2008 OISTAT Technology Commission Meeting Minutes

Mar 24, 2008

Download the Minutes

March 20, 2008
Location: Houston, U.S.A

John Mayberry / CAN  - vice-chair, acting as chair
Bert Determann / NL – appointed secretary for this meeting
Pu Lin / TW
Pavel Dautovsky / CZ
Fritz Schwentker / USA
Tamas Szabados/ HUN

Guests : 
Michael Ramsaur / USA (president OISTAT)
Loren Schreiber  / USA
Ian Evans / UK
Kazumi Satomura / JP 

1. OPENING: Welcome and introductions 
Chair John Mayberry welcomes everyone and opens this meeting.

He especially welcomes mr. Michael Ramsaur, president of OISTAT. Mr. Ramsaur expresses his gratitude to the Chair, and particularly to USITT, our host for this occasion.  

The Chair welcomes our guests,  and introductions are made by everyone attending.

Regrets have been received from Ivo Kersmaekers (who is officially congratulated on behalf of the members present with the birth of his daughter!), Martin Tschermack, Andrej Soznovsky, Erik Westerlund.

The meeting had hoped to welcome José Antonio Prades Hung of Cuba, but as he is not attending, it is feared his visa has not been received in time.  

Bert Determann is appointed secretary for this meeting.


An e-mail was received from José Antonio, dated two days before, explaining he was still awaiting his visa. Mr. Ramsaur informs the meeting that Cuba has invited the Governing Board.

No reactions/regrets were received from several Commission members. A matter to be discussed upon during the meeting: let’s keep the Commission together.

The minutes of the Cuban meeting are accepted without further remarks.

The meeting thanks Bert, the secretary of the Cuban meeting.

‘Risk assessment’ is being discussed upon. The matter is concerned to be closed.

The new European ‘Working Agreement’ has a chapter on this matter.

When new developments are protruding, the subject will be put on the agenda.

‘Tours with students during PQ’  The meeting looks back on the PQ, and concludes that our participation was a success. Several speeches were given by members of our commission, and the tours with students were well attended. It is the opinion of the meeting that we can expand our cooperation during the next PQ, with projects like workshops with students and technicians, for instance to discuss the feasibility of a set design. We can also consider to expand to workshops in combination woth technical facilities and technical support.

‘Scenofest’  Mr Ramsaur looks back on Scenofest and explains (to members who were not able to visit the PQ) what Scenofest is about and how it took place in Prague.  

‘Discussion on national tech-info’  Are we to put national tech-info on the OISTAT-site? Can this be a student project? “Handy Facts on the Website” or “What You might want to know oubout our Theatre(system)”.

Matters that are important here are for instance ‘organisation design’: where do national matters concerning theatre organisation differ to internationally ‘normal’ situations? What specific national system is in use? Are there very specific national technical circumstances? What kind of theatres house plot is available?

In each country national information is usually available, but how to make internationally accessible?

‘Theatre Words’ is already is a big help here, but more can probably be done, as Theatre Words only translates, and hands no solutions.

This matter can be appointed ‘New Business’ for the TC.



Fritz informs us about the congress’ schedule and planned meetings.

Interesting workshops are pointed out, and invitations made.

An official public meeting is planned including – and introducing – all TC members to visitors of the USITT congress.



CEN:  Bert reports on the CEN workshop on ‘Lifting and Load Bearing for Stages and other Production Areas within the Entertainment Industry’ at the European Committee for Standardisation in Brussels, Belgium.

After two years the Working Agreement is at its very final draft version.

The final document will be expected within weeks.

After the committee had put up the first draft it was put publicised in order to have it commented by external. These comments were taken into account and the drafts adapted.

The definite version will be available via the national Standardisation Centres.

Fire Regulations:  It is noted that fire regulations are not internationally equal.

Kazumi points out that for instance USA certificates are not accepted in Japan.

In the Netherlands a working group has almost finished guidelines for this matter.

