The National Jewish Theater Foundation (NJTF) and NJTF President Arnold Mittelman are pleased to announce the successful completion of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation-sponsored Holocaust Theater Archive (HTA) Conference. The National Jewish Theater Foundation / Holocaust Theater Archive Conference took place in Miami in two sessions: May 15th – 16th and May 22nd – 23rd. The agenda was the same for both sessions, with different participants for each round. The conference encompassed a distinguished gathering of Holocaust scholars, theater practitioners, digital archivists and academicians from across the United States, engaged in a discourse regarding the future of this important initiative.
Conference participants included: Arnold Mittelman, President and Producing Artistic Director of the National Jewish Theater Foundation and founding Director of its Holocaust Theater Archive Initiative; Dr. Alvin Goldfarb, former President of Western Illinois University and published Holocaust Theater scholar; Dr. Michael Berenbuam, Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute at the American Jewish University and former Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM); Dr. Haim Shaked, Founding Director of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami; Dr. William Shulman, Professor Emeritus of History at the City University of New York and President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO); Kim Simon, Managing Director of the Shoah Foundation Institute at the University of Southern California; Dr. Jeffrey R. Solomon, President of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; Alan Berger, Professor of Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University; Teresa Eyring, Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group (TCG); Derek Goldman, Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center and Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University; Seth Kaufman, Principal of Whirl-i-Gig, a consulting and software development firm; Rebecca Rovit, Assistant Professor in the Theatre Department of the University of Kansas and published Holocaust Theater scholar; Brian Schriner, Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at Florida International University; Bret Werb, music researcher and curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; David Chack, President of the Association for Jewish Theatre; John Eisner, Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Lark Play Development Center in New York City; Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Education Chairperson at the Holocaust Memorial, Greater Miami Jewish Federation in Miami Beach, and head of Holocaust Education for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS); Dr. Oren Baruch Stier, Director of the Judaic Studies Program and Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Religious Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University; Susan Albert Loewenberg, Founder and Producing Director of Los Angeles Theatre Works; Dr. Gene Plunka, Professor of English at The University of Memphis and published Holocaust Theater scholar; Robert Skloot, former Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published Holocaust Theater scholar; Abbie Van Nostrand, Executive and Director of Marketing at the play publishing company Samuel French, Inc.; Dr. Lillian Manzor, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures and Director of the Cuban Theater Digital Archive at the University of Miami; Dr. Lyn MacCorkle, member of the Digital Initiatives Department at the University of Miami; Mitch Dabach, Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami Miller Center; Mira Hirsch, Founder and Artistic Director of Genesis Stage in Atlanta; and Phyllis Teicher Goldman and Nancy Schwartz Sternoff, Principals and Co-founders of the fundraising firm G&S Consultants, LLC.
The conference program was designed to examine the many integral elements that would generate structural soundness, continuity and integrity for creating a currently unavailable, albeit indispensible, Holocaust Theater Archive. The agenda for the event encompassed four primary components: (1) a lengthy discussion of the structure, design and content of the Holocaust Theater Archive’s digital database; (2) an in-depth discourse on the possible development of a physical repository to house artifacts and relevant documents (i.e. scripts, sketches, photographs, film footage, etc.); (3) a frank conversation regarding the future development of Holocaust Theater-related curricula in schools, complimentary study guides, and museum exhibits; and (4) the promotion of increased quality productions throughout the country and the development of new works that are commissioned or produced for new and, in particular, younger audiences. Substantive input was provided by all participants, a comprehensive blueprint was devised for the progression of this initiative moving forward, and all conference attendees concurred at its conclusion that the first Holocaust Theater Archive Conference was an all-around success.