The United States Institute for Theatre Technology turns 40 this year, and the organization is planning a week-long birthday bash at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO, March 19-25. Here's how the schedule breaks down: Professional Development Workshops, March 19-21; Conference Activities, March 22-25; and Stage Expo, March 23-25. Each program of activities is filled with new things to see and do.

The week begins with Professional Development Workshops, day-long sessions which take in a variety of topics, including "Structural Design for the Stage"; "Developing a Safety Program for Commercial and Educational Facilities"; "Management and Leadership Academy #14--Managing and Motivating the Production Team"; "Risk Management Master Class in Chemical Health and Safety, Products, and Environment"; "Imaging with Loudspeakers in the Theatre"; "The Art of Felt Making: Producing Handmade Felt for Theatrical Applications"; "Using a Computer to Make Costume and Makeup Designs", and "Hands-on WYSIWIG."

Once the conference begins, sessions will cover such issues as "Inspecting a Rigging System: Is Your Rigging System Safe?"; "Mask-Making--From the Affordable to the Exotic"; "Lighting Skills: Basic and Advanced Focusing Techniques"; a session with noted sound designer John Gromada; "Introducing the Revised DMX512 Standard"; "2D or 3D? The Scenic Idea and Visualization"; "Lighting Design at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival"; "Out of the Paint Shop: Scenic Artists as Decorative Artists"; "Architecture and New Theatre Design"; "Safety in Automation Systems"; "What are the Unions Doing About Safety?"; "Decades of Design: A Retrospective of Santa Fe Opera Design"; "Basic Electricity 101: The Relevance of Messrs. Ampere, Ohm, Volta, and Watt to Modern Stage Electrical Systems"; and "Tax Strategies for the Theatre Educator/ Professional," among others.

Other events include a tour of the new exhibit Prehistoric Journey at the Denver Museum of Natural History; author Rosemary Ingham discussing her new book, From Page to Stage; an architecture "slide slam," in which architects and consultants show off their latest work; a panel with Ken Billington, Jules Fisher, Tharon Musser, Imero Fiorentino, Jennifer Tipton, and Richard Pilbrow, a tour of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and, for the millennial-minded, "The Oldest Living Technical Directors," a gathering of some of the theatre's most experienced TDs, who will reflect on where we've been and where we're going.

As we go to press, over 110 exhibitors have signed up for the stage expo floor, to show off the latest products for designers and technicians.

To learn more about attending the USITT Conference and Stage Expo, contact the USITT office at (800) 93USITT (938-4788) or (315) 463-6463. The fax number is (315) 463-6525; website: www.ffa.ucalgary.ca/usitt/.