November 2010

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November 2010

News From USITT's Executive Director:

PLASA and Prague are Just Part of the Package

David Grindle Executive Director

The PLASA trade show floor has many different places to sit, enjoy new technology or catch up with old friends.

Photo/ Chris Toulmin

USITT has an extremely strong international component. So what does that give the average member? As I paid my dues each year, I had often pondered our international involvement, and in September I was able to see a bit of it first hand at the PLASA (Professional Light and Sound Association) trade show in London.

USITT is one of many ways that industry can bring new products to the United States. Through our Stage Expo, we are able to offer an affordable outlet to present a new product that may never have been seen in the United States.

That is how one European company, Global Design Solutions, started in the United States. They partnered with a company, and showed their products through a distributor already at Stage Expo. Now, four years later, they are developing a robust U.S. market and, by using Contributing member A.C.T Lighting, are expanding their distribution.

Attending PLASA opened my eyes to some of the ways we can work with our cohorts overseas. I spent quite some time in conversation with Andrew de Rosa, Chief Executive of the Association of British Theatre Technicians. (ABTT was founded by USITT Fellow Richard Pilbrow and others). We were able to share some of the programming each organization does for its membership and discuss ways to share information more quickly so that innovation and skills in one country are more easily shared in the other.

At the trade show, I'm sure someone was showing an incandescent fixture, but frankly I don't remember them. LED was everywhere with new ways to control it, dim it, and operate it wirelessly. There were new systems in development for remote power units as well as LED floors that could have changing looks yet were sturdy. Much of this is in use in television and nightclub entertainment, but the live performance capabilities are infinite.

USITT's International component is known for Prague Quadrennial, in 2011 renamed the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design & Space but still known by the shorthand of PQ. That connection, and the amazing international designers and technicians it brings to the Conference, coupled with our support ot OISTAT and its commissions and working groups broaden our horizons.

Those functions of our international mission bring a vibrant voice to our members and share our voice with the world. In new and exciting ways, we are one avenue to bring the best of the world together. New products to and from the U.S. can be shared through USITT; U.S. teaching methods (considered among the best in the world) are shared.

For goodness sake, we can even come to an agreement on whether it is a Band-aid or plaster, scheme or plan, truck or lorry. Whatever it may be, the world gets smaller as technology speeds up. Our International work is an important component of our mission, and one that has some impact on us all.