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Inside the 2019: USITT Tech Expo.

When deep in the throes of a production, it is helpful to remember that you are not alone. We exist in a remarkable community of smart, clever, and dedicated theatre practitioners who have invented solutions to myriad production challenges for centuries. The USITT community has helped to share and catalog some those solutions with the biennial Theatre Technology Exhibit and Catalog beginning in 1987. With the publication of the 17th catalog this spring, nearly 450 articles are now available to advise, guide, and inspire you to create your own solutions.

This valuable resource would not exist were it not for generous members of the USITT community who first created the solutions and then found time in their busy schedules to share that information. The exhibits at the 2019 Theatre Technology Exhibit (Tech Expo) in Louisville, Kentucky, represented USITT members ranging from undergraduates working at university theatres to professional staff working at LORT theatres. Of the 19 juried entries accepted by the Tech Expo Committee for inclusion in the Tech Expo exhibit at USITT, five were selected by a panel of adjudicators during the conference to be featured in this issue of TD&T.

I offer my sincere gratitude to the members of the Tech Expo Committee and the staff at the USITT National Office. Without their efforts, the Theatre Technology Exhibit and Catalog could never happen. Many thanks to the adjudicators for taking the time to evaluate all of the entries during the conference. And, of course, there would be no Tech Expo were it not for our sponsors, Wireless Mic Belts and Ron Fogel and Associates. Thank you for supporting our community.

I hope the ideas, concepts, and solutions presented in these five articles and the 2019 Theatre Technology Exhibit Catalog will be a valuable resource to you. Time and time again, I rely on the USITT community when stumped by a production challenge. I thumb through my stack of Tech Expo catalogs and most often, I either find the solution or inspiration for a solution from one of the articles. Thanks to all who have contributed to all 17 Tech Expos for creating an amazing resource.


Tim Francis, Tech Expo Committee Chair

Tech Expo Committee Members:

Scott Bartley, David Boevers, Keith Cornelius, Kent Cyr, Randy DeCelle, Aaron Dyszelski, Pinky Estell, Tim Francis, Luke Hadsall, Delbert Hall, Robin Jaffe, Jodi Karjala, Michael Katz, Kalen Larson, Rick Mayfield, John McCullough, Topher Morris, Justin Walsh, Staci Walters, and David Wheeler

Tech Expo Judges:

JENNIFER BIRGE is associate director of theater production at NYU-Gallatin. She is responsible for all day-to-day operations and long-term planning of the technical and structural needs of the theatre and art gallery spaces, as well as overseeing the student worker staff of the theatre. Birge began working in television production at the age of 15 and transferred into theatre during college. Professionally, Birge has worked for Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Theatrical, Walt Disney World Entertainment, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Ailey II), Lincoln Center Theater, and numerous national tours, including Saturday Night Fever, Delirium, and Aida. She has taught and/or worked at several universities, including Princeton University, Trinity University, the University of Central Florida, and NYU. Jennifer is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association since 1996.

MARK BLACK founded Inter-America Stage Inc., in 1989. Prior to that, he served as senior project manager with Hoffend & Sons for over a decade. Black started installing stage machinery in 1978 at The Sala De Conciertos Rios Reyna in Venezuela, where he became the installation superintendent. He also worked on most of the major performing art center projects constructed in the United States during the 1980s. He worked on numerous theme park projects for UIOA, Epcot, WDW Orlando, WDL Anaheim, MGM, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Legoland, Cypress Gardens, and DAK. Additionally, he has worked on numerous sound stages and studios, such as Paramount and Century in California; Univision, Nick, and Telemundo in Florida; as well as WAPA, WFTS, NBC, ESPN, Golf Channel, and Choral Ridge. Overseas projects include Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, La Monnaie in Brussels, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, SBT TV in Sao Paulo, Taejon Korea EXPO in Sentosa, Balboa School in Panama, Red Deer Performing Arts in Alberta, Harbor Art & Convention Center in Reykjavik, Lion King Theatre and Mickey's Philharmagic in Hong Kong, Education City in Qatar, and cruise ships in ports around the globe. Black has been a member of USITT for over two decades. He is a past co-chairman for motorized rigging standard committee, a certified general contractor, a certified crane hardware inspector, and a journeyman iron worker for more than 25 years.

WILLIAM KENYON serves as head of the lighting design program in the School of Theatre at Penn State. An active professional designer, Kenyon has designed more than 180 plays, operas, and dances, along with more than a dozen national and international tour seasons with several theatre and dance companies. Kenyon has been involved in Native American theatre and dance for 15-plus years, serving as resident lighting director for the American Indian Dance Theatre, and he was involved in the complete re-imagining of "Unto These Hills", a massive outdoor spectacle celebrating the history of the Cherokee. Kenyon serves as chair of the USITT History & Heritage Committee and is chair and U.S. delegate to the OISTAT Education Commission. He is the author of the textbook, Theatre & Stage Photography. Kenyon received his BFA from the University of Connecticut and his MFA from Brandeis University.

TOBIN NEIS is the director of marketing for Barbizon Lighting Company. He started with Barbizon in 1996 opening the Chicago office. Neis' varied background includes work in industrial and traditional theatre, museums, broadcast, and corporate audiovisual environments. He holds a BA in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a MFA in theatre technology from Indiana University. He is a member of USITT and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

STIRLING SHELTON received his BFA in technical theater from the University of Florida (1985) and his MFA from the University of Missouri, Kansas City (1997) in both technical direction and lighting design. In his early career, he was a dancing parade character for Walt Disney World. Staying in the theme park world, Stirling became a production stage manager for "America on Ice" at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Virginia. Stirling then served as the staff technical director for the Department of Theater at Penn State University from 1988 to 1995. In 2008, he finished his tenth season as the technical director at the Tony-Award Winning Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park to move into academia as the faculty technical director at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). This will be his 11th year at CCM. Stirling freelances with River City Scenic in Cincinnati and consults on cruise ship theatrical automation and machinery. Stirling also is an automation and software consultant for ADEX International. Stirling has received his certification as a pneumatic specialist by the International Fluid Power Society.
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Author:Francis, Tim
Publication:TD&T (Theatre Design & Technology)
Date:Jun 22, 2019
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