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LaLonnie Lehman, top right, and theatre critic for the Guardian newspaper, Michael Billington, top center in white shirt, met with Texas Christian University students as part of a month-long London adventure studying modern trends in theatre.


A USITT Summer

Sylvia Hillyard Pannell

Greetings from your new president amidst a busy summer!

Travels have been a highlight this summer. In early May, I had the opportunity to spend a busy, informative, and exciting week in Syracuse, New York at the USITT National Office. While there I visited with our staff members, all of whom gave generously of their time to acquaint me with their particular jobs and contributions to the dynamics of USITT.

Carol B. Carrigan is USITT's Office Coordinator & Finance Manager. Barbara E.R. Lucas is our Public Relations & Marketing Manager. Michelle L. Smith serves as Membership & Advertising Sales Manager. Monica L. Merritt is our Membership & Conference Registration Coordinator. Carol, Barbara Ellen, Michelle, and Monica have provided indefatigable service and indispensable continuity to USITT for more than seven years.

They are pleased to be joined by Brian T. Petranchuk, Accounting/Special Projects Clerk, who joined us in May 2005 and Carrie Boyce, Clerical Assistant, who joined us in December 2005. An impressive team, they shoulder the enormous responsibilities of USITT's day-to-day operation.

Midway through my visit to the Office, then President John Uthoff arrived. After a very busy and highly successful two years as USITT's president, Mr. Uthoff will now serve the Institute and its Executive Committee for an additional two years as Immediate Past President. He was most helpful in freely sharing his vast knowledge of the Institute and its complexities.

Not only is the office staff friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, but Syracuse is a vital and interesting city. Here is a little information for those few of you who, as I, were only acquainted with Manhattan and the boroughs. Situated in the center of New York State, the greater Syracuse area is a region of rolling hills, flat plains, lakes, and streams. Syracuse is located on a rise at the southern end of Onondaga Lake. The gently rolling terrain stretches north of the city for 30 miles where it meets Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes begin 20 miles to the southwest.

All members should consider a visit to this lovely part of the country where on July 4 the temperature was 81degrees as opposed to the 95 degree temperature here in Athens, Georgia. If you visit Central New York, please plan a visit to our National Office, get better acquainted with the remarkable men and women who comprise our staff, and learn more about the core operational management of our organization.

My travels permitted me to see lots of theatre, and it was thrilling when, in each location, USITT was in the spotlight. At the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina in May and June, Carol Bailey, internationally known set and costume designer, created the Festival's production of Charles-Françios Gounod's Roméo et Juilette. In her bio in the Festival program, she notes that her designs were exhibited in our World Stage Design 2005 Competition. During a weekend of theatre in June in New York City, I saw Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, directed by Jack O'Brien (Tony Nomination, Best Director 2005). Mr. O'Brien's Playbill entry boasts of his 2004 USITT Thomas DeGaetani Award.

Another USITT success story surfaced at the Theatre Communications Group national conference in Atlanta, Georgia in early June. Cricket Myers, USITT's 2003 Clear Com Sound Design award winner, part of USITT's Awards for Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts, was featured as a finalist for the TCG Career Development Program for Directors and Designers. Her very impressive biographical sketch was presented in a handsome brochure, "Spotlight on Directors/Designers," available to all TCG conference attendees. We are proud of Ms. Myers's accomplishments since 2003. Her very active design career makes it clear that she was, indeed, an excellent YD&T choice.

In late June in London, while strolling through the lobby of the National Theatre, I ran into longtime USITT member and good friend LaLonnie Lehman who was there with a group of students touring the National Theatre as a part of their summer studies abroad curriculum. Thanks, LaLonnie, for instructing and inspiring our next generation of prospective World Stage Designers, Broadway directors, and USITT members.

May you all have exciting summer adventures with the added thrill of seeing and/or being USITT members in the spotlight!

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