WORKS     Residencies, Workshops, Retreats, Professional Development, Book

Play! Play! Play! - Abbie Gregson (artist and stay at home mother of four, said to us when we were children as she opened up the door to have us run outside)
Nonsense always wakes me up - Dr Seuss

Gregson Theater Workshops (1-3 days & 2-6 hours a day)

Gregson Theater Workshops are tailored to the individual goals of the participants. Barbara gives workshops to theater professionals from advanced to beginning theater students in colleges and high schools. Barbara L. Gregson brings her theater workshops to correctional facilities schools, senior centers, and community centers, meeting halls, corporations and theaters across the country.

These workshops can include a combination of two theater arts practices or we can focus on one depending on the length of the workshop, place and needs of the participants. 

Gregson Theater Workshops can include one or two different theater arts subjects listed below depending on the length of the workshop and interest and goals of the participants. NOTE: the topics in italics below are specifically covered in Barbara's book, Theater Artists Play.

Mime, acting, improvisation, playwriting, creative writing,(with an emphasis on the stage), clowning & comedy, commedia dell’arte, creating a theater piece, poetry plays, creating theater with poetry, public speaking (it doesn't have to be scary!) storytelling, using theater in the classroom, how to create a theater piece, performance, mask making (neutral and character), mask performance, casting, creating a plaster life cast, group drawings, wheel chair art, set design, finding work, finding grants and more. 

« Learn more (workshops in detail) »

Workshops in detail:

NEW - Theater Artists Play - workshops based on Barbara's book of the same name. This workshop premiered at the 2018 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Barbara L Gregson will share with you a few of her favorite and accessible theater techniques from her new book. Topics can include the ancient theater traditions of mime, storytelling and mask performance. You will take away new theater methods to help create, write and play your own original theater work and have the beginnings of an original theater piece of your own creation by the end of the workshop. You can even use your own story.

Performance: Each performance workshop begins with theater warm- ups and games, and then we explore acting and mime techniques. There can be an emphasis on comedy, clowning, slapstick, commedia dell’arte, mask performance, storytelling, and or playwriting, such as writing from improvisation, monologues, dialogues, flash fiction and poetry.  Performance workshops always culminate in final improvisational pieces created by the participants.

Masks & Mask Making: Make a papier mache’, neutral or character mask from a plaster cast of your own face.

Mask Performance: Learn the art of mask performance.Use Gregson Theater masks to create short mime pieces, or use your own.

Life Casts: Make a plaster cast of your face to display and or use as a mold for leather and papier mache’ mask making.

Set Design: Make a set from scratch, using card board/screens with fabric. Gregson Theater will show you how to make a simple and affordable moveable set from found objects such as cardboard, boxes, milk crates, screens, and fiberglass.

Group Drawing, Painting or Group Mural: Participants sit around a large table or on the floor and each person works on a section of the design. Then moving, after several minutes, they will work on their neighbor’s section. Everyone collaborating on a final large wall hanging, collage or mural that can be used for a set/backdrop for your show. We can use mixed media, acrylics, watercolors, magic markers, etc. and create these group drawings or make sculptures using found objects and casts/masks for a permanent display or exhibition.

Wheel Chair Art: Create a large canvas mural with wheels from wheel chairs.(This a new way to paint a canvas mural which was developed by Barbara L. Gregson, Catherine Pennypacker and other artists at the Independence Arts Studio, Philadelphia, 2008-2010. We created 10 commissioned murals that are hanging in various buildings in Philadelphia. Also trained physical therapists and Temple university students in the process.

NOTE: You can view many pictures of workshops and residencies in our slideshow.

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Professional Development

For Professors and Teachers of all subjects and grades, including Special Education: How to Create a Theater Piece, Making Theater in the Classroom, Using Theater to Teach the Common Core, or How Theater can Work with your Curriculum, and/or any of the above mentioned workshops that will be beneficial to you and your students.

For entrepreneurs, business leaders, scientists, sales and marketing professionals, lawyers, teachers, artists, writers - anyone who needs or wants to make a presentation, a “Ted Talk”, a speech, or lecture. Take a 1-2 day theater workshop.

