Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Heng-Cheng Lin, from Taipei, talks about his costume designs for Endgame which were on display at the World Stage Design exhibiti. Many visitors enjoyed walking through and talking about the World Stage Design exhibit held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during March 2005.

Photo/R Finklestein


Special Fund Assists with
USITT's International Involvement

Alexandra Bonds
VP-International Activities

As this organization embarks on its planning for USITT@50, one area which continues in the spotlight is how USITT connects to numerous activities and organizations throughout the world.

USITT has been a major player in the international theatre arena for many years, providing leadership in OISTAT (the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians), participating in the Prague Quadrennials, and inviting guests from overseas to attend USITT Annual Conferences. While the concept of international activities may strike some as unrelated to daily activities, the Institute's involvement in these pursuits has had a direct impact on all members year after year.

More than 4,000 people attended the 2005 Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Because of the Canadian connection, the International Committee was more involved than usual in arranging for visits from our foreign guests. Committee members needed to work through the regulations for visas for another country and to work closely with our Canadian counterparts in CITT/ICTS to provide trouble-free entries for presenters.

Many thousands experienced the World Stage Design 2005 exhibit. The initial impetus for this exhibit originated with USITT members and the banner was carried forth by volunteers, who served as the major organizers for this event. But USITT couldn't do it alone, and so we partnered with OISTAT and CITT/ICTS to bring this first-of-its-kind international selection of individual designers of scenery, costume, lighting, and sound design to fruition.

Even those not able to be in Toronto have had the opportunity to buy a copy of the WSD catalog or DVD. Again, these were available because of USITT's commitments to international activities, along with the support of the Publications Committee. In addition to bringing designs together, the catalog's aim was to make world designs available to a wide audience. By publishing a comprehensive color catalog and manufacturing a DVD, we have provided access to a permanent record of the state of theatre design throughout the world at the beginning of the 21st century. DVDs continue to be sold through USITT's bookstore.

USITT hosted, with our Canadian colleagues, the OISTAT World Congress prior to the USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Toronto. Many renowned speakers, including Jean Guy Lecat who worked with Peter Brook in France, and Bill Dudley, scenic designer from England, presented their design approaches and innovations. They and others offered an insight into what is happening in the world of theatre beyond our borders.

And during the Conference itself, some of the WSD jury members offered presentations of their work, including Rosie Lam Tung Pui-man from Hong Kong and Kazue Hatano from Japan.

In addition to specific activities at the most recent conference, each year the International Committee sponsors special guests in the different design disciplines to present their ideas and designs during Conference sessions. They often bring their portfolios to create exhibitions as part of Stage Expo. These designers of significance include Simona Rybakova and Jan Dusek from the Czech Republic, and Tolis Papazoglu from New Zealand.

Perhaps the most visible of USITT's international activity is the Institute's participation in the Prague Quadrennial Expo every four years. In 2007, the United States entry (created with overall sponsorship and guidance from USITT) will join those from more than 50 other countries in a celebration of world theatre design with national, student, and architectural exhibits.

All of these activities, and many more, are made possible because USITT recognizes the importance of the organization's involvement in the greater world theatre community. Now, as part of the USITT@50 fundraising campaign, the organization is asking for specific support for its International Activities Fund.

By making a one-time or five-year commitment to USITT @ 50, members who have enjoyed the benefits of international connections can show their support for this vital area of USITT's mission. This campaign, which includes a 50 percent match through June, aims to honor our past while securing our future.

To learn more, or to download an intention form in PDF format, click here or contact Larry Hill, USITT Treasurer at

To Top