Bert will email this document as soon as it is available. 

Risk assessment:  See point 5. The matter is closed. It remains a matter of interest, though. The European Working Agreement has a specific chapter on the matter. This can be discussed upon in the next TC meeting.

Costing Forms: This matter is closed, as no further progress can be made.

SPP:  The so called ‘Serbian Pilot Project’ is renamed in Cuba to: ‘Support to Practitioners Project’. It is important to focus on how we can communicate the project; initiatives and requests have to come from parties in SPP countries which are in need of aid for advice, support and possibly materials.

USA attendees point out the existence of the Backstage Handbook, a useful aid to practitioners. Can this be distributed via OISTAT? It is noted that it is already being translated in Chinese.

Chris van Goethem of the Belgium BASTT OISTAT centre, and a member of the Education Commission is involved in a ‘Skill Scene’ and ‘Skill Set’.  More info about this matter has to be found. Perhaps Ivo can tell us more.

The attendees are pointing out the importance of a ‘letter of intent’ and to spread it in the OISTAT commissions and the National Centres. The letter should explain our aim and ask for applies.

Furthermore it is important to express that there is a definite added value for local technicians when the Technical Commission is visiting.

More practical workshops can be presented to the local people in SPP countries.

Focus should be to enhance the existing situation (i.e. materials, gear and equipment), rather than point out what are the differences and shortcomings. How can you improve what you have?


Meeting closed for the day and adjourned to tomorrow-------------------------------


March 21, 2008



John Mayberry / CAN  - vice-chair, acting as chair

Bert Determann / NL – appointed secretary for this meeting

Pu Lin / TW

Pavel Dautovsky / CZ

Fritz Schwentker / USA

Tamas Szabados/ HUN


Guests :

Loren Schreiber  / USA

Ian Evans / UK

Kazumi Satomura / JP

Scott Parker / USA – Nebraska University

Scott Henkels / USA – Ohio Northern University


OPENING: Welcome and introductions


It is noted that our Chair John Mayberry spoke during the meeting of the TC of the USITT yesterday evening, pointing out the importance of internationalisation. The presence of the international TC members in this meeting was greatly appreciated.

An offer is made to contribute to internationalisation by Scott Parker, from the Johnny Carsons School of Theatre and Film Lincoln, Nebraska. He organizes ‘Super Saturday’, an annual seminar on Stage Lighting (see: www.stageseminars.com ) 

Ian Evans of the UK also offers contributions for internationalisation by creating possibilities for foreign students at his University. 

Ian has greatly contributed to Scenofest, acting as location & technical producer in Prague during the Prague Quadrennial in the Czech Republic.

Scott Henkels of Ohio Northern University informs us that his University has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in International Theatre Production. Their students are studying all over the world. It is an almost entirely technical focussed education.

The funding is very well. He also offers a contribution to internationalisation.

His offer is directly related to our SPP-project, and therefore to be taken action upon.

Because of the attendance of our guests at this meeting, point 8c – Competition of Technical Solutions - is discussed upon first



The initiative to this project was taken in Belgrade, amongst others to increase the profile of the TC.

In the Netherlands a competition like this is already existing and successful.

Bert has adapted the Dutch example and translated the synopsis and the registration form into English. A drawing of the item that led to the competition is shown amongst the attendees.

The ABTT as well as the USITT are having a similar competition, although usually focussed more upon high-tech solutions, whereas the Dutch version is a very practical one.

The working title is: ‘Technical Solutions Showcase’, and it was decided upon that the TC is the Judging Panel.

The prize could be: being flown in to the meeting of the TC.

Fritz suggests publication on the USITT website and on the National Centres websites.

Scott Henkel suggests an ESTA sponsorship.

Cooperation with the Publication Commission is generally supported. In this regard John reads out the part of Ivo’s mail concerning this matter.

It is decide upon that there should be no announcement to an annual or bi-annual competition, just that the prize will be awarded during the PQ.

-      How would it work?

