Henry E. Tharp

TharpKansas City, Missouri

Inducted as a Fellow: 1988

Your earliest memories of the Institute?

Touring the (then) new opera house at Indiana University during the 1965 Conference in Bloomington, Indiana (the first one held outside NYC) and being particularly impressed with the elevator(s) all the way to the grid.

Favorite USITT memory?

A great sound and light show at the Goodman Theatre during the 1968 Conference in Chicago
My first visit ever to San Francisco for the 1972 Conference at the Mark Hopkins Hotel (ruining all other cities for me ever since).

Career highlights:

  • 1950-1952 & 1956-1958  Earned BA & BS in Ed in Speech and Theatre at Emporia (KS) State  
  • 1952-1956  Service in USAF  (Korean Veteran)
  • 1958-1959  Earned MA in Theatre at University of Illinois with Graduate Assistantship teaching Public Speaking and as a scene shop assistant
  • 1959-1960  Assistant Technical Director (under Don Swinney, TD) At Hofstra College, Hempstead, NY
  • 1960-1962 & 1964-1966  Instructor, University of Louisville,  and Designer / TD, Belknap Theatre
  • 1962-1964  Doctoral studies at University of Illinois with Graduate Assistantship as the Assistant Costumer for the University Theatre
  • 1966-1974  Designer / TD for Louisville Children’s Theatre
  • 1974-1977  Assistant Professor University of Missouri, and Designer / TD. University Theatre
  • 1977-1997  Director (supervisor) of Performance Services University Theatres, University of Missouri
  • 1997 - present  Retire

Short list of your involvement in the Institute:

  • 1965 - Joined and have been a member continuously ever since
  • 1977 - Helped form HOA regional section and elected it first (Charter) President
  • 1980 - Chaired USITT National conference in Kansas City
  • 1981 - Elected to USITT Board of Directors
  • 1982 - Elected Secretary of USITT
  • 1985 - appointed Vice President for Conferences of USITT
  • 1986 - Elected Vice President for Conferences
  • 1993 - Chaired USITT National conference in Wichita

If you were to make a short list of the memorable USITT characters that have made a difference to you, who would they be?

  • Herb Greggs, the one man national office, who was of great help putting together the 1980 Conference.
  • Ron Olson, President during one of my terms as Secretary, who referred to me as the Secretary General.  

Anything you want to say about being a Fellow?

Being elected a Fellow was probably the greatest surprise and honor I have received in my life.  Being associated with the Fellows has been and continues to be a source of great satisfaction and pride.

Past or Present Memberships:

  • NCP
  • SSA
  • AETA
  • ATHE
  • Mensa

HenryTharpMemorable to others as:

The person with the USITT vanity license plates -- for more than three decades.


Any time or where I can be useful.

Contact: See Membership Directory & Resource Guide