By: Rob Eastman-Mullins, USITT delegate to the OISTAT Performance Design Commission
On June 14, in a rather warm meeting room at the — literally and figuratively Bohemian — Studio Alta in Prague, an international cadre of theatre practitioners convened for the 2019 meeting of OISTAT’s Space Design Sub-Commission (SpDSC). The SpDSC is the OISTAT (International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects, and Technicians) equivalent of USITT’s Scene Design Commission, but with a bit broader scope of what encompasses the design of live performance. Still, scenic designers will comfortably find their home within this sub-commission.
Led by co-chairs, Fiona Watt (GBR) and Rob Eastman-Mullins (USA, and this author), the aim of the meeting was to generate ideas for programming for the sub-commission, and to devise plans and recruit organizers to implement those ideas. Through breakout, brainstorming sessions, which saw artists from many different nations thrust together into small, collaborative groups, many ideas were generated for larger discussion by all attendees.
Among the numerous ideas and idea fragments that were discussed, here are a few that bear mentioning:
- Quarterly, web-based, mini-meetings will be scheduled with various topics for members to discuss and present. The meetings will be held at varying times to accommodate a world of time zones. Keep an eye on the Space Design page on the OISTAT web site for forthcoming details.
- Development of book lists for both the members of the SpDSC and the members of OISTAT at-large will be developed.
- Many ideas for the upcoming World Stage Design in Calgary (Aug 2021) including art installations in the WSD transportation venues and developing interactive Space Design-related activities for children.
- Sustainable design and production practices was a recurring theme that will certainly be a part of World Stage Design, but is of increasing interest throughout the practice of Space Design.
- A potential 2022 SpDSC meeting location may coincide with a proposed common design project competition at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.
A destination for 2020’s SpDSC meeting has yet to be determined, though Egypt, Spain, Beijing, Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago were all mentioned as possibilities. When a location is determined, the information will be posted on the Space Design OISTAT page and in this forum as well.
Finally, while many USITT members are well aware by now, it is worth repeating that ALL USITT members are reciprocal members of OISTAT and that you — yes, YOU — are welcome to participate in Space Design Sub-Commission and all other OISTAT activities and meetings. The only barrier is your own will. This summer’s meeting saw lots of new faces including many from USITT’s own ranks; established professionals, early career artists, and students alike. Information on OISTAT and all its goings-on can be found at oistat.org. We hope to see you at a future meeting or activity.