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For the Record

Members of the OISTAT Technology Commission met during the Houston 2008 Annual Conference & Stage Expo. The three days of meetings were hosted by USITT and its Technical Production Commission.

Photo/Tom Thatcher


OISTAT Commission Meets, Plans International Activities

Fritz Schwentker
OISTAT Technology Commission Delegate

USITT and its Technical Production Commission hosted a meeting of the OISTAT Technology Commission (TC) during the Houston 2008 Conference & Stage Expo.

The official delegates representing the various OISTAT centers were: John Mayberry, Canada; Bert Determann, Netherlands; Pu Lin, Taiwan; Pavel Dautovsky, Czech Republic; Fritz Schwentker, United States; and Tamas Szabados, Hungary.

The Commission meetings also included several invited guests: Michael Ramsaur, United States (OISTAT president); Csaba Nasadi, Hungary; Loren Schreiber, United States; Ian Evans, United Kingdom; Kazumi Satomura, Japan; Scott Parker, United States; and Scott Henkels, United States.

The group held business meetings each morning of the conference. Highlights of the discussions of new and ongoing activities included:

  • The exhibit tours for students during the Prague Quadrennial 2007 and Scenofest in Prague, led by OISTAT-TC members, were identified as a particularly successful activity of the Commission. The sessions hosted by members of the Commission also were very well attended, and Commission agreed that expanding participation during the next PQ is a goal. A particular goal will be to offer more sessions and an even closer collaboration with the students in attendance.
  • Discussions as to the various technical standards and practices across various nations, such as the organizational structure of performance groups, rigging, and fire safety curtain systems, has opened interest in collecting and organizing brief summaries for distribution on the Web.
  • The Commission has started to identify a mechanism for staffing its "Support to Practitioners Project." The project will assist technicians in locations that have limited resources or training for the safe and efficient practice of the profession. Models for exchange programs have been proposed, and several of the invited guests have offered their experience of organizing university level exchanges. The next order of business will be to get a formal request from colleagues in Belgrade for an initial invitation.
  • Loren Schreiber has been invited to help the Commission develop an international prize in technical theatre. The goal is to develop a small program to recognize excellent practical solutions in the field. One impetus for the project is the success of projects like USITT's Tech Expo and similar ones in the Netherlands. The working title for the project will be "Technical Solutions Prize."

In addition to meetings, OISTAT guests were involved in several Houston area theatre tours. Thursday concluded with an evening of real barbeque and a visit to a Texas dance hall.

The participants concluded the Conference by hosting an open session for USITT attendees called Technical Practice in World Theatre. The session included a video presentation of the new Palace of the Arts facility in Budapest, a photo documentary on the challenge of shoe-horning Broadway-style tours into traditional Japanese venues, and a summary of touring theatre traditions in the Netherlands. Participants and attendees used the ensuing Q&A session to grill each other on the similarities and differences of their various experiences.

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