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Winners of the 2019 ASTC – USITT Venue Renovation Challenge

USA – ASTC and USITT congratulate the first place winning team from Emerson College and the second place winning team from Florida State University in the fifth ASTC-USITT Renovation Challenge. A record seven college/university teams participated in this year's challenge that was held 22nd March at the 59th USITT Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Undergraduate and graduate students worked under the guidance of a faculty advisor(s) and a mentor from the American Society of Theatre Consultants to create a theatre renovation project. Each team selected an existing venue, developed a scope of work for improvements and presented their ideas to a live audience and Jury of ASTC members at a USITT Conference Session.

The $2,000 Edgar L. Lustig Honor Award sponsored by ASTC was given to Tyler Ericson, Jonah Free, Ryan Healey, Jackson Lasseter, and Dan Karlin from Emerson College for their project of the adaptive reuse of the Union Bank Building on Tremont St. in Boston. Their Theatre Consultant mentor was Joshua Grossman, ASTC and their Faculty Advisors were Keith Cornelius and Scott Pinkney.

The second place Director’s Award with a prize amount of $1,000 sponsored by USITT, went to the Florida State University graduate student team of Erin Collopy, Kassidy Loburn, Zachary Briscoe, John Davis, Ryan Ponsell, Clifford Glowacki, Austen Whipple, Jackson Golden, and Braeden Ingersoll. Their project was The Richard G. Fallon Theatre Renovation. The Theatre Consultant mentor was Christopher Sprague, ASTC and their Faculty Advisor was Jim Lile.

Van Phillips, ASTC, served as the chairman of the Renovation Challenge. The jurors were Paul Sanow, ASTC, Rose Steele, ASTC, Howard Glickman, ASTC, Kevin MacPhearson, ASTC, and Robert Long, FASTC.

For 2019, there were seven university and college teams with 34 student participants. The teams were from Bradley University, Emerson College, Florida State University, Ohio State University, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University, and the Yale Drama School.

The judges commented that it was difficult choosing the first and second place teams, because all the teams did an excellent job and the choices had to be made on razor thin differences. Not only was this the largest number of teams for the Renovation Challenge, but 2019 marked the first time that a team made up of all undergraduate students won first place. That was an epic achievement for the undergraduates from Emerson College.

Students and educators who would like to benefit from the next Challenge should consider incorporating this opportunity in their academic schedules. The next Renovation Challenge will take place in 2021 with presentations in Columbus, Ohio at the 61st USITT Conference. Go to to learn more and see examples of past award winning work.

9th April 2019

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