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News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
On to Louisville

John Uthoff
USITT President

As July wound down, I had time to reflect on March's conference in Toronto.

Remembering World Stage Design, OISTAT World Congress, Stage Expo, and all the meetings and sessions, I had time to think about what an extraordinary international event our last conference turned out to be. The number of wonderful volunteers dedicated to the projects of USITT never ceases to amaze me. This organization is truly blessed by an active membership.

The cooperation of our friends in the OISTAT Centres around the world also made this year's events possible. From the students at York University, who assembled WSD, to people like Dan Denhart, Ursula Belden, Richard Thomas, Jim Hunter, Treasurer Larry Hill, and Fellows' Address speaker Richard Pilbrow, everyone pitched in for a successful event. And let's not forget all the other people involved in making all these events reality. These projects were supported by the dedicated USITT Office Staff and our contractors, Helen Willard and Broadway Press. A list of all the names that made last year's conference a success would far exceed the small amount of space I have here.

But, that event is done, it exists only as memories, publications, pictures, and articles shared with friends. It is time to start another year. Last May, the Commission Steering Committee met and took the work of the Commissions and the exhibitors, as well as proposals from our allied organizations, and started to shape next year's conference in Louisville, Kentucky. By the end of the meeting, all the programming sessions were scheduled. On August 5 to 7, the Conference Committee, the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee, the Commissioners, and the Executive Committee met at the Louisville Marriott Downtown (the Conference headquarters hotel) to continue shaping both next year's conference and the future direction of USITT.

At this meeting, we found that much of the space available for Stage Expo has already been sold; it could be another record breaking year! The Contributing, Sustaining, and Organizational members of USITT continue to do their part in supporting the projects of the Institute. Their support makes the awards, programs, and publications of the Institute possible.

We found the Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) have been scheduled, and we are approaching the time to begin promoting next year's conference. Once again there will be exciting special exhibits - interesting stage cars and vehicles, Design Expo, and the Art Auction - as well as several other exhibits to view at Stage Expo. The Commissioners and Conference Committee toured the facilities and finalized plans for the many sessions and meetings to be included as part of our next conference.

Louisville is adding its uniqueness to our conference as well. Actors Theatre of Louisville is cooperating to offer a PDW to our members that will allow us to attend part of the Humana Festival. In addition, there are several theatres within easy walking distance. All of them are involved in our conference.

As you walk around Louisville, you will see many decorated horses, some works of street art and some harnessed to pretty carriages for your enjoyment. The Kentucky Derby Museum is just a short taxi ride away, and those who were able to attend said it was well worth the hours they spent checking out this unique site. Several other world class museums are close to the convention center. These include the Frazier Historical Arms Museum and the Speed Art Museum with over 12,000 pieces in its permanent collection.

For those of you interested in fellowship over food and drink, there are ample sites close to the conference hotel. "Fourth Street Live!" is an exciting mix of many types of restaurants, bars, and stores. Live music in many styles is readily available. The food is excellent, and you can buy flights of bourbon samplers as easily as we buy flights of beer samplers in our home towns.

It looks like once again we are all in for an exciting time at USITT March 27 to April 1 in Louisville, Kentucky.

See you there!

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Michael Mehler, center, discusses the logistics of using the Kentucky Center's Bomhard Theatre as a site for USITT's Keynote Address and Conference Kickoff during a recent visit to Louisville. Others who toured the facility take a peek at front of house refurbishments.

Photo/Barbara ER Lucas