September 2012

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September 2012

News From

Around the Institute

Standards Incorporated into UL Reference

After more than 17 years of work—first by USITT (USITT Standard S3-1997), then by ESTA, then by PLASA—configuration requirements for stage pin connectors are being incorporated into UL 498, the standard used for Listing connectors.

 ANSI E1.24-2012 is being incorporated by reference into UL 498, which will do much eliminate problems with connectors from different manufacturers not fitting together at all, or fitting together but with the dangers of arcing and overheating. However, the additional requirements may require stage pin connectors to be modified in order to maintain their listing under UL 498.

UL has proposed that products needing modification to maintain their Listing to be modified within three years of the publication of the revised UL 498.

Charles Berliner Retires

Congratulations to Charles Berliner, who retired at the end of August after many years of service with United Scenic Artists-Local 829 on the West Coast. Charlie has been a well-known designer of scenery and costumes for plays, musicals, film, television, and dance theatre.

He is one of a handful of theatrical designer recipients of a Design Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his designs have been included in national and international exhibitions.

Charlie has participated in USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo activities for many years, including helping to organize special exhibits and present sessions. We wish him well in retirement.

Eric Fielding Also 'Retires'

Another well-known USITT member, Eric Fielding, is also retiring this year. A USITT Fellow, author and editor, he is has been resident designer at Brigham Young University.

A scenic, lighting, and graphic designer, Mr. Fielding is also a member of United Scenic Artists. He was the organizer and motivating force behind the first World Stage Design exhibition and catalog which was produced under USITT’s auspices in Toronto in 2005. It was produced in South Korea in 2009, and a third iteration is planned for Wales in 2013.

He was honored with a Special Citation from USITT in 2005.

We wish Eric well in retirement, but expect that he will be hard at work on the next volume of World Scenography. World Scenography 1975-1990 was published earlier this year and is available from Amazon here.

Original Guthrie Workers Invited to New Guthrie Open House

Frank Butler, the production director at the New Guthrie Theater, has extended an invitation to all who worked in production at the original theatre to attend an open house at the new facility 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, 2013. This special open house is for the Original Guthrie’s production personnel, their families, friends, and special guests.

Finding contact information for over 1,500 production personnel who worked in the original Guthrie is challenging. Anyone who was a director, designer, stage manager, production manager, technical director, or on any crew , please use the online form to send information. All those interested in this event can use the online form or e-mail Bob Scales, technical production director 1967-70, at  

Current production staff will to give tours of the new building. 

The creation of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1963 was a defining event in American Theatre. It became the flagship of the Professional Regional Theatre movement opening with a company of actors presenting three plays in repertory, housed in a unique type of theatre with more than 1,400 seats surrounding an asymmetrical platform stage on three sides. There was no proscenium, no flies, and very little backstage. It was a stage that required some new thought about stagecraft and production techniques.

Two hundred ninety-one shows were produced and performed on this stage at the Original Guthrie over 44 years.  The location of this building, an icon of American Theater, is now a grassy slope. Although the original building is gone, the Guthrie Theater is very much alive and well celebrating its 50th anniversary in its new, iconic building on the banks of the Mississippi River. The new building has three theaters and full support services for the theater company’s operation.