Lou Bellamy, the founder and artistic director of one of North America’s preeminent African American theatre companies, will deliver the Keynote to start USITT’s 43rd Annual Conference & Stage Expo. Bellamy and the Penumbra Theatre will also be honored with the Thomas DeGaetani Award, given to honor a lifetime contribution to the performing arts community in a particular region of the country.

This year's conference will be held in Minneapolis from March 19-22. The event features more than 200 sessions, program, demonstrations, and meeting plus almost 100,000 square feet of exhibitions and exhibitors. The association of design, production, and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry will also offer sessions featuring its 2003 Distinguished Lighting Designer Allen Lee Hughes and Golden Pen Award winner Judy Juracek. A complete list of sessions is available on line at www.usitt.org.

Mr. Bellamy, a graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, received his masters of fine arts from the University of Minnesota. He has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota for 26 years, and is currently associate professor. He has received numerous awards for excellence in arts and education as well as a doctorate from Hamline University. Among his extensive directing credits are Someplace Soft to Fall, A Lovesong for Miss Lydia, and Soul Alley. His acting credits include leading roles in Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Talking Bones. This season he is directing Two Trains Running.

Based in St. Paul, MN, the Penumbra is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a season-long run of works by August Wilson, who received his professional playwriting debut at Penumbra and who is a long-time company member and board advisor.

The Keynote will take place on Wednesday, March 19 at 10am in the Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom A to start the 43rd Annual Conference & Stage Expo. Anyone wishing to attend the Conference may register on line at the above link or receive more information by calling USITT at 800-938-7488.