USITT21 – Virtually Anywhere Ends Successful Week

March 12, 2021

First Virtual Conference Shows Global Reach of Entertainment Technology Association

USITT concluded its 61st Annual Conference & Stage Expo on Fri., Mar. 12, 2021 with an address by award-winning lighting designer Adam Honoré. It capped a week-long event that has historically been one of the largest and most anticipated events in the live entertainment design and technology industry.

The event, dubbed USITT21 – Virtually Anywhere, was the Institute’s first-ever all-virtual Conference. More than 3,300 attendees and more than 500 presenters logged on to view more than 50,000 cumulative hours of programming in more than 200 presentations, demonstrations, and celebrations of work by top practitioners in the field during the course of the five-day event. Additionally, many of those attendees took advantage of the virtual Stage Expo where nearly 500 additional industry partners staffed virtual booths to showcase the latest products and services available now and when the industry reopens.

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 to take place. Since that time, USITT has actively 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. 

USITT21 saw attendance from all 50 U.S. states as well as D.C. and Guam, and 30 additional countries, including Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Finland, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and Russia.

In addition to live access during the event, registrants also have 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 here.


Keynote Addresses

Three engaging young speakers used the Conference themes of Inform, Inspire, and Energize, with each tacking one of the themes. Berkeley Repertory Theatre Production Manager Audrey Hoo presented Inform; actor/singer/motivational speaker and a person who stutters, Marc Winski, presented Inspire; and Harlem-based lighting designer Adam Honoré closed the Conference with Energize.

National Demographic Survey

USITT announced that it is partnering with SMU DataArts Workforce Demographics to collect key demographic data on the theatrical design and technology industry. It is the first study of its kind to focus on this industry and is expected to help us better understand the demographics of the current workforce and those of the communities in which they operate. To remain relevant to and representative of our changing society, studies such as this one, provide key information that can inform decisions that ensure all community members have access to opportunities available within the arts and culture sector.

Design Resource Collection

A second major announcement made this week was the partnership between the USITT Fellows Fund and the University Library at Cal State LA to establish the Design Resource Collection. The announcement was made by Pat MacKay and Alexandra Bonds, both of whom are Fellows of the Institute. The collection will provide students, faculty, researchers, and the Los Angeles community with a unique and diverse set of resources to engage, explore, and conduct research in the areas of theatre and performing arts production and design.


USITT inducts individuals who have provided many years of exceptional professionalism to advance the industry and the Institute as new Fellows of the Institute at its Conference each year. This year's new fellows are: Rafael Jaen, Jeffrey Lieder, and incoming USITT President Carolyn Satter.


Each year the Institute provides awards and recognition to deserving members of the design and technology community. This year, the USITT Award, the Institute’s highest honor, was presented to Richard Hay; the Joel E. Rubin Founders’ Award was presented to Reid Neslage; the Thomas DeGaetani Award was presented to the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute; and the Wally Russell Professional Mentoring Award was presented to Tanya Harper.

A complete list of the 2021 USITT award recipients can be found here.


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.

The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) was founded in 1960 to promote a vibrant dialogue, research and learning among practitioners, educators and students of theatre design and technology. Today, the Institute has grown to include thousands of members at all levels of their careers and has continually evolved to embrace new technologies being used in entertainment production. USITT is now the leader of lifelong learning opportunities for the entertainment design and technology industry.