Jean Montgomery

Montgomery-2011Minneapolis, Minnesota

Inducted as a Fellow: 1995

Earliest memories of USITT? 

First joined in 1971 at the urging of my mentor Dr. Wendell Josal and finally attended my first conference in 1981 in Cleveland. 

Your favorite USITT memories?

I was sitting in an empty room post meeting in Calgary working on something and gradually folks dropped by – we all started chatting and ended up re-inventing the Institute’s corporate structure.  And we did it all again in 2008. 

I like that we don’t stand still and are willing to change and grow. 

I like that I can look at the election ballot and not know anyone on it – I see that as progress and hope for the future – people willing to pick up the Institute banner and carry it forward.

Some career highlights:   

  • Forty years teaching, working, and designing with colleagues at the University of Minnesota should about cover highlights--although escapes to Meadow Brook Theatre in MI and various theatres in MN were great.
  • One glorious summer spent in Fredericksburg VA in my alternate career as PSM was eye-opening and gave me some real insights into what I was teaching. 
  • Above all, the friends made through various locations and all facets of the theatre – backstage, onstage, control booths, shops, and front offices – priceless! 
  • And I got to build two theatre buildings and a boat!

Short list of your involvement in the USITT:

  • Member of the Finance Committee 1987-2009
  • Conference Policy Committee from 1992 until it was dissolved in 1995
  • Secretary of USITT from 1989 to 1997 which made me chair of By-Laws and Nominations Committees
  • Served on the Board of Directors from 2001—2006
  • Inducted as Fellow 1995
  • Received the USITT Founders’ Award 1997
  • Continue to serve on the Archives and Bylaws Committees
  • Keeper pro tem of the Policies and Procedures Committee
  • Honorary Lifetime Membership 2012
  • Active in Northern Boundary Regional Section as Secretary  (1982-92), Treasurer, (1988 -- ) and Pro tem (2001--2004, 2005-2006).

Memorable USITT characters who have made a difference to you:

  • Sarah Nash Gates for her willingness to stand as the first woman president of USITT (and with the chutzpah to ride a horse into the opening ceremonies at the conference).
  • Richard Durst (for many reasons, not the least of which was making me run for another term as Secretary to cover his presidency).
  • Chris Kaiser, Lee Watson, Van Phillips, Henry Tharpe, Joe Aldridge, and Lea Asbell-Swanger.
  • National Office staff
  • And etc. etc. 

What does USITT mean to you?

Aside from the vast stores of knowledge across the realm of theatre that can be tapped at these annual get-togethers, for me it’s the friendships formed through participation in various aspects of the Institute, the questions discussed/debated/answered, the eyes opened to new possibilities, and the wonderful variety of places visited across the country as the conference shifts from site to site (and even around the world as USITT travels).

Contact:   See Membership Directory & Resource Guide