Theatre students, faculty, staff attend annual conference

Posted On: 2022-03-09

It was a busy spring break for several students as well as technical theater faculty and staff from the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. They traveled to Baltimore, MD to take part in the annual conference of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology. Back in person after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the conference was a celebration of live entertainment professionals as well as undergraduate and graduate students coming together to discuss the most pressing issues that our industry faces right now. Students had a chance to volunteer at the conference, in addition to attending workshops and job interviews, meeting with graduate school representatives, and networking with a lot of like-minded fellow artists from many institutions across the United States. Assistant Professor Niffer Pflager led workshops at the Ground Rigging School, which provided hands-on experience to students and professionals seeking to learn the fundamentals of rigging and work with industry-standard hoists, rope, and cable. Costume Designer Anastasia Goodwin was a presenter for the panel titled “Costume History: New Strategies in Teaching”, which also featured Michelle Hunt Souza and Grace Keenan from Kent State University, and Maile Speetjens from University of Hawaii at Manoa. Goodwin also presented her poster “Answering the Call for Better Teaching: Insights from Current Education Literature for the Costume History Classroom” as part of the conference’s National Poster Session. Overall, the conference was attended by around 3500 members, and featured more than 100 vendors, professional live entertainment organizations, and educational institutions. Performance Center and Page Theatre Technical Director Jason Underferth stated that, though the conference was not quite as large as it had been in pre-pandemic years, there is a renewed energy and hope for the live entertainment industry coming back much stronger after the enormous toll inflicted by COVID-19 and the movement for greater access and equity within our ranks. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s student chapter of USITT is proud to be a part of this one-of-its-kind professional organization and is looking forward to next year in St. Louis.

Students who attended: Chelsea Boesiger ’22, Alex Melchor ’22, Isaac Worple ’23, Mackenzie Jensen ’22, Elizabeth Fritton ’24, Hina Sakai ’24