Shift for Stage Expo in 2010
Barbara E.R. Lucas
Just in time for USITT’s celebration of 50 years of innovation, Stage Expo will shift days slightly. Instead of its traditional Thursday morning start, in 2010 Stage Expo will open on Wednesday morning, immediately after the blockbuster Conference Kickoff and Keynote.
Stage Expo will open Wednesday, March 31 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Stage Expo will still to be a three-day event, closing at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 2, while the Conference will continue with sessions and activities through the closing party on Saturday, April 3.
Joe Aldridge, USITT’s VP-Conferences, said the shift in days was in response to exhibitor concerns. "This will mean that all the wonderful people who support us by participating in Stage Expo will have the opportunity to be part of the last full day of our 50th celebration," he said. In the past, many exhibitors could not be a part of the Saturday afternoon and evening events because they were striking their booths or packing.
The reaction to the shift in time has been extremely positive, according to Helen Willard, Stage Expo Sales Manager. “Even before the start of this year’s Stage Expo, we had more than 60 exhibitors who have signed up to select their booth space for 2010. We know that our commercial supporters make a large financial commitment to participate, and we appreciate that level of loyalty to USITT and our event.” The shift in dates will also mean less time away from families for those who did not want to be away for an entire weekend.
The central location of the 50th celebration and large number of flights from multiple airlines should also assist Conference visitors in tailoring their Conference travel needs to fit into busy schedules.
USITT has not decided if the change to a Wednesday to Friday format for Stage Expo will be continued past 2010. Mr. Aldridge noted the organization is taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the 50th celebration to explore new options in all aspects of Conference programming.