USITT’s 59th Annual Conference & Stage Expo will bring more than 5,000 members of the technical production and live entertainment industry and plenty of action to the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, March 20-23, 2019.

The Institute is on track to break attendance records this year, meaning more excitement, technology, and networking opportunities than ever before. The Conference & Stage Expo will showcase the world of live entertainment design and technology with more than 340 exhibitors of the latest products and services for creating live shows, plus over 250 presentations, demonstrations, and celebrations of work by top artists in the field.

The show’s direct local economic spend is estimated at $5 million, with attendees filling seven hotels in the Louisville area and patronizing local arts venues, attractions, and dining establishments. Those buyers attending USITT19 understand the value of investing money into the theatrical and live entertainment industry to continue to meet the demands of this important national economic growth engine.

Locally, according to Louisville Tourism, USITT19 is expected to have a direct impact on nearly 1,150 jobs in the region and an indirect impact on an additional 350 jobs.

“We are delighted to hold our 59th Annual Conference in Louisville. USITT is returning to the area for the first time since 2006 with a far larger show but with the same emphasis on providing the highest quality experience for our attendees and exhibitors,” said David Grindle, USITT’s executive director.

Dive Hands In

USITT offers plenty of hands-on demos, workshops, and labs where attendees will learn from industry professionals in intimate settings both on and off the Stage Expo floor. Costume lab, professional development workshops, console demos, and a tour of local Louisville performing arts venues are just a taste of what to expect when it comes to immersing yourself in what’s new in the world of live entertainment technology.

Stage Expo

Not only will USITT offer hundreds of educational sessions in its Conference, its wildly popular Stage Expo will run Thursday, March 21 through Saturday, March 23 and is a not-to-be-missed event for the entertainment production industry. Thousands will 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!

Technology that WOWs

We can’t get enough of the newest technology at USITT. This year’s newly implemented Digital Media Commission brings with it our first ever Digital Media playground to the Stage Expo floor complete with projectors, objects for mapping, and tools for interactivity to encourage exploration and learning with various media and software platforms.

The new technological advances don’t stop there as USITT19 attendees will have the opportunity to test some cutting-edge technology at registration. The system, which the Institute is testing for registration vendor Convention Data Services, uses state-of-the-art facial recognition software developed by Zenus Biometrics to convert a facial image into a facial map to recognize an attendee at registration and print a badge. Think of it as Face ID on iPhone, but for Conference registration.

You’re Hired!

USITT19 is not only a marketplace for theatre technology but a networking emporium and the place to be found by production companies and graduate school programs. Many companies will be on the lookout for their next potential employee or intern.

Engaging Speakers

Founder & CEO of Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater Jackie Taylor, visual artist Tupac Martir, and Executive Vice-President of National Networks for Vibrant Emotional Health Dr. John Draper will give presentations centering around eradicating racism, growing a company from one to more than two dozen employees, and mental health and the entertainment industry respectively. These luminaries are sure to share inspiring stories with all who attend. Additionally, local arts organization, Lexington Children’s Theatre, will receive the Thomas DeGaetani Award at the keynote presentation.

Come One Come All

USITT prides itself on its thriving diversity and inclusion initiative. The Gateway Program, now in its fifth year pairs a mentee from an underrepresented community with a mentor who has followed a similar path. This program helps to create and nurture relationships and provide opportunity for all. Sessions on diversity and inclusivity will take place throughout the week encouraging great discussion and education on important topics both in society and the live entertainment industry.

“Our Institute and our industry depend on collaboration and inclusion in all of its diverse forms,” said Grindle. “We are happy to be getting such a fantastic reception in the diverse and welcoming city of Louisville.”

For more info on USITT, visit For more on the 59th Annual Conference & Stage Expo, visit


  • WED., MARCH 20, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    • Keynote Address by Jackie Taylor, Founder of Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater
    • Awards Presentation to Lexington Children’s Theatre; Bob Scales
      Kentucky International Convention Center, Ballroom C
  • WED., MARCH 20, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
    • Opening Night New Products Showcase, a preview of Stage Expo
      Kentucky International Convention Center, Ballroom C
  • THURS., MARCH 21, 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
    • Early Career Honors and Remarks by creative visionary Tupac Martir
      Kentucky International Convention Center, Ballroom C
  • THURS., MARCH 21, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • Stage Expo Open, North America’s Largest Complete Production Trade Show
      Kentucky International Convention Center
  • THURS., MARCH 21, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
    • Book Signings of USITT Member Authors & Presentation of Herbert D. Greggs Awards
      Kentucky International Convention Center, Main Concourse
  • FRI., MARCH 22, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • Stage Expo Open, North America’s Largest Complete Production Trade Show
      Kentucky International Convention Center
  • SAT., MARCH 23, 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    • Stage Expo Open, North America’s Largest Complete Production Trade Show
      Kentucky International Convention Center
  • SAT., MARCH 23, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    • Closing Night Celebration
      Fourth Street Live! Upper Level


USITT Executive Director David Grindle and USITT President Dan Culhane are available for interviews. Only prior arrangement can guarantee availability. Contact Jenn Shuron at to schedule.

Media are encouraged to explore the Stage Expo floor and speak with vendors during regular Stage Expo hours. Media MUST SECURE CREDENTIALS prior to entering the Stage Expo. Contact Jenn Shuron at for details.

Media are encouraged to cover educational sessions, however, a prior arrangement must be made. All sessions may not be available for coverage. Please explore the session schedule using the USITT app. Media MUST SECURE CREDENTIALS upon entering the Convention Center. Contact Jenn Shuron at for details.


PRE-EVENT CONTACT: Jenn Shuron,, (o) 315-728-2519

ON-SITE CONTACTS: Jenn Shuron,, (m) 315-751-4032 or Mark Blackmon,, (m) 765-993-5296


USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is a national non-profit association for the live entertainment production industry. It provides hands-on learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities for emerging and working professionals in the backstage arts. Its Annual Conference and Stage Expo is the only complete production event in North America, featuring over 250 training sessions and more than 340 exhibitors of the latest tools and resources for creating live entertainment.