Eric Fielding

Eric Fielding

Favorite USITT memory?

It would have to be attending the 1978 OISTAT Congress in Hamburg, West Germany. My wife and I had only been married for a few weeks when we traveled to Europe. It was my first trip there. While we visited much of Western Europe during our five-week Eurail-Europe-on-$5-a-Day trip, there were three main things I wanted to do: see theatre in London, visit Prague (and hopefully meet my hero Josef Svoboda!), and attend the OISTAT  World Congress (which I had learned about through TD&T). London theatre was even better than I had imagined; Prague was wonderful (although I didn’t get to meet Svoboda, I did start a life-long friendship with Jarmila Gabrielova at the Theatre Institute, home of OISTAT and the PQ); and attending the OISTAT Congress changed my life (and I finally got to meet Svoboda!).

It turned out that there were only a handful of USITT members in Hamburg. In fact, when I attended the Scenography Commission meeting, I was the only American there. While I was fresh out of grad school, I was embraced by the commission members that included such international design luminaries as John Bury, Ladislav Vychodil, Adam Killian, Otto Kahler, and Ichiro Takada. Largely by default, I was elected vice-commissioner for North America. This experience was perhaps the most influential of my professional career.

While I have been involved in a variety of roles and activities in USITT over the past three-plus decades, my main focus has been in activities related to the International Activities Committee and the Institute’s role as the US OISTAT Centre.


Career highlights?

  • Design Faculty/Resident Set Designer, Department of Theatre, Brigham Young University [1976-83, 1992-present]
  • Design Faculty, Goodman School of Drama, DePaul University [1983-86]
  • Editor/Art Director for USITT Periodicals: TD&T, Sightlines, Directory [1988-95]
  • Freelance Designer [1971-present] 
  • 250+ plays, musicals, operas, concerts, pageants, events, films, and television productions for such companies as the Utah Opera, Tuacahn, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pioneer Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Sundance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Osmond Studio, and the LDS Church.


Short list of your involvement in the institute?

  • Vice President for Communications (1999-2002)
  • Scenic Design Commissioner (1986-88)
  • Board of Directors (1983-87)
  • Associate Chair of International Liaison Committee/US OISTAT Centre (1985-97)
  • OISTAT Publications & Communication Commission Chair (1991-1999)
  • OISTAT Scenography Commission Vice-Chair—North America (1978-1987)
  • World Stage Design 2005 Producer/Director (2001-2005)
  • Delegate, delegate tour director, exhibitor, exhibit designer, catalog editor/designer, and/or documentarian for every Prague Quadrennial since 1979.


Short list of the memorable USITT characters that have made a difference to you:

  • Joel Rubin
  • Ned Bowman 
  • Pat MacKay
  • Randy Earle
  • Dick Devin
  • Chris Kaiser
  • Helmut Grosser
  • Don Stowell
  • Stephen Hild
  • Richard Hay
  • Leon Brauner
  • And….etc., etc.

What does the USITT means to you personally?

For more than three decades, USITT and OISTAT have provided me with a wealth of opportunities for education, service, personal growth, and interaction with some wonderful friends and colleagues. At the same time there have been challenges and painful experiences and relationships. But I am humbled and honored to have been recognized multiple times by the Institute including the USITT Founders’ Award [1992], election to the Fellows [1992], and the USITT Lifetime Member Award [2008].


Your publications:

  • Editor/Art Director for USITT Periodicals: TD&T,  Sightlines, Directory [1988-95]
  • Editor/Art Director for USA/PQ Catalogs [1991, 1995, 1999, 2003]
  • Editor/Art Director for World Stage Design 2005 [print & digital catalogs]
  • Editorial Coordinator & English (US) Language Editor for New Theatre Words [1995]
  • Various articles for Theatre Crafts, TD&T, Sightlines, and Live Design.