layers. Be prepared to be bundled up, but able to get down to shorts and a t-shirt on short notice. Also, bring a raincoat, and an umbrella is a smart idea.
Although the week is very casual, the culminating gala is a champagne reception followed by a sit down dinner. Each year has a different theme that will be mailed out to the participants ahead of time. 2016 ‘s theme was Speakeasy; 2017 was Zombie Jamborie; 2018 was Masquerade.
WHERE DOES THE CONFERENCE TAKE PLACE?
Almost all events for the Conference happen at the Valdez Civic Center, located up the hill on Clifton Court Road. Again, check out the map at
http://www.valdezalaska.org/discover-valdez-maps-trails to get some perspective.
For more details about the Civic Center, visit their site at http://www.ci.valdez.ak.us/index.aspx?nid=69.
DOES IT EVER GET DARK THERE?
Yes. In the summer at about 2:00 a.m. it becomes dusk for a couple hours. If this is going to create sleeping problems, best bring a sleep mask.
MY PLAY IS BEING READ… WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
The Play Lab Coordinator casts the readings using a combination of actors from Alaska and ones coming from outside the state. They have the scripts sent to them about a month before the Conference so that they can be familiar with them when they arrive.
All readings have a single rehearsal a day before the public reading. The playwright usually serves as the director, but a director can be provided. There is a guide created by Marshall W. Mason on how to direct this reading available, here.
After your reading there is a response section from three panelists, and a period for audience feedback. The Conference endeavors to follow the development format created at the Circle Repertory Theatre Company, with feedback that neither coddles nor re-writes, but instead opens the writer up to new ways of understanding their play.
After the reading and critique session, there will be a private one-on-one discussion for the playwright with one of their panelists.
I WANT TO BE A READER IN THE PLAY LAB… WHAT DO I DO?
E-mail a photo and resume to the Conference Coordinator,
NO QUESTION IS TOO SMALL!
If you didn’t find what you needed to hear, e-mail Conference Coordinator.