For the private sector - creativity and team building theater workshops are designed to cover acting, voice, and relaxation exercises, performance preparation, storytelling, public speaking, comedy and improvisation. These are fun, creative and practical exercises that will improve diction, stage presence and confidence.   

For individuals - Barbara can provide private coaching and individual lessons in acting, mime, presentation, voice, public speaking or other theater technique to help you. She can also make a plaster cast of your face or your child’s, then make a papier mache mask from the cast (ages 10 and up).

Gregson Theater Residencies (10-20 days)

These can include acting, mime, improvisation, play writing and set design, culminating in a final student production. You may also include mask making, mask performance or live music.

How are these Residencies funded? Please go to the Funding Resources page to find out how to bring Gregson Theater to your school or organization today! Also for a vast array and variety of past residencies and locations see the Gregson Theater resumé.

Please note: Everyone, students of all ages and abilities participate in the acting, writing play writing, movement, mime training, mask making and together in collaboration, they will create their final piece.

Creating a Theater Piece

• What is your big idea?
• Where is the performance to be held?
• When?
• What style of production do you want to create?
• Who will be involved in the process?
Don’t worry.  If you know most or only some of the answers to these questions, we can work together define the style of theater, the format, venue and other details for your theater piece.


NYS Veteran's Home, Oxford, NY


Moonlight Mayhem Mt Marmalade, NYS Veteran's Home, Oxford, NY


Herkimer BOCES students 2014

Mask and Mime Performance

Mask and Mime Performance
Herkimer BOCES 2014


Mask and Mime Performance
Herkimer BOCES 2016

Mask Making

Mask Making
Chenango Arts Council workshop 2015


Mask Making
Chenango Arts Council workshop 2016

Set Design

set design
NYS Veterans Home painting the set


set design

Adding music

set design
Musicians playing for “Wandering Home”


adding music
Mime Choir

Putting it all together

putting the show together
The Show!


putting the show together
The Show!


putting the show together
The Cast!

Street Theater

Street theater
Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2003


Street theater
Guilford Days 2015, Guilford, NY


Wheelchair art
Wheelchair art

Some previously used themes:

  • Your Ancestors/Family Histories
  • “What did she bring with her?”
  • Social Studies
  • New York or Pennsylvania history
  • William Penn
  • First Nation’s Peoples: “From Our View”
  • “My Life Stories” told in song and mime
  • Poetry/Haikus
  • Flash Fiction
  • Adapted Stories from Fairy Tales
  • Create your own Fairy Tale

Some past performances:

  • “A Long Walk to Water” book by Linda Sue Park, adapted by 7th and 8th graders at BOCES, Apalachin, NY
  • “The Ancients”: Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures, performed by 6th graders at West Winfield Middle School, NY
  • Recovery programs: “The Door” performed by men from the Return program at Girard Medical Center, Philadelphia
  • Short fiction and poetry turned into mime pieces with live music
  • “It’s Not Easy Being a Kid”: 5th graders’ stories and poems adapted into mime, song and theater pieces
  • “I am just a Kid, Give me a Chance to Grow”: from 3-6 graders’ own stories
  • “Snatch the book”: SESTU (Youth Development Center)
  • “My Life on the Streets”: performance of rap, mime and live music
  • “Wandering Home”: vignettes and poems by Mt View Social Club
  • “Moonlight Mayhem” and “Mt Marmalade”: a vaudeville show with mime and music at the Oxford NYS Veterans Home


My Disclaimer: I am not a therapist, but am a theater artist. I like to work with people who maybe in various stages of recovery, in transition or who are institutionalized. I don’t need to know why they are there or what they did to be there. I see everyone through the lens of a fellow artist and that is how we connect.

I give my students access to the creative form (in my case it is theater) and show them how to express themselves in this art form.

Call Today (607 895 6032) for a Free Consultation regarding how your organization can create an original theater piece or hold a theater arts workshop with Gregson Theater.

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