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October 2004
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
CITT French Connexion Rendezvous 2004

Helen P. Willard
Stage Expo Sales Manager

Just a few weeks after the USITT summer meetings in Toronto, we traveled back across the border for Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology's 14th Annual Conference & Trade Show held in Montréal, Quebec, August 11 to 15.

Montréal is one of the oldest and most charming cities in North America, with the largest concentration of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century buildings on the North American continent clustered in Vieux Montréal. A truly cosmopolitan city, which boasts a vibrant arts scene, Montréal is known world-wide for its international cuisine and culture.

Our downtown hotel overlooked the Place des Arts which is home to five concert halls, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a landscaped square with fountains. The hotel was also connected to Montréal's Underground City, the world's most extensive system of interconnected pedestrian and Metro (subway) networks that links buildings, boutiques, restaurants, and even residential apartments. My last visit to Montréal was for the World's Fair, Expo '67, so I was happy to see Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome, now known as the Biosphere, still towering above Île Ste Hélène.

One of the highlights of the CITT Conference was a visit to the home of Cirque du Soleil, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It was an amazing experience to tour the facilities where shows like Alegria, Dralion, La Nouba, Mystère, and O were created and developed. We toured several studios where artists were perfecting their acrobatic skills, then visited the wardrobe shops where incredible costumes are produced for all the resident and touring shows. Merci beaucoup à Gilles Fontaine, who led the technical direction tour and afforded us a fascinating peek into the world of Cirque du Soleil.

The CITT Trade Show was held at the Palais des Congrès, Montréal's large, recently renovated, and colorfully lit Convention Center. Many exhibitors at CITT also exhibit at USITT, including Electronic Theatre Controls, GALA Systems, Inc., Hoffend & Sons, Irwin Seating Company, Jack A. Frost Ltd, Leviton/NSI/Colortran, Osram Sylvania, Pathway Connectivity, Rosco, Show Distribution Group Inc., Strand Lighting, Thematics, Vari-Lite, and Wenger Corporation.

Conference attendees enjoyed spectacular views of the city skyline framed by Mont-Royal on a St. Lawrence River cruise aboard the Cavalier Maxim, sponsored by GALA Systems. The banquet cruise featured the keynote address by puppeteer, author, and designer Tim Gosley and the CITT Awards presentation. Other all-conference events included the Xtreme Junk Challenge (Défi "Xtrème" bric-à-brac), and SWAG Bingo (Bingo Butin), sponsored by Christie Lights, LEE Filters, Ontario Staging, Rosco Canada, Strand Lighting, and USHIO Canada.

While in Montréal, I had an opportunity to meet many Canadian colleagues, including new CITT President Graham Frampton. I am already making plans to join them next year at Rendezvous 2005 "beyond the boundaries" which will be held in Calgary August 9 to 14.

CITT will have a booth at Stage Expo 2005, and we hope to see many of our colleagues from CITT and across Canada in Toronto next March for the USITT Conference & Stage Expo.

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Hoffend & Sons, Inc. and its Vortek system were a "must see" stop at USITT's Stage Expo in 2004, and at the recent CITT French Connexion Rendezvous in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. USITT is extending a special invitation to Canadian companies and residents to participate in the upcoming 2005 Stage Expo in Toronto, Ontario.