Patricia MacKay

PatMacKay2015Los Angeles, California

Inducted as a Fellow: 1985

How did you become involved in USITT? What is your earliest memory of USITT?

Barbizon Plaza Hotel - 1970 Conference when then USITT President C. Ray Smith brought me along to meet the assembled luminaries. At the time I was editing Jo Mielziner’s The Shapes of our Theatres for C. Ray and writing for Theatre Crafts - time to meet the makers and shakers!

What is your favorite USITT memory?

PQ 83 was the most fabulous experience ever. A great gang of people, our fearless leader was Eric Fielding. First stop was London where we laughed ourselves silly at the premiere production of Noises Off. Then off to Prague (where menu darts was invented) followed by Bratislava for the Opening Night of L’Elisir d’Amore where eau d’moth balls emanating from fur wraps just taken out of storage was the overwhelming fragrance. And then…well..Vychodil’s homemade wine (or was it something stronger?) capped the whole evening.

Career highlights:

  • Editor and Publisher of Theatre Crafts magazine which became TCI
  • Editor and Publisher of Lighting Dimensions magazine
  • Founder LDI, the Lighting Dimensions International conference and trade show
  • Combined all into Entertainment Communications Group which also published newsletters, ran seminars, acquired Cue magazine, contracted to the USITT to manage the trade show portion of the conference for several years.
  • Created ETECH the industry’s first digital information portal (before the Mozilla browser had even been invented) -- oh, the arrows in my back.
  • Author of numerous articles and books
  • Producer of location-based and themed entertainment projects globally.


USITT involvement/positions held:

  • Theatre Architecture Slide File co-edited with Leslie Armstrong (she got the Founder’s award for the project in 1976)
  • Board of Directors multiple terms in the 1970s and part of the 1980s
  • Co-chair of the 1974 New York conference with Bob Benson, committee work for the 1985 New York conference, and assorted New York Section positions.
  • Publications committee - various stints
  • Stage Expo management of the 1990 Milwaukee, 1991 Boston under a two year contract.
  • Co-chair with Joel Rubin of the 1987 Golden Trigue winning PQ exhibit and catalogue preparation and publication
  • Delegate to Warsaw OISTAT Congress
  • Delegate to OISTAT publications commission in Budapest
  • 1990 USITT Award--as member of the PQ87 Steering Committee
  • 1993 USITT Health and Safety Award
  • USITT Fellows Make It So Committee with Chris Kaiser, Tim Kelly, Dick Devin, and Bob Scales

USITT members that have made a difference to you:

  • For personal impact: Joel Rubin, Ned Bowman, C. Ray Smith, and Bob Scales
  • For always-a-great-costume: Dr. Doom, Lee Watson, and Peter Sargent.
  • For general hilarity: Eddie Kook, Sarah Nash Gates, Sylvia Hillyard Pannell, Eric Fielding, Pete Happe, and Tim Kelly

Being a USITT Fellow means:

Never so surprised in my life when at a party at a Disco during the 1985 conference my name was called out. I really thought that they only let boys be Fellows. Turns out I was actually the second female fellow, Peggy Clark Kelley being the first. It was, and continues, to be an amazing honor. Thanks to all.

What does USITT mean to you?

My greatest friends and best memories are deeply woven into the fabric of all my USITT activities. Ultimately everything that I accomplished in my professional life grew out of my early work with the Institute on behalf of Theatre Crafts magazine.


  • Many over the years in various magazines and reprinted in anthologies.
  • To Boldly Go (Behind the Scenes at Star Trek: The Experience),
  • The Art of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
  • The Shakespeare Complex co-authored with Glenn Loney
  • Most recent project in this field is Walt Disney Concert Hall/The Backstage Story with Richard Pilbrow