Hello all,

          So today was the first day of sessions at the conference and very quickly proved that attending the USITT Conference would be more valuable than I had imagined.  The day began with a very early start after a late night of blogging; we first went to register and sign up for a tour of the Cincinnati Playhouse.  Then we went to the workshop entitled magic sheets aren’t magic, which ended up being a very interesting and useful workshop.  There were four lighting designers each of whom spoke about their different methods of organizing magic sheets, all of which contained the same method of it needs to be concise and easy to use, however they all were significantly different.  One of the designers had an idea of using one stage ground plan to have all of the magic sheet info on it, compared to the other method of putting many small layouts on a sheet of paper.  One of the coolest parts however was seeing the new software called Virtual Magic Sheet, which connects the magic sheet to the lighting board to show you exactly what is on in relation to your systems.

            After this session we attended the key note conference address, which consisted of general housekeeping things, awards, and a speaker who was very interesting especially for Buffalo stage designers as it was directed at theatre as city revival.  Lynne Myers was the speaker and she is the artistic director for the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, a position she was hired to only do for one season to close the theatre; however, as a firm believer in the theatre’s potential she built it back up and it is now a profitable and well respected theatre in Cincinnati.

            The next part of our day was a bus trip up to the Cincinnati Playhouse where we got a tour of one of the first LORT B theatres, which proved very interesting and valuable as we don’t usually get to see how this level of producing theatre operates.  We saw some cool new ways to work within a limited space and make it still work within your needs.  For example their trap space which uses cable lifts as a primary source of scenery movement was very interesting, especially because they had built all of the lifts entirely by themselves.  Other valuable parts of this tour include seeing their shop which was filled with more tools and supplies than we could ever imagine at the University.  The experience of talking to these professionals and having them show us around their LORT B space was incredible and provided a great window into the world of regionally produced theatre at a level we no longer have in Buffalo.

            The day’s sessions ended with Katie Katie and I going to Knots Knots Knots were it was not only a very fun hands on session, but very useful.  I learned new knots and new techniques for those I already knew and even the correct applications for all of the different knots we had learned.

            So that was the first day of sessions here, it was a lot of fun and worth so much more than you could imagine in all the new things you learn and great minds in the field I have met.  Tomorrow is the opening of the expo floor which will be a great point for me to begin my specific research on the new lighting instruments and lighting control methods.  So until then…