The 24th Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference is scheduled for June 12-18, 2016.
HOW THE CONFERENCE WORKS
Either thinking about or planning on attending the 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, your first step is to get to Anchorage, which has the only major airport in Alaska. We recommend Alaska Airlines, as they donate tickets to this event every year, but a number of different airlines fly to Anchorage.
Second, 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 approximately six hours. Our Ride Sharing and Other Requests page is a good place to look for someone to share a rental car with, or find other people who have space in their vehicles.
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. The town is rather small, with almost everything within walking distance. This will give you a perspective on where everything is in town. It labels the grocery store, student housing, and the local restaurants, which are excellent, but a little expensive. As one might expect from visiting a town that is remote by Alaskan standards, generally everything here is going to cost a little more than you’re used to.
WHERE TO RESIDE
Valdez is full of hotels and B&Bs for all price ranges, many of whom offer discounts to Conference participants. For full listings, visit www.valdezalaska.org. For a listing of places that support the Conference with donated rooms and offer discounts to participants, go to Available Discounts.
We provide very minimal free accommodations for those who need them in our student housing. To have enough room for everyone, rooms tend to be 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.
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 50 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, or at least an umbrella. Boots are a smart thing to bring.
Although the week is very casual, the culminating gala is a champagne reception followed by a sit down dinner. Fancy dress is appropriate (though not required).
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. The college is marker 2, the Civic Center is marker 8.
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 Coordinator casts the readings using a combination of Alaska actors and actors coming from outside the state. The actors have the scripts sent to them approximately a month before the Conference so that they can be familiar with them when they arrive.
All readings have a scheduled rehearsal with the cast and writer at the Civic Center, a day before the public reading. The playwright serves as the director, but if this makes a writer really nervous, 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, Dawson Moore
NO QUESTION IS TOO SMALL!
If you didn’t find what you needed to hear, e-mail Dawson Moore