Home Programs Arts Midwest Conference Arts Midwest Conference Pitch Sessions Announced

Arts Midwest Conference Pitch Sessions Announced

Attendees will be excited to hear that we are hosting three of our popular pitch sessions this year at the Arts Midwest Conference. These fast-paced sessions give attendees an opportunity to share their most creative ideas with each other.

Each pitch session takes place in the Pitch and Professional Development Lounge, located inside Exhibit Hall D at the Minneapolis Convention Center. View the schedule overview.

AXIS Dance Company. Photo by David DeSilva.

Pitch and Perform

Thursday, September 5, 2019
2–2:30 p.m.
Pitch and Professional Development Lounge, Hall D

How would you use your time to pitch an upcoming project if you’ve only got three minutes, an open stage and a single microphone? Creativity required and actual performances are encouraged!

  • 8 exhibiting organizations will be selected to pitch and perform.
  • No tech is provided, other than a single wired microphone.
  • A maximum of 2 individuals may participate in each pitch.
  • Props and instruments are limited to what can be carried.
  • The allotted time does not include extra set-up or take down.

Empire Trio (formerly O Sole Trio) presents “Hooray for Hollywood”

Hooray for Hollywood features songs from some of the most iconic films from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the end of the 20th century, paying homage both to its timeless music and to the celebrated movie stars of the silver screen who performed them. Empire Trio consists of soprano Erin Shields, pianist/violinist David Shenton, both founding members of the former classical crossover ensemble, O Sole Trio, and its newest member, baritone Michael Kelly.
David Shenton, Showstopper Entertainment, New York, NY
Erin Shields, Showstopper Entertainment, New York, NY

Captivate Your Audience

Captivating your audience is crucial for success. Captivate Talent Group immerses audiences with superior entertainment through engaging and captivating performances. Let us help give your patrons performances that will create memories that will last a lifetime, and leave them asking for more.
Michele Filip, Captivate Talent Group, Nashville, TN

Sensory Processing 101: When your brain won’t cooperate, you have to get creative.

Sensory Processing Disorder, On the Spectrum, Autism… These buzz words and phrases are all the rage, but what is it like to actually have one of these processing disorders? Rhonda Badonda: The Adventures of a Girl with a Pain in Her Brain not only answers that question but is a compelling story of hope centered around a medical mystery. Rhonda Badonda is particularly relevant for theaters addressing disabilities and ADA. 70-Minute Dramedy Solo Show
Rhonda S. Musak, Writer & Performer – Rhonda Badonda: the Adventures of a Girl with a Pain in Her Brain, New York, NY

Collage Dance Collective: The Rise Project

Martin Luther King, Jr’s final “The Mountaintop” speech is the departure for Rise, a contemporary ballet that integrates King’s words with dance and original music. Up to 80 local youth can be involved. The production is taught through a week-long residency and performed with featured Collage artists. Above the usual artistic and educational expectations, with this project the art of dance fulfills new roles as raiser of cultural awareness, history teacher, and community builder.
Edward Schoelwer, Red Shell Mgmt , High Falls, NY

Family Friendly Shows for Audiences of All Ages

Enchanting audiences with family entertainment that will bring new audiences to your venue is at the heart of our company. Families can share a positive theatre experience in their hometown. Many of our shows reach out to the community and to diverse audiences with a wide arrange of entertainment and deliver a positive message. DCA Productions has been providing quality shows for over 30 years and love seeing generations of audience members at our shows.
Geraldine Abrahamsen, DCA Productions, New York, NY
Daniel Abrahamsen, DCA Productions, New York, NY

The Small Glories

PASTE MAGAZINE’S TOP 10 Folk Artists You Need to Know in 2019! Roots powerhouse duo THE SMALL GLORIES (https://sroartists.com/artists/the-small-glories) are Cara Luft (The Wailin’ Jennys) & JD Edwards, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian Prairies. Their material is welcoming in terms of subject, folk-pop melody and instrumentation — songs of love, loss, and environment, delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping clawhammer banjo, guitar and harmonica. Their live show is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, as finger-picking proficient as it is relatable, winning over audiences everywhere they play.
Cara Luft, The Small Glories, represented by SRO Artists, Inc., Middleton, WI
JD Edwards, The Small Glories, represented by SRO Artists, Inc., Middleton, WI

Black Market Trust – Gypsy Jazz / Three Part Vocals / Great American Songbook – You know you want this!

The Black Market Trust combines the sounds of great American crooners/vocal groups with the romantic Eastern European gypsy fire of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, creating a daring, fresh, and innovative synthesis of two different vibes, one – a gypsy campfire with music wafting through the air, the other – a slick metropolitan nightclub. This genre bending and blending quintet (2 guitars, violin, bass, drums) features virtuosic instrumentalists and impeccable vocal harmonies and lead vocals.
Craig Knudsen, Knudsen Productions, Berkeley, CA

“Alice in Californiland” headlines AXIS Dance Company’s triple bill “In-ter-twine”

AXIS Dance Company’s first international commission under Artistic Director Marc Brew, “Alice in Californiland” by UK-based Arthur Pita reacts to the realities of rampant displacement through the lens of Alice in Wonderland. A fearless storyteller, Pita’s disturbing, nightmarish story will sit in a kaleidoscopic world of harsh reality and psychedelic fantasy. Together with costume and stage designer Yann Seabra their work invites audiences to look deeper at social issues and question our culture and society.
Robin Anderson, AXIS Dance Company, Oakland, CA

MAGIC SHADOWS BY CATAPULT: The amazing and affordable family show – direct from Broadway!