-      How to raise the funds?

-      How to start? 

        The meeting discusses on how to realize this project.

-      Fritz suggests that the prize could be handed out during the PQ

-      Announcements could go out with the OISTAT newsletter

-      Loren Schreiber is mentioned as the man to be in charge of the project

-      Everyone should check their national centres

        It is decided upon that as of now the competition will be called: “The Technical Solutions Prize” 





Bert explains that in Holland the project was successful and has already come to a conclusion. Oral history of (old and elder) theatre technicians was recorded and publicised on DVD. 

John suggests that we should publicize (newsletter OISTAT, website) the existence, and offer the idea to other people. The initiative can be taken by anyone interested.



This is not so much about starting up a museum, as it is about the importance of our technical heritage. It might be of importance to keep track of the storage of used goods, and prevent that everything is being thrown away.

The Pennsylvanian State University for instance has a well kept collection of lighting equipment.

On this matter it is also suggested to publicize (newsletter OISTAT, website) the existence and the offering of the thought/idea to other people.



-    An official meeting of the TC might take place in Prague 2011

-       The ‘Technical Solutions Prize’ is handed out

-       We will initiate ‘hands-on’ workshops (for instance: hanging and focussing lights; difference between various theatres and production area’s)

-       Tours with students will be organized

We will consider more suggestions for involvement of all kinds. 

An additional discussion is held on the way the TC (and commissions of OISTAT in general) operates. There appears to be a partial lack of interest, as we hardly hear of certain members and it is not clear if every OISTAT centre has an official OISTAT delegate in the TC.

It is important that members are well associated with their national centres, keep contact, give feedback and report on various topics. It is not just a personal network group.

It is not clear if there is a delegate in place from each centre.

It is pointed out that half of the delegates have to be present at the meeting; otherwise it’s not official.

Gratitude is expressed to Ivo for his high quality newsletters.

To further enhance the commission spirit we should (re-)alert the delegates, and check their involvement – or possibility to be involved.

We should re-establish contact with in-active members.

We should contact centres we have no delegate from.

John promises to look in to the state of the members on the existing list.  

It is suggested that an updated mailing list with names and e-mail addresses of the delegates would be welcome.



 Possibilities are:

 Hungary 2010

 Prague 2011

 CITT of Canada might invite the TC for their annual august trade fair, but this will not be possible in 2009.

 There will always be possibilities for low budget meetings. That might be the case in Holland or Hungary.



 It is pointed out that Pavel, Bert and Tamas will speak to the USITT – TC later this afternoon. Topics are CEN, theatre in Europe and especially in 
 Holland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.  

 The members of the TC are welcome to the meeting of the Yale alumni later in the evening.

 Tomorrow a lecture on Scenofest will be held by Michael Ramsaur and Ian Evans.

 The TC members will also attend.

 Loren Schreiber is asked to take initiatives on the ‘Technical Solutions Prize’ and he accepted to do so. The meeting is happy to hear so.

 John concludes this successful meeting. The commission expresses great gratitude to USITT and especially our host Fritz Schwentker.

 John thanks everyone and declares the meeting adjourned.

 e-mail addresses of attendees (in random order):


 Mihael Ramsaur      mram<@>stanford.edu



 Ian Evans                  ian.evans<@>rwcmd.ac.uk

 Loren Schreiber       lschreib<@>mail.sdsu.edu

 Bert Determann       deter046<@>planet.nl

 John Mayberry          mayberry<@>yorku.ca

 Fritz Schwentker      Fritz<@>schwentker.com

 Pavel Dautovsky      dauty<@>mpk.cz

 Pu Lin                        lin<@>linfair.net

 Tamas Szabados   Szabadostamas<@>freemail.hu

 Kazumi Satomora   kazuki<@>mte.biglobe.ne.jp

 Scott Parker              sparker5<@>unl.edu  scparker<@>gmail.com

 Scott Henkels           s-henkels<@>onu.edu