JR Clancy, Inc. will bring together professionals from the theatre design, architecture, and technical production fields in a panel session at the annual United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) conference. The panel will be presented on Thursday, March 20, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX, beginning at 12:15pm.

“Automated Rigging in Schools and Universities” will focus on the growing trend in high schools, colleges, and universities of installing automated rigging instead of traditional counterweight systems. The panel, led by Damon Atwood, manager of packaged hoist sales for J. R. Clancy, will discuss how the move to automated rigging affects productions and operations, and the process of selecting the right system for each performance space.

Panelists include Van Phillips, principal with Jones & Phillips Associates, Inc., theatre consultants based in Lafayette, IN; Darryl Ziegler, theatre consultant with Westlake Reed Leskosky in Phoenix, AZ; and Steve Warner, technical director for the 595-seat Culbreth Theatre of the University of Virginia. A recently completed renovation of the Culbreth Theatre included installation of an automated rigging system.

“This panel offers USITT attendees an opportunity to hear the facts about automated rigging from people who really know how it works—the people who specify it, build it, install it and work with it on a daily basis,” says Atwood. “Attendees will come away with a clear understanding of the benefits of automated rigging, the best applications for automation, and some of the challenges involved in moving from traditional counterweights to automation—or in working with systems that use both kinds of rigging in combination.”

No advance reservations are required for the session, and admission is free to registered USITT attendees.