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American Seating to Sponsor USITT 2014 Student Architecture Competition

By: USITT | August 20, 2013

American Seating to Sponsor USITT 2014 Student Architecture Competition

Michigan-based American Seating, a leader in theatre seating, will sponsor the 2014 USITT Architecture and Theatre Student Design Competition.

The company has pledged $6,000 to cover the costs of the annual competition, which challenges architecture and theatre students to collaborate on designing an "ideal" theatre for their university.
The United States Institute for Theatre Technology organizes the annual contest to encourage teams of architecture and theatre students to work together on a project to "explore the emotive power of space, how space can aid storytelling, and how it can be manipulated to achieve a dramatic purpose," said USITT Competition Chair Scott Georgeson of Workshop Architects in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Teams of students around the world are invited to submit designs to a professional jury of leading theatre architects, which will select three to receive $1,000 awards and present their work at USITT's 2014 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Fort Worth, Texas, March 26-29, 2014. The team selected for the Commissioner's Award at the Conference will receive an additional $500 and formal recognition for their school.

American Seating, which sponsored the competition in 2010 and 2011, renewed its support this year, said USITT Executive Director David Grindle.

"We are truly grateful to American Seating for sponsoring this event," he said. "This competition encourages architecture and theatre students to experience the creative challenges of designing theatres, and perhaps consider pursuing that arena in their future careers."

"We are very happy to be working with USITT once again on this exciting competition," said Deb McDermott, American Seating's Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. "We are honored to play a role in educating tomorrow's theatre architects. American Seating has been making theatre seating since the 1880's, so it is a natural fit to support this competition."

The 2014 competition brief, co-authored by Scott Georgeson and Theatre Consultant Adam Shalleck , offers a choice of two challenges, one inspired by the economy. Teams can design Project A, a new 400- to 600-seat theatre for their university performing arts program funded with a gift of $35 million US. OR they can pursue Project B, in which they find that $35 million isn't enough for a new building, so they must instead renovate an existing campus building into a theatre.

For the second year in a row, Rose Steele of Landry & Bogan Theatre Consultants in Mountain View, California, will assemble and lead a jury of theatre professionals.

The winner of the 2013 competition, North Dakota State University's team Architechnition, redesigned the NDSU theatre program's home building to create a new theatre space with more room for dressing rooms, set storage, lobby, and ticket sales.

Submissions to the 2014 competition are open now through Jan. 4, 2014. Teams must submit any questions and report their intent to enter by Dec. 7 by contacting Scott Georgeson at

Competition details and rules can be found here.

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