April 2011

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April 2011

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

"Why did you schedule this and that at the same time?"

Making the hard decision of what session to attend at the Annual Conference & Stage Expo can be exhausting.

Photo/R. Finkelstein

Here I sit, one week before the Annual Conference, writing for the April Sightlines. Deadlines being what they are, this is a bit of prognostication. Since this is not my first conference, I know I'm going to have the problem I have every year. There are too many things that I want to attend, and they all happen seemingly at the same time.

There, I've said it, and many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. It is something that people get frustrated over each Conference. "Why did you schedule this and that at the same time?" As a former Vice-Commissioner for Programming, I got asked that question often, and occasionally loudly. I learned that, like many things in our organization, people are passionate about attending sessions.

What a fabulous problem to have -- having to choose between sessions because we want to do them all and expect them all to be good! It is an embarrassment of riches and one that is not taken lightly by those in the leadership of our organization. President Joe Aldridge, Vice-President for Conferences David Will, and Vice-President for Programming Michael Mehler tried to take the best parts of the schedule from Kansas City along with the best of "how we've always done it" to come up with a new schedule for Charlotte. It freed up time for more programming and more Stage Expo, and may actually have allowed those involved in committees and Institute leadership to attend a session. Already these three have spoken of tweaks for 2012, but they are trying to create a schedule that allows all members to get the most out of their conference day.

These gentlemen and their committees are taking suggestions constantly about how to work the schedule so that members can get to as many things as possible. Their only problem is our greatest asset; we have too many good things to get to. They will never succeed in not programming someone's two favorite sessions at the same time. But they have and will continue to succeed in having a conference schedule that leaves attendees with new knowledge, new friends, and energy to focus on what they do best -- producing live entertainment.

If you have ideas on scheduling or want to know why things are done in a certain manner, contact any of the officers listed above or e-mail me in the office in Syracuse. We all love to get member feedback, and it truly does make a difference in decisions. USITT is your organization and your voice does count. Let us know what worked in Charlotte as well as the challenges you experienced. Planning is well underway for 2012, but it's not too late to try to squeeze more out of the 96 hours we call the Annual Conference & Stage Expo.

David Grindle

We'd like to hear your comments on this story. 
Please e-mail David at david@office.usitt.org.
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