The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)

just held its 43rd Annual Conference and Stage Expo, in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the awards were flowing.

The USITT Award was presented to Robert Brustein. The USITT Award is given to recognize a lifetime contribution in any capacity in the performing arts community.

The Founders Award was presented to James L. Moody. This award is given to a USITT member to recognize outstanding and continued service to the Institute.

The Thomas deGaetani Award was presented to The Penumbra Theatre and Lou Bellamy, which was given to honor a lifetime contribution to the performing arts community in a particular region of the country.

Special Citations are given to recognize outstanding achievement in any area of the performing arts by an individual or an organization. This year a Special Citation for Excellence in Education was presented to Peter Sargent. The special Citation recognizes Sargent’s “outstanding, innovative, and ongoing contributions to the development of professional theatre training and for extraordinairy teaching of practicing theatre artists.”

Charlie Butten and Robert E. Cohen were presented with Special Citations in Sound Engineering. The citation reads, in part, “for pioneering work in developing the distributed amplifier which has become the basis for modern headset communication systems used throughout the world.” They developed what would become the Clear-Com headset system, which over 300,000 beltpacks of various models have been sold since 1970.

Distinguished Achievement Awards are given by USITT for a career record of achievement in one's field of expertise in the performing arts and entertainment industry. This years recipients included Allen Lee Hughes, Distinguished Achievement Award in Lighting Design; Dan Dugan, Harold Burris-Meyer Distinguished Career in Sound Design Award; and Ralph Funicello, Distinguished Achievement in Scene Design Award.

USITT Names Top Young Designers and Technicians for 2003

USITT honored the winners of its Awards for Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts for 2003. Ten awards were presented to those just completing their degree programs or recent graduates who demonstrate excellence in a specific area of the performing arts.

To be considered for an award, student members are nominated by a USITT member and then submit portfolios and letters of recommendation. Serving as adjudicators for the 2003 awards were Elizabeth Lewandowski, Dennis Dorn, Kim Williamson, Elynmarie Kazle, William J. Byrnes, Thomas A. Kelly, Richard Pilbrow, James Moody, Rodney Kaiser, Robert Scales, Sylvia Hillyard Pannell, and Zelma Weisfeld. Ms. Kazle, USITT vice president for Membership and Development, was responsible for the process.

The program provides recognition and money to support young talents as they start their careers. The awards included a cash prize of $500 or $1,000, recognition at the USITT Annual Conference and Stage Expo, and the opportunity to meet the award’s sponsors. The USITT Awards for Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts is the only program that offers a monetary prize to design, technical, or management students.

The KM Fabrics Inc. Technical Production Award was shared by two technicians for the first time. Sharing the honors this year, were Erik Viker of the University of Texas Austin and Michael D. Banta of the Yale School of Drama.

Cricket S. Myers, a graduate student from the California Institute of Arts, was awarded the Clear-Com Intercom Systems Sound Achievement Award.

Jennifer Alexander, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, was awarded the Barbizon Award for Lighting Design sponsored by the Barbizon Companies.

The Rose Brand Award for Scene Design was presented to Brad Steinmetz, a graduate student at The Ohio State University.

The Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design and Technology Award was presented to Lynnsey D. Slanina from the North Carolina School of the Arts. The award is named after USITT Fellow, costume designer, historian, and consultant Zelma Wiesfeld, who retired from the University of Michigan after 28 years on the faculty.

Matthew Hemesath, a student at the University of Texas Austin was honored with the Kryolan Makeup Design Award.

The Frederick A. Buerki Golden Hammer Scenic Technology Award went to Alan Grudzinski, a student at the Yale School of Drama. The award was established by Bernhard R. Works to honor the work of Frederick A. Buerki, whose professional theatrical career spanned more than eight decades. His enthusiasm and craftsmanship will be continued through the Golden Hammer Award.

Brian S. Newman, a graduate student at the University of Delaware was awarded USITTs Stage Management Award. Established in 2000 by Robert Scales, Charlie Richmond, and the USITT Stage Management Mentor Program, each year this award will be presented in honor of a notable Professional Stage Manager.

The W. Oren Parker for Scene Design Award was awarded to Jeff Hinchee, a undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. This award was established by Charles E. Williams in honor of W. Oren Parker.

Other winners included the 2003 Tech Expo Award Winners. They included: Greg Bell – “A Dimmable Radio-Controlled Light Source;” M. Barrett Cleveland – “Illuminating a Production with Digital Multimedia;” Keith Cornelius and Kevin Ford – “A Wind-Controlled Groundcloth;” Chad Kolbe – Soft Impact – “The Creation of a Soft Floor;” Michael Rolleri and Richard Piles – “Oh That Magic Grass;” and Loren Schreiber – “Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick Three: Ultra-low Winch Track.”

For more information about the nomination process for the awards, the USITT, the Conference and Stage Expo, or becoming a member, please call the national office at 800/93-USITT or 315/463-6463, or you can also learn more about USITT by visiting its website at www.usitt.org .