More Alphabet Soup!
One of our long time alliances was brought to the forefront earlier this year in Toronto. The many Conference activities, World Stage Design (WSD), and OISTAT World Congress were only possible because of the close cooperation of CITT/ICTS (Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology / l'Institut Canadien des Technologies Scénographiques).
Its members were closely involved in all aspects of the conference including such activities as rigging lights at WSD, receiving the design materials, promoting events, exhibiting at Stage Expo, presenting sessions, hosting professional development workshops, and writing letters so all the international guests could enter Canada. It is appropriate to say that the success of March's Conference was only possible with the cooperation of our good friends to the north.
The relationship between USITT and CITT/ICTS is unique. No other organization has been so entwined with the history of USITT. In fact, USITT was the incubator that helped make CITT/ICTS possible. In 2002 CITT/ICTS honored USITT with an award for this support. Part of the citation text follows as quoted from the CITT web page:
"Much of CITT's current success is due to the steadfast support of USITT in the early days of CITT's creation. Still today, all of CITT's Sections are also sections of USITT and continue to receive support as such...
USITT has been a cornerstone in the growth and development of CITT. Without the assistance of USITT, our organisation could have vanished many times over the years.
We are now a stronger organisation thanks to their unquestioning support. For this, USITT deserves our deepest gratitude and the honour of joining us as lifetime Honorary Members. With this Award, we wish to confirm to USITT our friendship and thanks."
USITT's certificate of incorporation was signed on October 19, 1960 and the first conference was on February 4, 1961. The Toronto Chapter or Center (accounts seem to differ on the name) was founded on May 9, 1963. Conferences soon followed: the first Toronto Conference was in 1966, Calgary in 1989 (the banquet is still talked about as one of the best), Toronto again in 1999 and 2005. Each of these was well attended and the last two set records in attendance both at the sessions and at Stage Expo.
Much of this time our Canadian members were just that, Canadian members of USITT, and many are still members of USITT. Our webpage is based in Canada because of the willingness of long time member and BOD member Normand Bouchard and Tim Clinton to do much of the work that made our presence possible. Even before that, USITT was one of the first organizations to be administered through the Internet. When I first worked with conference planning in 1992, decisions and information was already being done on-line thanks to their work. This was all by text-based e-mail discussion groups hosted in Calgary. The current First Class system used for Institute Forums is still based there.
As CITT's first president remembers, CITT was born during the weekend of September 14 to 16, 1990 at a national meeting of 64 theatre professionals from across Canada. The meeting was held in Toronto. CITT officially began operations in November of that same year. At the concluding meeting on Sunday, USITT President Don Shulman offered his own words of support, and, in a fitting gesture, presented an official "President's Gavel" to the new president of CITT, Ken Hewitt.
Member services for CITT were still being done from the USITT Office and we had shared members, called International members, which could belong to both organizations at a discounted price and received the benefits of both. By 1998, CITT/ICTS was a separate organization and has been on its own since.
USITT and CITT/ICTS continue to work together and there are still Canadian Sections of USITT. We will continue to work together on projects in the future. If you get a chance check out next year's CITT/ICTS conference, Rendez-vous Toronto, August 10 to 13, 2006.