2004 OISTAT Technology Commission Meeting Minutes

Dec 7, 2004


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ÖThG            Austria                  Groesel, Bruno (Vice Chair) groesel<@>ft.tuwien.ac.at
BASTT          Belgium                Kersmaekers, Ivo   Ivo.Kersmaekers<@>studio100.be
                                                      Maeckelbergh, Jerome  theatermacker<@>telenet.be
                                                      Van Goethem, Chris chris<@>tead.be
CITT/ICTS    Canada                Mayberry, John (Chair)   mayberry<@>yorku.ca
ČOSDAT      Czech Rep.           Dautovsky, Pavel             dauty<@>pha.inecnet.cz
OFTS            France                  Decaudin, Jean-Pierre     decaudin<@>libertysurf.fr
DTHG           Germany               Tschermak, Martin          m.tschermak<@>t-online.de
                                                      Daberto, Reinhold           r.daberto<@>bdp-muc.de
OPAKFI         Hungary               Vargha, Mihály               editors<@>epiteszforum.hu
VPT                Netherlands       Determann, Bert    bertdetermann<@>compaqnet.nl
                                                      Janssen, Louis (Vice Chair) louis<@>theateradvies.nl
                                                      de Ruijter, Eric               ericderuijter<@>xs4all.nl
OISTAT Secretariat                  Walker, Jennifer(Oistat Secretary)    secretariat<@>oistat.org
PPAS            Poland                   Sosnowski, Andrzej      dyrnaczzca<@>teatrwielki.pl
STTF             Sweden                Westerlund, Eric   erik.westerlund<@>telia.com
TATT             Taiwan                  Liu, Ya-Chen (Jane)         ychen_liu<@>hotmail.com
STD              Turkey                    Percin, Evcimen               epercin<@>e-kolay.net
ABTT             U.K.                       Bowerman, Harry(minutes)         hebow<@>essex.ac.uk
USITT           U.S.A.                     Ramsey, David                 dlramsey<@>metrocast.net
Introduction by the Chair
John welcomed everybody and remarked that we had never had such a large meeting and it was because of the hard work of Jerôme Maecklebergh, Ivo Kersmaekers, and BASTT that we were all here.
Web Page
2005 meeting
Theatre Atlas
Technical Riders
Letters and Apologies
Any Other Business

Web Page
At the Governing Board meeting in Taiwan it was agreed to develop a new data-based web page. The aim is for the web page to become the working centre of OISTAT. A working party of Jennifer Walker, Chris Van Goethem, Eric de Ruijter, Liu Ya-Chen (Jane), and Jerôme Maeckelbergh has been formed, with the aim to have the web page up and running by March 2005. Chris gave the meeting a progress report on the web page and an outline of some of its features. It has two parts: the visitor's area, and a member's area which is password-protected so that commission chairs can make changes and updates.
ACTION: Anybody who has any ideas for the new OISTAT website or would like to make a contribution please contact Jennifer Walker or Chris Van Goethem.
(Netherlands Service Centre for International Cultural Activities) http://www.sicasica.nl/
This is a project to help train people from the new EEC member countries in Technical Theatre and Theatre Management. Frits van den Haspel (Netherlands) and Jennifer Walker would welcome support from colleagues to develop a working party to support this project. A synopsis in Dutch (Jennifer to translate into English) is available. It is understood that 50% of costs will be reimbursed through EEC SOCRATES funding.
ACTION: Anyone interested in SICA-SICA should contact Jennifer Walker.

Can you have an international standard for all Theatres?
Erik Westerlund reported from the Working Group (Masaji Ito, David Ramsey, Eric Westerlund). Eric has been in contact with the Swedish workplace safety authorities and they can be found on www.AV.SE  Another site recommended is www.europe.eu.int/eur-lex
There was a conversation about theatre signage in  lobbies,  and especially warning signs about strobes, smoke, gunshots, nudity, etc. There was a discussion about the signage needed in theatre grids.
What information should be posted? It was agreed that total bar (pipe) load limits, point load limits between hanging lines, and the total grid load should all be posted.  Another question is whether this information should be expressed as kiloNewtons or kilograms. As this is a subject close to Louis Janssen’s heart he will exhibit some of his ideas on the OISTAT web page.
Other backstage signage was discussed, including a sign for a 'Sharps Box' for disposal of any blade or needle that has injured someone and is therefore possibly contaminated.
ACTION: All delegates should continue researching this topic, sending useful information to Eric.
(Afternoon visit to the new National Theatre in Brussels where 4 members of the commission (Bruno Grösel, Jean-Pierre Decaudin, Louis Janssen and Andrzej Sosnowski) gave short dissertations to members of BASTT. Over dinner a lively discussion developed on the merits {or not} of the new National Theatre.)

