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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
OISTAT Welcomes USITT Members to World Congress

Leon I. Brauner
Head of USITT, OISTAT Centre

The 2005 OISTAT World Congress will meet at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada beginning the morning of Sunday, March 13 and ending with the keynote address and four program sessions on Tuesday, March 15.

The 17 sessions include business and commission meetings, an exciting keynote address by Jean-Guy Lecat, and intriguing and thought-provoking programs by important professional stage and costume designers, technicians, and architects from Europe, Asia, and North America.

Those interested in the work of one of the OISTAT Commissions (Architecture, History & Theory, Scenography, Technology, Education, and Publication & Communication), should plan to attend one or more OISTAT Commission meetings in the afternoon (1 to 5 p.m.) and evening (8 to 10:30 p.m.) of Sunday, March 13. In addition to the Commission meetings, there will be an important Member Orientation meeting. USITT members are welcome to attend this informational meeting. The responsibilities of membership, recent organizational modifications, the mission and goals of the organization, as well as, new challenges will be discussed from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

On Monday, March 14, the OISTAT World Congress plenary session takes place. At this meeting (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), the Executive Committee, president, and officers will be elected. In addition, a revised version of the organization’s statutes will be up for ratification. As a vital world organization, OISTAT has been in the midst of organizational review and change for the past four years. Modifications to the statutes and traditions of OISTAT are brought before the voting delegates from all of the OISTAT Centres every two or four years.

Mr. Lecat will be the OISTAT World Congress keynote speaker 10 to 11:50 a.m. on March 15. For 25 years, he has created and transformed spaces all over the world for Sir Peter Brook and his renowned productions. He has transformed spaces as diverse as a railroad station, a quarry, and large show houses into exciting and meaningful performance spaces. Mr. Lecat challenges our thinking about space and the theatrical performance.

In his keynote address, he will look at the future of theatre and theatre organizations, and what will be necessary to ensure a strong viable theatre in the future. Mr. Lecat’s address will be followed with a moderated discussion of the topics raised as well as other questions from the audience.

From 1:40 to 3 p.m. on March 15, there will be two programs. Theatre Rigging: Manual or Automated will be presented by one of Holland’s foremost theatre consultants, Louis Janssen, senior consultant with theateradvies. Over 30 years of Mr. Janssen’s life has been spent working in the theatre as a theatre technologist and planner. The theatre rigging program brings together his experience and knowledge as planner, technician, and consultant. He will present a very carefully considered point of view and will prove his case with the experience gained in planning theatre buildings; collaborating with architects, principles, users and design team members; and planning, designing and developing specifications for technical equipment. Schedule permitting, Julian Sleath of Canadian Opera will offer his point of view and experience as a counterpoint.

Also from 1:40 to 3 p.m. the session World Scenography: A Woman’s Approach will be presented. This individual presentation with panel discussion will include the work of three scenographers: Hye Suk Chang (Korea), Laura Crow (USA), and Reija Hirvikoski (Finland). Elbin Cleveland (USA) will moderate. The depth and breadth of this panel is amazing. The moderator, Mr. Cleveland, has been a professional designer and technician for 35 years. Panelist Hye Suk Chang has been a professional costume designer in Korea for 10 years, and works in opera, traditional theatre, and musicals and dance.

Panelist Crow is a well known American costume designer committed to international collaboration. She chairs the OISTAT Costume Working Group. Panelist Hirvikoski has been a professional scenographer in Finland for 26 years. In addition to her work as a scenographer, she brings to the panel a unique quality. Her recently completed dissertation under the direction of Pamela Howard, A Human as a Scenographer - a Female Scenographer in the European Theatre, the Role and Position of the Scenographer, will add to the discussion. The presentation and discussion will introduce the work of female scenographers and their strong influence on the theatres of their countries.

From 4:30 to 5:50 p.m., Innovations in Theatre Architecture: German Contributions will be presented. Reinhold Daberto, head of the OISTAT Architecture Commission and theatre consultant and stage architect for BDP Munich GmbH, will present the program. Mr. Daberto will begin his program with a "flashback" to the time and work of Max Reinhardt and others who attempted to develop new relationships between the actor and the audience. He will then move into the present (and future) to question if these bold and innovative ideas are still viable and, once again, waiting to take root.

New Media in the Theatre: What's New, What's Next? will be held 3:30 to 4:50 p.m. The presentation and discussion will be by William Dudley and Sean Crowley of England. During the past 35 years, Mr. Dudley has been one of the most influential and innovative theatre designers working in "new media" in the world. He has won no fewer than six Oliviers. After a busy career designing and assisting many of Europe’s leading designers, Mr. Crowley returned to Wales to live and work. He has designed over 70 productions in Wales since 1995 and currently holds the post of head of design at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. This presentation and discussion will focus on alternative design techniques. How can technology become a valuable tool for the designer? How can the theatre artist make technology magical?

Your colleagues in OISTAT welcome you to our congress and hope that you will find the time to attend one or all of these programs. We look forward to welcoming you in person to the 2005 OISTAT World Congress.

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Louis Janssen will discuss Theatre Rigging: Manual or Automated as part of an OISTAT World Congress session in March.