Direct from a run at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway comes the amazing America’s Got Talent finalist founded by a former Pilobolus Creative Director to make shadow illusions fun for the whole family. This magical show is full of humor, emotion and engaging stories told through talented Catapult dancers who work behind a screen to create seemingly impossible dancing shadow images of shapes from the world around us.
Fran Heller, BiCoastal Productions, New York, NY

The Bergamot. Photo courtesy of The Bergamot.

Speed Leads

Friday, September 6, 2019
2–2:30 p.m.
Pitch and Professional Development Lounge, Hall D

Back by popular demand, Speed Leads offer both exhibitors and presenters a fun, fast-paced way to connect in a speed-dating setting.

  • A maximum of 12 exhibiting organizations and 48 presenting organization representatives may participate in each session.
  • Each session will be conducted round-robin style.
  • A maximum of two representatives from each exhibiting organization may participate in the “pitch.”
  • Each “pitch” will be two minutes long; at two minutes, exhibitors will rotate to the next table of presenters to give their pitch again, until each exhibiting organization has rotated to all of the tables.
  • Speed Lead sessions are designed as a streamlined pitch. Presenters should reserve any questions for one-on-one conversations at the exhibitor’s space in the Marketplace following the session.
  • Exhibitors are allowed to distribute business cards and/or a one-page 8 ½” x 11 (max.) flyer to presenters who are interested in more information.

In to America

A 75 minute theatrical drama that traces the American immigrant experience from Jamestown to present day through the stories of ordinary men, women and children who departed their homelands in the hopes of creating a new life. An extraordinary story 400 years in the making that transcends time, space and race to reflect the diversity and commonalities of our shared American experience. Production available for public performances and school matinee performances.
William Massolia, Griffin Theatre Company, Chicago, IL

Body Talk: A Dance Imagination of African American Playwrights

Award-winning choreographers draw inspiration from prominent works including Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro, Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls, August Wilson’s Fences, Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, and James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner. Designed for a variety of spaces, the multimedia work features live readings, audio interviews, news recordings & projected images to explore race, gender, spirituality & love. Includes a post-concert discussion with additional opportunities for college or community connections available.
Michelle VanHuss, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton, OH

Fish Fry

It’s Guys on Ice meets Chopped for A Night at the Opera. Fish Fry celebrates the beloved dining tradition with comedy, opera, and a secret recipe. Sal, known for her nearly legendary fish fry, announces a challenge, and the prize is her restaurant. Fish Fry features action, intrigue, unexpected romance, new lyrics for famous arias, eccentric tourists hunting a fabled giant muskie, and, yes, singing fish. From TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater and Fresco Opera Theatre.
Danielle Dresden, TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater, Madison, WI

Right in the Eye – Live Movie-Concert of Georges Méliès’ Films

The Movie-Concert Right in the Eye offers a contemporary poetic and playful rendition of Georges Méliès’ universes performed by 3 live musicians in symbiose with the image. With a multitude of instruments and an original orchestration, they bring a new life to the fantasy and genius of the father of French cinema and specials effects. An original multi-disciplinary show that reimagines the early years of cinema, for all audiences and young audiences.
Alexandra Kotis, Alcoléa & cie, New York, NY
Jean-François Alcoléa, Alcoléa & cie, Poitiers, France

Magic & Mystery

With “Magic & Mystery” audiences experience a miraculous world of magic, mind reading, and hypnosis from world class ‘Astonishment Artist’ Mat LaVore. “Magic & Mystery” showcases 90-minutes of the most spellbinding and revolutionary magic and hypnosis ever performed on stage. Theatergoers will witness LaVore swallow needles, hypnotize people to forget their own names, and even predict the future in this amazing medley of mystery arts guaranteed to leave even the most discerning audiences astonished.
Amanda LaVore, Mystery Arts LLC, Indianapolis, IN
Mat Lavore, Mystery Arts LLC, Indianapolis, IN

The Naghash Ensemble: Songs of Exile

The Naghash Ensemble combines medieval Armenian folk styles with contemporary post-minimalism and rock-style energy in their show “Songs of Exile”, a profound meditation on spirituality and the loss of homeland. Timeless beauty, created by 3 female vocalists and traditional Armenian instruments, meets the urgently timely subject matter of belonging and exile. Songs of Exile is new to the USA following overwhelming success in France in venues from churches to concert halls to outdoor rock festivals.
Barbara Scales, Latitude 45 Arts International, Montreal, Canada

Let us Grow Your Audience Together!

