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Members of the USITT-USA Exhibits committee, including Sandy Bonds, standing and Mike Monsos, are already planning for the work which will be needed to create an outstanding entry for the 2011 Prague Quadrennial which will also tour the United States.

Photo/Carol Carrigan


USA Exhibits Committee
Begins 2011 Work

Sandy Bonds
VP International Activities

The USITT-USA Exhibits Committee has initiated plans to create the National Exhibit representing the United States at the Prague Quadrennial in 2011 and to tour the country afterwards. USITT has taken the lead on this project since 1983, when the United States participated for the first time. The Prague Quadrennial, the premiere international exposition and celebration of theatre design, is held once every four years in the Czech Republic. In 2007, 60 countries participated and over 23,000 people attended.

To reflect the structure of theatre organizations, the USITT-USA Exhibits Committee has created a new position of Artistic Director and announced that Susan Tsu has accepted this position. Ms. Tsu is an internationally known and award-winning costume designer, including New York Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics recognitions. She has designed for most of the major LORT theatres in this country and for companies in Europe, Asia, and Russia. She is professor of costume design at Carnegie Mellon University and acted as a Curator for Costume Design for the USITT PQ USA 2007 National Exhibit, as well as a part of the curatorial team for the Student Exhibit for that year.

Additional members of the committee have administrative and curatorial responsibilities.

Daniel Denhart, Managing Producer, is technical director for Ohio University where he has overseen more than 80 productions, and is USITT Vice-President for Special Operations. He also has designed lighting and scenery, including computer generated video imaging for Big River.

Alexandra Bonds, who served as the Commissioner for all three USITT-USA Exhibits shown at PQ 2003 and PQ 2007, continues as the International Liaison for 2011. She is professor of costume design at the University of Oregon, USITT Vice-President for International Activities, and author of a recently published book on Beijing opera costumes.

Mike Monsos, Exhibit Projects Coordinator, is head of the design/tech division at the University of Montana, in Missoula, where the exhibit will be constructed. He has designed sets and lights for Missoula Children's Theatre and served as designer and technical director for Bigfork Summer Playhouse.

Alessia Carpoca, Assistant Exhibits Projects Manager, is costume designer for University of Missoula, has designed costumes for operas touring to the Czech Republic and Germany, and has designed sets and lighting in Italy.

R. Eric Stone, Steering Committee, recently became chair of the scenic design program at the University of Iowa. He was resident scenic designer for six seasons at the PCPA Theatrefest and associate designer for the USITT PQ USA 2007 Exhibit.

Christopher Akerlind, Curator for Lighting Design, has designed over 600 productions of theatre, opera, and dance nationally and internationally. He received a Tony Award for lighting design for The Light in the Piazza and an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence.

Ursula Belden, Curator for Scene Design, has designed throughout this country and overseas in Berlin and Prague, and has taught at London's Central St. Martin's School of Art and Design. Now at Ohio University, she co-designed the USITT USA National Exhibit for PQ 2003 and designed the Student Exhibit for PQ 2007.

Christopher Barreca, Curator for Scene Design, is head of scenic design at Cal Arts and has designed over 200 productions for major theatres such as the Guthrie, Hartford Stage, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. He received an American Theatre Wing Award for his designs of Chronicle of a Death Foretold at the Lincoln Center.

Linda Cho, Curator for Costume Design, has designed for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Old Globe. She was the nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award for her designs for The Two Noble Kinsmen at the Public Theatre and will make her LA Opera debut with the double bill of The Dwarf and The Broken Jug.

Don Tindall, Sound Curator, now at Ithaca College, was the Resident Sound Designer for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for six seasons, in addition to a wide-ranging free-lance career. He curated the sound design for the USITT PQ USA 2007 Student Exhibit.

For recent PQ exhibits, the goal of the curators has been to reflect the range and depth of design across America in the four years since the last Prague Quadrennial. With this exhibit, the committee will depart from the encyclopedic approach to develop an exhibit focused on a specific theme. In two days of dynamic meetings held recently in Cincinnati, the curators collectively discussed thematic ideas, sharing conversations about works they found definitive and life-altering.

The dialogue led to an aspiration to seek performances and companies incorporating practices for social and artistic change, and empowering the designers through the collaboration process. With an overarching vision of "courage from the edge," socio-political issues, such as multiculturalism, green theatre, and building community, fused with devising, site-specific pieces, and works incorporating pioneering technology will be in the forefront. The curators are additionally investigating the efforts of seminal innovative artists and directors in America and the discourse that arises when theatre artists inspired by them create subsequent work, inventing their own forms of theatre with a modern sensibility.

This exhibit will have influence beyond its time in Prague by later touring through targeted cities across the nation, aiming to reach a wider range of the American public. It will be designed to be flexible to allow for individualized installations in galleries and museums, as well as the display for the Prague Quadrennial 2011. A catalog will be published once again in tandem with the exhibit to provide permanent documentation of the productions chosen to signify the theme and represent American design to the country and the world.

In addition to the National Exhibit, a Student Exhibit representing the next generation of designers, and an Architecture Exhibit featuring recently designed or renovated theatre spaces will be sent to Prague. Positions are still available for additional volunteers to staff these three committees. Please contact Sandy Bonds at for details about opportunities.

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