November 2011

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November 2011

News From

Sustaining Members

California Lutheran University: New Sustaining Member

USITT welcomes California Lutheran University as a new Sustaining member of the Institute. Cal Lutheran heard about USITT through their Regional Section. To learn more about the university, and its Thousand Oaks campus, visit

Theatre Projects: Celebrate Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Opening

Theatre Projects, in collaboration with architect Moshe Safdie and acoustician Nagata Acoustics, designed and planned the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts which opened September 16 in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. Theatre Projects played the lead role in theatre design and planning as well as in engineering the customized theatre equipment. BNIM in Kansas City served as the executive architect.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a world-class arts space featuring two distinct performance spaces that will serve as home to the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  The 1,800-seat Kauffman Theatre, a proscenium theatre for opera and dance, draws inspiration from the great opera houses of Europe. Balconies wrap around the auditorium to create ideal proximity and sight lines for the audience. The space gives the audience the sense of an intimate performance yet still feels grand.  The 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall, designed for symphonic music, deploys another successful form, only recently rediscovered: the vineyard concert hall, an arena-type space that places the musicians in the very heart of the room with the audience seating in terraces (reminiscent of a vineyard) encircling the concert platform. The sedate wood tone and fluid shape of the concert hall give the impression of a curved musical instrument and follows the exterior shape of the building.

Richard Pilbrow, Theatre Projects’ founder and early Kauffman Center project leader, said, “Both the Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall combine outstanding acoustics, fine and spacious stages, and state-of-the-art theatre technology while creating unparalleled intimacy”

Michael Ferguson, Theatre Projects project manager for the Kauffman Center, said, “The two rooms have very distinct characters. Helzberg Hall, with its curves and wood tones, feels like a classical guitar while the Kauffman Theatre plays like an electric guitar with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes. The two together in one facility are perfect complements.”

Theatre Projects began planning a world-class performing arts center in Kansas City with Julia Kauffman and the Muriel B. Kaufman Foundation in 1999. Working closely with the Safdie team as well as Nagata Acoustics, Theatre Projects developed the Kauffmans’ vision into a balance of cutting edge technology and intimate performance space that offers virtually unlimited experiences. The center also includes warm-up rooms, administrative offices, and support spaces.

Theatre Projects team consisted of Mr. Pilbrow; Mr. Gerguson; Brian Hall and Carol Allen, theatre designers; and Michael Nishball, theatre equipment designer.

Theatre technology and equipment were provided by JR Clancy (theatrical rigging, Gala Systems (theatrical lifts), Theatre Solutions, Inc (theatrical seating), and ETC (Theatrical dimming & control).

Sapsis Rigging, Inc.: Rigging Company Reaches Milestone

Bill Sapsis, president of Sapsis Rigging, Inc. is astonished, ecstatic, flabbergasted, overjoyed, relieved, tickled pink, and downright thrilled to announce that Sapsis Rigging, Inc. is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Mr. Sapsis noted he began the company in 1981 on a Friday the 13th, in the middle of a recession. "I figured, what the hell, I had nowhere to go but up, so why not start a rigging company?"

From its humble beginnings in the basement of Mr. Sapsis’s home in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Sapsis Rigging soon graduated to a shop that was not so affectionately dubbed “The Dungeon.” A succession of increasingly more pleasant locations led to the 20,000-square-foot permanent home the company now enjoys -- right across the street from a cemetery.

Sapsis Rigging has always been committed to providing the best products and services and the safest installations to its customers. Over the years, the company has been involved in a variety of interesting and high-profile projects.

"None of these projects would have been possible," noted Bill, "without the hard work and dedication of the SRI staff and crew. This includes the full time folks and the freelancers. Over the years, we've been very fortunate to have some of the best of the best work for us, and I am very grateful for their contributions."

For more information, contact Bill Sapsis at

Acuity Brands/Pathway Connectivity, Inc.: Acuity Brands Acquires Pathway Connectivity, Inc.

Acuity Brands, a market leader in innovative energy-efficient lighting, control, and daylighting solutions, announced it has acquired Pathway Connectivity, Inc. Pathway is a leading manufacturer of networked data communications and interface equipment for architectural and entertainment lighting control applications world-wide. Established in 1985 and based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Pathway designs and manufactures innovative electronics that enable lighting control systems to communicate with intelligent lighting fixtures and power devices, even when those products utilize different communications protocols. Terms of the cash acquisition were not disclosed and the acquisition is not expected to materially impact Acuity Brands future consolidated financial results.

Pathway made its debut as part of Acuity Brands at the LDI2011 Trade Show and Conference in Orlando, Florida, October 28 to 30.

For additional information, visit Acuity Brands at and Pathway at

Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.: Offer Software Events Throughout U.S.

Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. will present the Vectorworks 2012 tour in the United States beginning November 1. Designers in the architecture, landscape, and entertainment design industries will have the opportunity to attend events throughout the month to experience hands-on test drives of Vectorworks 2012 software.

These events are free, and attendees can receive three AIA, LA CES, or APLD continuing education learning units as well as discounts on Vectorworks software training. Members of the software subscription program Vectorworks Service Select will receive 20 percent off training purchases, and non-members will receive 10 percent off training purchases made at the events.

The events will take place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and San Rafael, California; Columbia, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; New York, New York; and Seattle, Washington. Designers can choose between three-hour classroom or virtual online training sessions, or they can attend a user group meeting in each location to learn about the new features in Vectorworks 2012 software and get a sneak peek into other design solution partners such as DeckWorks Outdoor Living by Trex, Include Censeo and Asset, SCIA Engineer, AR-works and MAXON CINEMA 4D.

For more information and to register, visit

Checkers Industries: Company Adds Slip Protection

Guard Dog Low Profile Cable Protectors are now available with added traction from Checkers Industries. They are available with an optional carpet kit with Velcro fasteners and/or anti-slip rubber pads for use on smooth surfaces. For more information, visit