Center Stage Leadership

Winona State University and the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) partner to provide the Center Stage Leadership workshop. This two-day workshop offers the unique opportunity to expand your ability to effectively:

  • Communicate a vision
  • Motivate others
  • Achieve results through persuasive power
  • Communicate your ideas with poise & self-confidence

Theatre professionals will teach you the power of persuasion while remaining authentic and personable. Learn how to tell a story that depicts your expertise while demonstrating value and influencing outcomes.

Business and community leaders are invited to attend this distinctive workshop offered by WSU's College of Business and Adult & Continuing Education.


Register Today

David Mann will facilitate this two-day workshop with the assistance of GRSF actors and staff. David is a highly respected speaker, trainer, professional actor and director. David has conducted workshops at Medtronic, General Mills, Gazelles International, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, RBC Wealth Management and many other companies. He also teaches persuasive presentation for lawyers at Loyola School of Law, the National Institute for Trail Advocacy and private law firms nationwide. David has been a professional theater artist for over two decades and has performed and directed for the Guthrie Theater, The Children's Theatre Company, Great River Shakespeare Festival and many other theatrical companies.

Focusing on theatrical principles of performance and story-telling techniques, David Mann will share with you his core principles of "Winning with Words." You will attend a matinee performance of Richard III and reflect on what this classic play teaches us about communication, persuasion and leadership. You will participate in group work with GRSF actors and staff. During this time you will be coached and provided feedback on the presentation you bring to the workshop, and you will create achievable professional growth strategies.

For the past 25 years, David Mann has been a professional performance specialist. He has combined his decades of experience as an actor, director and playwright with the needs of professional leaders, sales teams and lawyers to deliver a unique angle on presentation skills.

David has performed and directed plays by Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Sam Shepard and many other classic works for the majority of his career. He has written several plays that have been produced nationwide. He works as a professional theater artist and currently lives in the thriving Minneapolis/St. Paul theater scene, working at theaters such as the Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Children’s Theatre Company, Torch Theater, Chanhassen Theaters and many more. His plays have been local favorites, and in 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Bush Fellowship for Performance Art & Storytelling.

For over a decade, David has brought his unique vantage point to business professionals and lawyers. He has developed customized training seminars for several Fortune 500 companies, and his trial advocacy training strategies have earned him a national reputation for excellence in the legal community. In addition to helping attorneys win cases with solid storytelling and delivery, David is on the adjunct faculty of Loyola School of Law and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

As a teacher, performer and speaker, David has been featured in The New Yorker, Village Voice, The Business Journal and Minnesota Business.

Center Stage attendees have the option of a WSU group block rate at the Plaza Hotel and Suites in Winona. Group rates are available starting at $91.00/night + tax, mention the block code “CENTER.” All reservations and payments are made by the attendee directly to the Plaza Hotel and Suites. The group block rate is available through June 21, 2017.

Questions regarding lodging should be directed to:
The Plaza Hotel and Suites
1025 Highway 61 East
Winona, Minnesota 55987
Ph: 507-453-0303

Registration for this non-credit/CEU professional development workshop includes all sessions and activities listed on the schedule below, continental breakfast and lunch each day, and one dinner. Please indicate with your registration any food allergies, restrictions or special access needs. Registered participants may earn up to 1.2 CEU | 12 Clock Hours.

To register and pay with a credit card for one registration without housing: Click on "Add To Cart" in the upper left corner. Complete registration and payment as indicated. You will receive a confirmation email when you have successfully registered. If you do not receive a confirmation email, need assistance with registration, or have other questions, please contact WSU Adult & Continuing Education at 507.457.5080 or 800.DIALWSU, ext. 5080, or


  • Early Bird $900/person by May 15
  • $995 regular sign-up
  • $1,600 two participants from same organization
  • $3,000 four participants from same organization.
Thursday, July 20
David talks about storytelling and presenting concepts.
Participants create their own presentations (or work on existing ones) “on paper,” i.e., make an outline that will serve as a template for their work on their own. Also, we will identify the specific story or illustration that we can use for the live work in the next segment. 
Participants deliver a segment of their presentation (or the story we’ve identified) for coaching from David, Doug, and two GRSF actors in four different groups in four different rooms. 
Participants attend Richard III and talk with cast members afterward.
Friday, July 21
David talks about principles of making effective videos for social media, and actors discuss effective performance techniques for those videos. 
Participants shoot short videos (3 minutes) in four different rooms with the four different coaches/actors. Actors will coach the delivery and storytelling in the short videos, and they will be uploaded for viewing later. 
Videos are shown to the group for coaching on storytelling presentation. This time may also be used in part for further work on live presentations. 
Evening concert on Friday with a catered dinner.


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