USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is planning an impressive line-up of special speakers and session presenters for its 50th Annual Conference in 2010.

Sally Struthers will kick off the organization’s four-day lineup of focused sessions and special exhibitions at 10am on Wednesday, March 31 with her kynote presentation at the Kansas City Convention Center. Struthers, a two-time Emmy Award and Golden lobe Award winner for her work in the groundbreaking series, All in the Family, has ontinuing roles on the CBS comedy Still Standing and on Gilmore Girls. She has ppeared on Broadway and toured with the Tommy Tune production of Grease.
Struthers has worked tirelessly on behalf of hungry and uneducated children worldwide nd has won numerous awards for those efforts.

Also speaking willl be Dr. Joel E. Rubin, a founder of the Institute and its second president, who will deliver the Fellows Address on Wednesday evening. Rubin was one of the driving forces behind the creation of OISTAT, the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians in 1967 and was the producer of the United States Exhibits at the Prague Quadrennial in 1987 and 1991. His distinguished
career has stretched across more than six decades.

USITT’s current president Carl Lefko announced the lineup. On Thursday morning, the Institute will honor Oscar Brockett, who will receive the 2010
USITT Golden Pen award, along with co-authors Margaret Mitchell and Linda Hardberger for their seminal work, Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States. The book, which is being published by The Tobin Fund for Theatre Arts and distributed by the University of Texas Press, will be launched at the conference, where a special book signing event will honor the authors. The opening session on Thursday will focus on the history of design and technology,with a multimedia slide show featuring images from the book.

Jennifer Tipton, who was honored in 2008 with a MacArthur Foundation “genius award” (the latest in string of honors for this amazing designer) will speak on Friday morning to start the conference day. Tipton was honored as a stage lighting designer who is “pushing the visible boundaries of her art form with painterly lighting that evokes mood and sculpts movement in dance, drama, and opera.” She is receiving $500,000 over five years, with “no strings attached.” Her use of white light in theatre and dance has been
especially noted, as well as the range of her artistry for both small and large productions, and her influence as a teacher. She has been an adjunct professor of lighting design at the Yale University School of Drama since 1994.

As USITT celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is also looking to the future. François Leroux, vice president at Walt Disney World Entertainment, will speak on Friday, to give his perspective on what lies ahead for the entertainment industry.

The new conference format includes opening Stage Expo on Wednesday instead of the traditional Thursday opening, and time for major sessions at the start of each day.

Registration is scheduled to open in October, with events centered at the Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities in Kansas City,

Visit for more information on the planned celebrations.