September 2013

Print this page ›

September 2013

News & Notices

American Seating to Sponsor Student Architecture Competition

Janet Gramza Communications Associate

Michigan-based American Seating, a leader in theatre seating, will sponsor the 2014 USITT Architecture & Theatre Student Design Competition.

The company has agreed to help cover the costs of the annual competition, which challenges architecture and theatre students to collaborate on designing an "ideal" theatre for their university.

The Institute organizes the annual contest to encourage teams of architecture and theatre students to work together on a project that asks them to "explore the emotive power of space, how space can aid storytelling, and how it can be manipulated to achieve a dramatic purpose," said USITT Competition Chair Scott Georgeson of Workshop Architects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Teams of students around the world are invited to submit designs to a professional jury of leading theatre architects, which will select three to receive $1,000 awards and present their work at 2014 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Fort Worth, Texas, March 26-29, 2014. The team selected for the Commissioner's Award at the Conference will receive an additional $500 and formal recognition for their school.

American Seating, which sponsored the competition in 2010 and 2011, renewed its support this year.

"We are truly grateful to American Seating for sponsoring this event," Executive Director David Grindle said.

"We are very happy to be working with USITT once again on this exciting competition," said Deb McDermott, American Seating's vice president of marketing and business development. "We are honored to play a role in educating tomorrow's theatre architects. American Seating has been making theatre seating since the 1880s, so it is a natural fit to support the USITT Ideal Theatre Competition."

The 2014 competition brief, co-authored by Mr. Georgeson and Theatre Consultant Adam Shalleck, offers a choice of two challenges, one inspired by the economy. Teams can design Project A, a new 400- to 600-seat theatre for their university's specific performing arts program funded with a gift of $35 million, or they can pursue Project B, a scenario in which they find that $35 million isn't enough for a new building, so they must instead choose an existing campus building to renovate into a theatre.

For the second year in a row, Rose Steele of Landry & Bogan Theatre Consultants in Mountain View, California, will assemble and lead a jury of theatre professionals.

The winner of the 2013 competition, North Dakota State University's Team Architechnitions, redesigned the NDSU theatre program's home building to create a new theatre space with more room for dressing rooms, set storage, lobby, and ticket sales.

Submissions to the 2014 competition are open through January 4. Teams must submit any questions and report their intent to enter by December 7 by contacting Mr. Georgeson at

Competition details and rules can be found here.