Successful USITT 2015 Shatters Attendance Records
USITT 2015 broke all previous attendance records, attracting nearly 5,500 people to Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Center last week for the backstage industry’s annual event.
More than 280 exhibitors were at booths with state-of-the-art entertainment products for the largest Stage Expo ever – and 170-plus already have signed on for USITT 2016 in Salt Lake City.
“So many people told us this was their best conference experience ever,” said USITT Executive Director David Grindle.
He added, “We are very proud to be known for a show that shines in quality, excitement, and customer service.”
USITT 2015 also had Keynote Speaker Terrence Spivey of Karamu House opening the 55thUSITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo calling for more diversity in technical theatre and praising USITT and TCG for recruiting and mentoring technical theatre students of color.
During the show, two diversity sessions, USITT’s People of Color Networking Project and the Queer Nation Roundtable, outgrew their meeting rooms and had to move to larger spaces.
The Distinguished Achievers in Conversation drew a large crowd to see the five 2015 USITT Distinguished Achievement Award winners take the stage to talk about their work.
This year's group featured costume designer Jane Greenwood, scene designer Douglas W. Schmidt, projection designer Wendall Harrington, automation designer and tech director Loren Schreiber, and TCG Executive Director Teresa Eyring.
USITT and the Wally Russell Foundation added a surprise guest by honoring another star, lighting designer Ken Billington, with the first Wally Russell Mentor Award, and asking him to join his fellow artists onstage.
USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is the national non-proffit representing the backstage industry. Besides the Annual Conference & Stage Expo, USITT offers year-round, lifelong learning experiences, networking, publications, and promotional opportunities to advance the live entertainment technology field.