John explained that the chair of a commission should be elected every four years. He had been asked by the Governing Board to stay on for an extra year and that six months notice was needed before an election took place. He noted that nominations for the chair of the Technology Commission needed to be forwarded to Jennifer. All nominations need the full endorsement of the individual's OISTAT Centre. Jennifer will then forward the nominations to the Governing Board for approval and they hope to present to the members of the commission three candidates. John stated that he would be presenting himself for re-election and hoped other members would also run. Jerome said that BASTT had forwarded candidates for all commissions and Ivo had agreed to stand for the Technology Commission.
ACTION: Send any nominations for Chair of the Technology Commission to Jennifer Walker.

2005 Meeting
Jean-Pierre explained that unfortunately, France was going to have to withdraw its offer to host the 2005 meeting due to cost of its publications commitments and the rising unemployment among technicians.
John asked who would be going to Toronto for the OISTAT World Congress, USITT Conference and Stage Expo, and World Stage exhibition. He would book a room for an informal meeting. Martin Tschermak said that he would suggest to SHOWTEC that they might offer the Technology Commission an invitation to meet in Berlin at their Trade Show 1-3 June. Louis Janssen said that he would consult with his colleagues to see if the Netherlands could offer an invitation to host the 2005 meeting.
Options for 2006: CITT maybe in a position to offer an invitation. There was a question as to whether Richard Brett is organising another Conference/ Exhibition in London and whether ABTT might offer an invitation?
ACTION: Louis Janssen, John Mayberry Martin Tschermak, and Harry Bowerman will determine if their Centres can offer invitations for 2005 or 2006, and report to John and Jennifer as soon as possible.

Some members reported on recent developments in their countries. Germany are about to publish new standards (DIN) for all Theatre Stage Machinery.
Netherlands are working on a standard for control systems. There are no European-wide standards.
In North America, The Entertainment Services & Technology Association (ESTA)  are working on many standards (for example: standards for raked stages with various surfaces). Anyone interested in standards is encouraged to visit the ESTA website and become involved in the consultation process. See www.esta.org
ACTION: All members should continue reporting on the development of standards for theatre equipment and processes in their countries

Theatre Atlas
It was felt this project was coming to an end, as most Theatres have their own web site with all the relevant details that might have been covered by Theatre Atlas. The OISTAT and BASTT web sites still carry the Theatre Atlas Programme.

Theatre Riders
With more and more cross-border touring happening in Europe, 'Rider' updates are vital. Discussion followed about how to effectively change and circulate information. Some companies (with complicated flying sequences) produce a video for technicians at the theatre to view before the company arrives. If information is changing frequently, people can be asked to check the producing company's website before they arrive.

Exchange and Placement of Technicians
General discussion about people finding placements to support their continued learning and whether there should be a formal guideline on the Technology Commission website to cover all the do's and don'ts. John said he thought we needed to be careful about what information was made public, and thought that members could contact one another if they knew of likely candidates for international exchanges. Money was always going to be a problem and any candidate must be prepared to fund themselves. John also added that his employer, York University, was interested in forming partnerships.

From Sandor Böröcz (Hungary): Apologising for not making the meeting, he also explained the changes that are happening with the OISTAT centre in Hungary, and the wish of many of his colleagues for change and development within the Theatre industry and to improve the training of Theatre technicians.
Any Other Business
• Ivo + Louis both asked about the future of the Technology Commission and what projects we should develop?
ACTION: Delegates should consult with their colleagues and suggest possible future projects.
• Jerome asked about the structure of OISTAT, and whether all the centres have up to date statutes available for members to read.
ACTION: John will report back on this question.
• Jerome also asked that centres check the web page to confirm the  information published is correct.
ACTION: All delegates and their colleagues should check the OISTAT website for accuracy.
• Andrzej said that he would report back to his centre about the SICA -SICA Project as he thought Poland would want to get involved.
• John asked how everybody would report back the details of our meeting to their respective centres. This was followed by a discussion about how various centres were organised, i.e. how delegates were chosen, etc.
Saturday Visits
Antwerp: Opera, Bourla (old Theatre), Rubens House and the Sportpaleis (new video technology in live performance + 300 moving lights.)
Ghent: Opera and Handelsbours. With a farewell dinner sponsored by ADB Lighting Technologies.

May I close these minutes by saying a huge thank you to Jerome and his family for their hospitality and hard work and making our visit to the 'Dark House' memorable.