USITT21 - Virtually Anywhere; Annual Conference Opens Monday
March 5, 2021
USITT opens its 61st Annual Conference & Stage Expo at 11:00 AM EST on Monday, Mar. 8, 2021. The week-long event is one of the largest and most anticipated events in the live entertainment design and technology industry.
The event, dubbed USITT21 – Virtually Anywhere, will showcase the world of live entertainment design and technology featuring exhibitors of the latest products and services and more than 200 presentations, demonstrations, and celebrations of work by top practitioners in the field. Interested parties are expected to attend from all over the world.
The organization was forced to cancel its 60th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in 2020 as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic was declared just weeks before the event was scheduled to take place. Since that time, USITT has transitioned its support of the technology and design industry online and has presented hundreds of hours of new content as it has developed a robust virtual presence over the past year. This year’s event marks the Institute’s first-ever completely virtual Conference & Stage Expo.
In addition to live access, registrants also receive access to all recorded sessions and events from the Conference for six months, including many that they may not have attended live. While persons can also purchase the recorded Conference after the live event ends, all access will expire on Sept. 8, 2021, no matter the original date of purchase. Registration information can be found by clicking here.
Highlights of the week include:
Using the Conference themes of Inform, Inspire, and Energize, each of the three engaging young speakers will tackle one of the themes.
The Opening Keynote Address will take on the theme Inform and will be presented by Audrey Hoo, the production manager of Tony-Award winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, Calif. The Singapore native has production managed at the American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The Mid-Week Keynote on the theme Inspire will feature Marc Winski, a professional actor/singer/motivational speaker from New York City and a person who stutters. As an actor, he is currently striving to give a voice and be an advocate for people who stutter in theatre, film, media, and television. Using a large TikTok following as a bigger platform, he creates content and spreads stuttering awareness with wit and creativity for the stuttering community, a group of people who often go (quite literally) unheard and unseen in our culture.
The Closing Night Keynote on the theme Energize will be given by Harlem-based lighting designer Adam Honoré. His work includes off-Broadway productions, regional shows, national tours, and international premieres. He is a Drama Desk, Henry Hewes, and Helen Hayes Award Nominee; AUDELCO Award Recipient, and a Member of Live Design Magazine’s "30 Under 30."
- Monday, Mar. 8, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM EST
- Tuesday, Mar. 9, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM EST
- Wednesday, Mar. 10, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM EST
- Thursday, Mar. 11, 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM EST
- Friday, Mar. 12, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM EST
An important part of USITT’s annual gathering has always been the Stage Expo, the only complete production trade show in the industry. This is a not-to-be-missed event for the entertainment production industry. Attendees will be able to visit virtual booths to peruse the state-of-the-art products and devices on display in the expo floor. Exhibitors will be showing off their latest and greatest in digital technology, costumes, lighting, sound, and more!
The traditional New Products Showcase will kick-off this portion of the event at 3:30 PM EST on Wednesday, Mar. 10.
Stage Expo Hours:
- Wednesday, Mar. 10, 4:00 – 7:00 PM EST
- Thursday, Mar. 11, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST
- Friday, Mar. 12, 1:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Awards and Recognition
Central to each year’s USITT gathering is the recognition of a variety of individuals and organizations whose outstanding work has continued to push the industry forward. Awards will be presented this year in four broad categories: Honor Awards, Distinguished Achievement Awards, Early Career Honors, and Architecture Awards. Recipients are as follows:
- The USITT Award, presented to Richard Hay
- Joel E. Rubin Founders’ Award, presented to Reid Neslage
- Thomas DeGaetani Award, presented to the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute
- Wally Russell Professional Mentoring Award, presented to Tanya Harper
- Special Citation, presented to Marco Chan
Distinguished Achievement Awards
- Distinguished Achievement in Education, presented to Kathy A. Perkins
- Distinguished Achievement in Lighting Design, presented to Kathy A. Perkins
- Distinguished Achievement in Management, presented to Molly Dill
- Distinguished Achievement in Scene Design, presented to Eduardo Sicangco
- Distinguished Achievement in Engineering, presented to Alan Hendrickson
- Distinguished Achievement in Sound Design, presented to Carin Ford
- Distinguished Achievement in Technical Production, presented to Bill Sapsis
- Distinguished Achievement in Costume Design, presented to Paul Tazewell
Early Career Honors
- Barbara Matera Award for Costume Making, presented to Ann Ulrich
- Barbizon Lighting Company Jonathan Resnick Lighting Design Award, presented to Casey Duke
- Bernhard R. Works, Frederick A. Buerki Scenic Technology Award, presented to Francesca DeCicco
- Richard Hay Undergraduate Scene Design Award, presented to Clíona Smith
- KM Fabrics Technical Production Award, presented to Martin Montaner
- Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award, presented to Zachary Ivans
- USITT Scene Design Award Sponsored by Rose Brand, presented to Christian Fleming
- USITT Stage Management Award, presented to Shahzad Khan
- USITT Rising Star Award Sponsored by Live Design/LDI, presented to Elizabet Puksto
- Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design & Technology Award, presented to Erin Barnett
- Honor: Recital Hall, Penn State University, University Park, PA
- Honor: Xiqu Centre, Hong Kong
- Merit: BAM Strong, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
- Merit: Rubenstein Arts Center at Duke University, Durham, NC
- Merit: Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, St Paul, MN
USITT’s publications awards, including the Oscar G. Brockett Golden Pen Award and the Herbert D. Greggs Awards will be presented in a special reception at a later date.
For a complete list, including expanded biographic information on many award recipients, please visit: https://www.usitt.org/news/2021-award-winners-announced
Each year at the Annual Conference, USITT inducts new Fellows of the Institute, individuals who have provided many years of exceptional professionalism to advance the industry and the Institute. This year's new fellows are: Rafael Jaen, Jeffrey Lieder, and Carolyn Satter.
A special announcement will be made on Wed., Mar. 10 regarding a new initiative of the USITT Fellows and the USITT Fellows Fund. Information will be made available to the media prior to the announcement.
As accessibility is extremely important to USITT, its virtual platform will be using Google’s Live Caption to Chrome for Desktop feature for all Conference events and sessions to enhance accessibility. For a complete guide to setting up this feature, click here.
A complete schedule for USITT21 – Virtually Anywhere can be found here.
Times and speakers subject to change. All session subject to cancellation at any time.
The Institute expects to be able to resume in-person events within the next year. It is scheduled to present the 62nd Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Baltimore, March 2-5, 2022.