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

Bill Sapsis in his trademark Hawaiian shirt, is a well-known figure at the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo. At right, he lends a hand to the Behind the Scenes raffle. He is also a member of many technical panels, heads the Stump the Riggers session, was promoting his book, Heads! & Tales as a member author. Mr. Sapsis and his company also provide scholarships to Professional Development Workshops at USITT each year.

Photo/Tom Thatcher


Sapsis Award Winners
Praise their Experience

For the past several years Sapsis Rigging Entertainment Services, Inc. and President Bill Sapsis have supported professional development of USITT student members with Sapsis Rigging Professional Development Awards. This year, Mr. Sapsis provided awards for three students who were attending the two-day Stage Rigging Professional Development Workshop held before the start of the 2008 Annual Conference in Houston, Texas.

The three student members, chosen at random from those registered for the PDW before the Early Conference deadline, were Rebecca Foster, Kyle Gettelman, and Mike Hamer. Below, recipients describe their experiences.

from Mike Hamer, University of Northern Colorado

What was the highlight of the 2008 USITT Conference? Well as a student of the University of Northern Colorado, I believe it was the Stage Rigging Professional Development Workshop. I was incredibly fortunate to be selected as one of this year's 2008 Sapsis Rigging Professional Development Award recipients.

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to Bill Sapsis and all of his colleagues at Sapsis Rigging. Through their generosity I will be able to use the training received from this workshop as a cornerstone for many of my future endeavors. The workshop was an intense two day course that covered everything from the basics of stage rigging to much more advanced topics; including calculating point loads and professional liability. The instructor, Jay Glerum, had an overwhelming knowledge of stage and arena rigging. The class was a mix of professionals, educators, and students; and because of its small size, individual attention was received by each member. The first part of the course covered professional liability, a topic I found particularly interesting. From there we moved into rigging hardware and wire rope.

A considerable amount of the subject matter presented was above and beyond many things that are presented in other courses. One of the more intriguing sections was on how wire rope is made and tested. We were able to see a video presentation of aircraft cable being tested, and what occurs when the cable reaches its breaking point. We were also given incredibly valuable information that I am sure will become practice for most of us. A prime example of a practical application is developing and maintaining a fly log, along with basic maintenance of a counterweight fly system.

All in all, I consider the Stage Rigging Professional Development Workshop to be the best part of the 2008 USITT Conference, an experience that might not have been possible for several individuals had it not been for the generosity of Sapsis Rigging.

from Rebecca Foster, University of Virginia

As a graduate student in Technical Direction, learning safe rigging practices has become one of my primary focuses. I am sure I am not alone in realizing there are quite a few myths about rigging out there. The stage rigging workshop with Jay Glerum was a great opportunity to dispel those myths, focus on learning how to use the tools you have at your disposal, or in some cases, accept that you may need to start over with new hardware and tools. Mr. Glerum was able to give the members of the class real world examples of rigging done incorrectly, then explain ways of accomplishing the same effect correctly.  As a class, we also learned about the different types of rigging hardware that should be used in our theaters. The opportunity to learn from the author of one of the first technical theater books I owned was a rewarding experience.

from Kyle Gettelman, University of Virginia

The Jay Glerum stage rigging workshop was a great opportunity. The benefits of his workshop are two-fold. First, Mr. Glerum's vast wealth of knowledge and experience in stage rigging provided an opportunity to learn about rigging systems and situations we may not have had the opportunity to work with. Second, Mr. Glerum's thorough approach to teaching stage rigging served as an excellent review of practices in which I am already familiar. I would strongly recommend this workshop to anyone who is interested in learning more about stage rigging.

To Top