My USITT Story: Gina Kleesattel

June 19, 2020

Gina Kleesattel and a group of her former students at the 2015 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati.

By: Gina Kleesattel, teacher of Stage Management, Cincinnati, Oh

I teach Stage Management (SM) at a performing arts high school in Cincinnati. When USITT came to Cincinnati, I knew I had to get my SM students there. The school would not approve the "field trip," so I took a sick day and told my SMs if they were also going to be "sick" I would meet them in the lobby at 9 a.m. Well, of course, they showed up. And it was an amazing day on the Expo floor, where my students realized that they were part of a much larger group of people who love to create theatre. Their minds were opened to technical concepts they had never considered, colleges where they could study - they talked to other stage managers. It was life-changing for them, as I knew it would be.

Last year, I took my SMs to Louisville and that new group had the same mind-opening experience. And this year, with distance learning in fourth quarter, I had my SM students "attend" USITT webinars. Thank you for that!

Gina Kleesattel and Students
Gina with five of her former students at USITT 2015 in Cincinnati.

The above photo features my first group of SMs to attend USITT. They are high school students in this picture. I am proud to say, that of these five students - four are professional Stage Managers now and the other one is an Arts Administrator! I will always believe that attending USITT that year gave them the final push of encouragement to pursue their dreams.