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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

USITT's New Products Showcase featured Dick Durst, far left, and his new sidekick Stirling Shelton, in red dress at right, who brought a whole new dimension to the event which featured swag, swag, and more swag. A record 4,200+ people attended the 2009 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Photo/Tom Thatcher


Great Event in Cincinnati

It was wonderful to see more than 4,000 industry professionals gathered for a wonderful and vibrant discussion of all that is happening in the many different parts of USITT's broad spectrum of interests.

The 2009 Conference set records in attendance, and we have already heard a great deal of positive feedback about sessions featuring Jules Fisher, the Fellows Address by Sonny Sonnenfeld, and the New Products Showcase which introduced Stirling Shelton as Dick Durst’s new sidekick.

For those who may have missed the Keynote, Fellows, or Fisher sessions, they can be found online since they were videostreamed live from Cincy and are now available here.

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Stage Innovations Allow Quick Changes

Marking the latest trend in performance hall innovation, Francis Marion University's Performing Arts Center can transform from a symphony concert hall to a dramatic theatre at the flick of a switch. The multi-purpose hall, which broke ground on January 30, was designed by members Holzman Moss Architecture (HMA). Requiring less than four minutes, the changeover is almost effortless – as the 20-ton, floor-mounted acoustic shell glides quietly backward into its own garage. Typically, this sort of transformation requires a large crew of stagehands and many hours to perform. Made from donated oriented strand board (OSB), a recycled material, this radical new stage shell is both economically and environmentally sound.

HMA's low-tech fix enables Francis Marion University, and could allow future centers throughout the country, to afford the same flexible staging options found in venues such as the Radio City Music Hall. The firm has recently completed phase one of the Center for Contemporary Arts at Shepherd University in West Virginia, the renovation of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro's Aycock Auditorium, and Kansas City's Music Hall and Municipal Auditorium. It is currently working on the Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason University in Virginia and the Roe Green Center at Kent State University in Ohio.

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Brauner Receives Lifetime Award

Congratulations to Leon I. Brauner who received the USITT Honorary Lifetime Member Award at the 2009 Annual Conference & Stage Expo. A more detailed profile will appear in the May issue of Sightlines.

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Four Fellows Inducted

Four new Fellows were inducted as part of the 2009 Annual Conference & Stage Expo. Hearty congratulations to Louis Bradfield, Laura Crow, Carl Lefko, and Bill Sapsis who are now members of the august group which keeps its selection of new members a secret until the Conference.

Detailed profiles of all four new Fellows will appear in future issues of Sightlines.

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