Best known for one-man shows based on classic literature and his family friendly mentalism, Kane, a graduate of APAP’s Leadership Fellows Program, creates performances that welcome new audiences to arts centers through creative marketing and community engagement. This year, Kane is developing three initiatives combining a faith-based focus and social justice agenda with highly interactive play, offering a wide array of residency and outreach opportunities: The Golem; The Eulogy Project; and H.G. Wells’ Time Machine.
Joshua Kane, Joshua Kane/Wild Baboo Productions, New York, NY

EPIC Acts for Midsize Presenters

Ready to wow your audiences without breaking the bank? EPIC Arts Management features a curated roster perfectly suited to small (budgets less than $5K per show) and midsize (budgets $5K to $12K) presenters. From Classic/Contemporary musical tributes (“Here Comes the Sun,” “Shades of Buble,” Chicago-based Four Seasons act “The Four C Notes”) to Vintage (“America’s Sweethearts,” “Side By Side”) and even Jazz/Americana (“The Judy Carmichael Trio”), EPIC’s exciting selection of shows create standing ovations nationwide!
Ron DeStefano, EPIC Arts Management, New York, NY

NYC indie-folk-rock musicians The Bergamot present: The American Song

In 2016 during a volatile political year The Bergamot packed up their belongings into ‘The Unity Car’ and performed shows in all 50 states to show the world that we are more united than divided through music, community and collaboration. This Americana performance take’s the audience along on their 50,000 mile journey in search of peace and unity through intimate songwriting, personal storytelling in a captivating and uplifting performance.
Jillian Speece, The Bergamot, represented by Fusion Talent Group, Brooklyn, NY

Those Were The Days™ starring William Florian

Former member of the famous 60’s group… The New Christy Minstrels. Songs – stories – humor. Americas most loved folk and pop songs of the 60’s and 70s, including hit songs he performed with The New Christy Minstrels. Music of Peter Paul & Mary, Pete Seeger, Neil Diamond, John Denver, and more. Uplifting originals and amusing stories in a wonderful intimate show. Also available: ‘The John Denver Story’ and ‘The Neil Diamond Story’.
William Florian, Producers, Inc., Tampa, FL

Photo courtesy of Compass Creative Dramatics.

Residency Showcases

Saturday, September 7
11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Pitch and Professional Development Lounge, Hall D

The typical 15-minute performance showcase doesn’t work for everyone, especially for artists who prioritize residencies and other work in the community during engagements with performing arts centers. Tour-ready artists and ensembles with fresh, new, and innovative approaches to residencies are encouraged to submit!

  • Pitch slots are 5-minutes and may be tailored as necessary to explain and/or demonstrate residency opportunities
  • No tech is provided, other than a single wired microphone.
  • A maximum of 2 individuals may participate in each slot.


No matter where we go in the world, we can find connections and shared values with ‘family’ we haven’t met yet. This improbable memory-filled public art event is created with the family of-the-moment in and around a 1962 Airstream Safari trailer. Sharing the legends that make a family, TRAILER TALES creates an experience that gathers stories, whether just for a day, or a weekend. Haiku, bubbles, and family pictures included.
Llysa Holland, theater simple, Seattle, WA

Monica Bill Barnes & Company – THE RUNNING SHOW

A 7-year-old falls in love with dance. 40 years later, she works daily to stay in the game. At 70 she keeps moving. The Running Show documents the life of a dancer featuring a large cast of local performers ranging in age between 12 and 84. Dancers will join Monica Bill Barnes on stage, in an unprecedented look into the life of a dancer as a kind of sports hero, who keeps moving despite everything.
Laura Colby, Elsie Management , Brooklyn, NY

Telling Your Own Story – Residency Projects from David Gonzalez

David leads incredible workshops in storytelling, poetry, creative writing, and leadership for learners of all ages. Recent residencies brought him to work with student and teachers in classrooms in Portland, Maine, facilitate Latino Leadership training in Palm Desert California, engage with seniors in a poetry workshop in East Lansing, Michigan and outreach activities at a care facility for persons with Alzheimers and Dementia in Edmonds, Washington.
Sarah Saltwick, Holden & Arts Associates, Austin, TX

Mobilizing Your Community

This residency brings community residents together, working side-by-side, to conceive and create hundreds of colorful pieces. These pieces then connect into a spectacular public art installation of colorful moving sculptures. After the mobiles have soared together in a public space, they are given back to the community and reinstalled at businesses, senior centers, hospitals and schools. The community is filled with the joyful, tangible reminders of many parts coming together to make an inspiring new whole.
Kevin Reese, SchoolSculptures, Washington, DC

No need to create – Just facilitate! (Week-long theatre residencies for students PreK- 12)

Compass Creative Dramatics is a Chicago-based touring youth theatre specializing in a variety week-long theatre experiences that stretch kids’ creativity and bravery muscles. Our flagship program takes students from auditions to performance in just 5 days! We team up with organizations who want to offer theatre camps, after-school classes, and in-school residencies. We provide all the creative and educational resources needed including two professional teaching artists, so Presenters don’t have to create anything – just facilitate!
Cassandra Quinn, Compass Creative Dramatics, Chicago, IL

Alcoléa & cie. Photo by Elodie Lebrun.