The most current information about the 2023 Conference is now posted on Guidebook. It’s easy to download the app and have up to the minute current schedule, casting, and everything else you might want to know about this year’s event.
HOW THE CONFERENCE WORKS
Thinking about or planning on attending the Valdez 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. All sorts of useful information on this trip here.
STEP TWO: GET TO VALDEZ FROM ANCHORAGE
The lovely drive from Anchorage to Valdez is 306 miles (approximately six hours). The Conference Coordinator can also help try to connect you with other folks who might want to split a rental car.
There will be an Anchorage-Valdez shuttle bus from Airlink Shuttle and Tours. Buses will leave the Anchorage Airport’s Bus Plaza. The schedule:
Anchorage to Valdez
Friday, June 9, 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 10, 3:00 p.m.
Valdez to Anchorage
Sunday, June 17, 8:00 a.m.
Seats cost $100 each way and can be purchased here.
Ravn Alaska flies into Valdez 1-2 times per day, and it takes about 40 minutes, so it’s much quicker than driving. The Conference will shuttle participants from the airport to their accommodations.
Some people take the ferry to Valdez. Prices and times here.
For perspective on Valdez, here are some 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 have some free accommodations at our student housing which are used to host some of the Lab cast. Rooms are shared by multiple people, often strangers. The facilities 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 evening of Friday, June 10, checking out by the final Sunday. Any additional time would be negotiated directly with PWSC Housing.
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.
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, here’s a map for some perspective.
For more details about the Civic Center, visit their site.
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. A director will be provided unless the author prefers to direct their own reading. 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.
WHAT ABOUT GETTING OUTSIDE
Long-time participating playwright Tom Moran organizes hour-long hikes each morning of the Conference, and nature is right next to the Civic Center. The opening day orientation sessions will include Tom going over the local outdoor opportunities.
NO QUESTION IS TOO SMALL!
If you didn’t find what you needed to hear, e-mail Conference Coordinator.