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The results of student collaboration, between aspiring theatre and architecture designers, could win acclaim in USITT's 2010 competition to design the ideal theatre. Submissions will be part of a display at the 2010 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Kansas City, Missouri.

USITT Architecture Competition Spurs Student Collaborations

Scott F. Georgeson, AIA
USITT Architecture Commissioner

An unusual collaborative effort between theatre and architecture students could win recognition for teams which participate in USITT’s Ideal Theatre Design Competition to create a new performing art space on campus.

Teams must work together with the theatre students serving as "clients" and the architecture students as the "design team." Students do not need to be attending the same college or university. Those who plan to participate are asked to send a notice of their intent by November 20 to with a subject line of USITT Competition. Completed submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. on January 19, 2010.

Complete information about competition rules, frequently asked questions, and past winners can be found here.

Now in its fourth year, the competition was created by USITT’s Architecture Commission. It has seen worldwide participation and recognition.

Through a collaborative design process, architecture students learn the technical and artist requirements of designing a performance space, as well as how to market their professional services to a client. Theatre students learn how to present their programming needs to an architect as they gain insight into the building design process.

For the 2009 competition, the Architecture Commission received more than 150 inquiries from students and faculty members from 16 states and 21 countries. Jury members John Prokos, FAIA, architect, Gund Partnership; Mark Holden, acoustician, Jaffe Holden Acoustics; and Benton Dillinger, theatre consultant, Theatre Projects Final reviewed 20 submissions from six states and five countries, including Poland, Iran, Spain, and Italy.

The three chosen for Honor Awards received $1,000 and were invited to the 2009 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio to make a 15 minute presentation to the Architecture Commission explaining their design process and theatre design concept. Team Bluette form Poland, Team Puerta De Teatro Group of Spain and Team Aura from Iran were chosen as Honor Award winners.

Team 10, also from Poland, received a Merit Award. All entries were displayed at Stage Expo.

All five members of Team Bluette arrived the first day of the Conference and had a great time touring Cincinnati and attending Conference sessions. Javier Igleslias Sachez represented Puerta De Teatro. His time at the Conference was short but equally enjoyable. Unfortunately, visa issues prevented members of Team Aura from traveling to the United States.

The presentation phase of the competition was assisted by members of the USITT Conference staff who found a translator to help Javier with his English. Of note is that both teams used video shorts.

Following the presentations and discussion Team Puerta De Teatro was given the Commissioner's Award after a close vote. Said Lounis of Serapid, a 2009 corporate sponsor, was on hand to present the awards.

The Architecture Commission also acknowledged Boldt Construction for its assistance with the 2009 Ideal Theatre Competition. Students, faculty, or others with questions about the competition should contact Scott F. Georgeson, AIA at

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