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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Jack Wallen, Michelle Damato, Immanuel Guest, Clara Harris, Rick Long appear in Miss Nelson is Missing at Stage One. Scenic designer is Kelly Wiegant Mangan with costumes designed by Donna Lawrence and lighting design by Kevin Taylor.

Photo/Kelly Weigant Mangan


"Call to Post" for
Louisville Conference

David Rodger
Louisville Promotions Coordinator

USITT's 46th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, is saddled up and making its way to the starting gate. Consisting of four event-filled days -- Wednesday, March 29 through Saturday, April 1; plus Professional Development Workshops and special events Sunday, March 26 through Tuesday, March 28; as well as three days of Stage Expo -- this conference promises to be another exciting and enriching experience for design and technology enthusiasts from North America and around the world.

PDW Update

Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) are great ways to get in-depth training in a variety of subjects. This year, they include stage rigging, costume rendering, indoor pyrotechnics, management leadership, flying performers, millinery, rendering basics, drawing techniques, using LD Assistant, and advanced sound system design, installation, and operation. Enrollment is limited to ensure every participant gets the full attention of the instructors. For up-to-date registration information, visit the USITT Conference & Stage Expo web pages.

Humana Festival of New American Plays

A bonus for conference-goers this year is the proximity of the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Actors Theatre of Louisville and USITT have put together a package of three new plays on Tuesday and Wednesday for those who want to see some outstanding theatre and still participate fully in the conference. A block of seats has been set aside for USITT at a special Tuesday matinee performance of Six Years by Sharr White (2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28), followed by Hotel Cassiopeia by Charles L. Mee (7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28), and Natural Selection by Eric Coble (7 p.m. Wednesday, March 29). More information about the plays is available at the Actors Theatre web site.

Actors Theatre also is offering USITT members discount coupons good for any Humana Festival performance. Discount coupons will be available at the Conference Registration area in the Convention Center's Dockside Lobby. But be forewarned; shows regularly sell out, especially the weekend performances, so planning ahead is prudent. The Actors Theatre box office is just two or three blocks from either of the conference hotels and only one block from the convention center.

The Humana Festival Ticket Package is $110 and can be purchased when registering for the Conference or by calling the USITT office at 800 938-7488.

Stage One

The oldest theatre company in Louisville, Stage One, was founded in 1946 as the Louisville Children's Theatre. Led by the legendary Moses Goldberg from 1978 to 2003, it earned a reputation for developing new scripts and producing plays for specific age groups in a process called "developmental theatre."

Now in its 57th season, Stage One is recognized as one of the nation's leading professional theatres for young audiences. Artistic director J. Daniel Herrin guides Stage One through its ambitious seasons which, in 2005 to 2006, included Sideways Stories from Wayside School, based on the novels by Louis Sachar, adaptation by John Olive (grades K-4); Spirit Shall Fly: A Kentucky Tale by Mary Hall Surface (a world premiere, grades 5-12); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (grades 4-10); Hans Christian Andersen's Nightingale adapted by John Urguhart and Rita Grossberg (grades PreK-3); Alexander, Who's Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move based on the book by Judith Viorst, music by Shelly Markham (grades K-4); And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank by James Still (grades 5-12); and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck a musical based on the story by Beatrix Potter, book and lyrics by Katherine Paterson and Stephanie Tolan, music and lyrics by Steve Liebman (grades PreK-3).

In 1987, Stage One became the first theatre for young audiences to have a regular forum for the development and promotion of new plays, a program they call Critics' Circle. Three years later, the Critics' Circle expanded to include "Tomorrow's Playwrights," which includes staged readings of the top three plays of an annual playwriting contest for teens. New plays are regularly developed through Critic's Circle readings and given world premieres by Stage One. The 1995 season included Young Black Beauty by Aurand Harris, John Lennon and Me by Cherie Bennett, and The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks by Katherine Paterson, Stephanie Tolan, and Steve Liebman all of which were developed from its 1994 Critics' Circle.

Attending the USITT Conference & Stage Expo is always a rewarding experience. For people who love theatre, especially new plays, or who like the convenience of a centrally located city within driving distance for most USITT members, or who appreciate reasonable hotel rates, the conference in Louisville is an opportunity you'll be glad you didn't miss.

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