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New York's Wingspace Studio to Design US Exhibit to PQ 2015

By: USITT | July 8, 2013

New York\'s Wingspace Studio to Design US Exhibit to PQ 2015

Wingspace Theatrical Design, a collective of theatrical designers based in Brooklyn's Old American Can Factory, has won USITT's national competition to design the U.S. exhibit for the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Prague Quadrennial (PQ), the world's largest performance design event, draws over 25,000 visitors to Prague every four years for an exposition of the best in global scenography. USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, oversees and sponsors U.S. participation in the PQ.

Planning for 2015 began in December 2012, when USITT held the first U.S. National PQ Exhibit Space Design Competition to find a design team for the exhibit.

Wingspace was chosen from 11 groups that entered the competition, said theatrical designer Marketa Fantova, Chair of USITT's International Activities Committee and Artistic Director for USITT-USA PQ 2015.

Fantova said submissions had to reflect the dynamic and diverse landscape of American performance, and celebrate performance design as art. USITT displayed the 11 design submissions at its 2013 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Milwaukee in March, inviting comments from 5,000 conference-goers. The jury then narrowed the selection to six finalists for another review/interview process.

The jury included Fantova and internationally-acclaimed designers Tony Walton, Carrie Robbins, and Kevin Rigdon. The four designers also will serve as curators for the exhibit's content - including hundreds of examples of work by America's theatrical artists.

Fantova said the jury was "impressed with Wingspace's mission and commitment to the collaborative process and art of theatrical design." The 22-member collective of award winning, internationally recognized designers, directors, and dramaturges work in all kinds of venues -- on Broadway, off Broadway, in regional theatre, opera, film, television, industrial design, concerts, music videos, and photo shoots.

"The idea of an 'ephemeral studio' of artists with backgrounds in scenic, lighting, costume, sound, and media design, as well as directors, writers, and thinkers, is an exciting and fresh approach," Fantova said. "We look forward to seeing how this model contributes to the development of the National Exhibit."

Over the next year, Wingspace and the USITT curators will design an exhibit space that reflects the PQ 2015 theme of Sharedspace: Music, Weather, Politics.

Wingspace project leaders are scenic designers Caite Hevner and Lee Savage, and actor-director Dylan McCullough.

"Wingspace is honored and thrilled to be the chosen designer for the US exhibition space at the Prague Quadrennial 2015," Hevner said. "We look forward to collaborating with USITT to create an immersive experience that represents the diversity of US Theatrical Design, while showcasing the imaginative and groundbreaking work of US designers."

They plan to complete their design by June 2014, and it will be built by a team from Indiana University's Department of Theatre and Drama. The curators will call for entries and select exhibit content next summer, and the entire exhibit will be shipped to Prague in March 2015 for the June event.

USITT, the professional association for performing arts design and technology, has organized the U.S. exhibit to the PQ since 1975, and also oversees U.S. exhibits in Architecture and Student theatrical design.

USITT provides networking, education, and career advancement opportunities to its 4,000 members, and holds the backstage industry's signature conference and trade show, the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo, to be held next in Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2014. For more information, please visit

Wingspace's mission is to practice collaboration in the field of theatrical design while advancing a larger conversation about design with the community. Wingspace joined the ranks of over 200 artists with studios in The Old American Can Factory on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Recent Wingspace projects included lighting and scene design for A Midsummer Night's Dream at Syracuse Stage, scenic and costume design for Venus in Fur at the Asolo Rep Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, and sound design for How to Lose a Mountain by Dance Exchange in Washington, D.C., among many others.

The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space is often described as the Olympics or World Fair for performance designers. The PQ brings together artists from every continent, whose traditions and professional lives might not otherwise converge. By exhibiting thousands of designs from dozens of countries, the PQ provides an unprecedented exchange of ideas that goes well beyond the narrow confines of theatrical design and style. With four major categories of exhibits; National, Thematic, Architectural and Student, the PQ has been a major factor in shaping the direction of world theatre and live performance for the past 40 years. The PQ awards gold medals in eight categories including Best Use of Theatre Technology and Best Stage Design. Its highest prize, the Golden Triga, is awarded to the best national exposition.

Media questions about this release or requests for images may be directed to Janet Gramza, janet@ or 800-93-USITT, ext.109

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