Cindy Poulson Honored
With 2008 Management Award
It was a great honor that Travis DeCastro
and I were asked to say a few fond words about our friend
as the Distinguished Achievement Award 2008 in Theatre Management
was presented posthumously to our colleague and good friend
Cynthia Poulson at the 48th USITT Annual Conference & Stage
Expo in Houston, Texas.
"From the first time I met Cindy,
when our USITT conference was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
I was struck by her warmth and interest in everything around
her. The Management Commission was just starting to develop
more of a focus and programs for stage managers at that time,
and Cindy helped us set up a very well-attended, local/national
stage manager's roundtable forum.
I think there were 50 people crammed into a very small room,
including quite a few local stage managers from the Milwaukee
area. No one wanted to stop talking; it was such a lively
session. By the time it was over, Cindy had disappeared. She
was producing an international festival at the college, University
of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, that weekend and had taken
time out of her schedule to put the event together with me
and help get the ball rolling. The session was very successful,
and it gave me, in particular, the confidence to continue
to work on developing the stage manager program and raise
the profile of stage management within the Institute.
made a point to keep in touch with her from then on. She helped
launch what has become the Stage Management Mentor Project
and, as a first-time stage management mentor for the 1993
Conference in Wichita, she and Travis DeCastro worked together
for the first time as part of our mentoring team. From then
on, Travis and Cindy became two important "go to" professional
resources as we developed the Stage Manager Mentoring project
and the SM Roundtables, and increased interest in the stage
management field throughout USITT.
"I remember how
Cindy helped me find and recruit James Birder to take over
the mentoring project (both because it was time and because
I was now responsible for a newborn son). Cindy's calm
presence at the crazy Las Vegas Conference in 1995 really
kept us all together. She was so unassuming, yet students
and professionals alike jockeyed for a bit of her attention.
was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
for 15 years. She was active in areas of the theatre department
from play selection, to international travel, to student exchanges.
At the time of her death, she was a respected member of USITT's
Board of Directors, serving her first term as a Director at
"I remember one year when Birder and I went out
to dinner with her, I believe it was in Nashville, and Cindy
announced it was her birthday, her 50th … just like
that. She was always that way. We will all very much miss
having her here with us. She made an incredible mark on her
students, on her fellow professionals, and on USITT."
award from USITT reads:
Distinguished Achievement in Theatre
presented to Cynthia Poulson
of her life-long service to theatre and the education of
young people in our industry, USITT pays tribute to the legacy
of Cynthia Poulson: her mentorship and her achievements as
a professional and an educator. May her enthusiasm and love
of life remain our one constant, central to the creative
and technical success of the work we do.