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ASTC USITT Venue Renovation Challenge 2017

USA – Entrants to the fifth annual ASTC USITT Renovation Challenge presented their projects on 10th March at the 57th USITT Conference in Saint Louis, Missouri. The challenge is designed to engage undergraduate and graduate students in real world theatre renovation problem solving. Students work under the guidance of a faculty advisor and a mentor from the American Society of Theater Consultants. 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 $1,000 Edgar L. Lustig Honor Award was given to Johanna Miller, Erin Collopy and Zachary Briscoe undergraduate architecture students from Florida State University for their project in which they proposed to renovate the Drama Department’s Lab Theatre for back stage and front of house functional improvements. Their theatre consultant mentor was Todd Hensley, ASTC and their faculty advisor was Jim Lile.

A Merit Award was given to Erik Carter of University of Oregon for his comprehensive renovation proposal for Oregon Historical Society. Erik’s theatre consultant mentor was Paul Luntsford, ASTC and their faculty advisor was Hajo Neis, PhD.

A Merit Award was also given to Jessica Gilliard, John Munoz, Christina J Martin, Victoria Vitola, Sarah Schwartz and Kurt Thormodsen for their thoughtful renovation plans for the San Diego State University Experimental Theatre. Their theatre consultant mentor was Jim Tetlow, ASTC and their faculty advisor was Anne McMills.

Mike McMackin, FASTC, served as the chairman of the Renovation Challenge. The jurors were Andrew Gibbs, ASTC, Van Phillips, ASTC, Peter Scheu, ASTC and Robert Smulling, ASTC.

Juror Andrew Gibbs acknowledged: “Three carefully conceived and well-executed presentations were presented to the jury. We had our challenge to select the Honor Award winner. The jury reviewed all three projects thoroughly and in the process we enjoyed looking at three thoughtful renovations. Best wishes to all three teams. I look forward to the next challenge opportunity and hope to once again be a part of it."

Students and educators who would like to benefit from the next challenge should consider incorporating this opportunity in their academic schedules. Future ASTC USITT Venue Renovation Challenges will be held on odd years, the next taking place in 2019 with presentations in Louisville, Kentucky. The Challenge will alternate years with the USITT Architecture Commission’s Ideal Theatre Competition.

Samples of this year’s work, past Challenge submittals and general information are available on the ASTC website at We look forward to more participation and exciting work at the 2019 USITT Conference and Expo.

13th April 2017

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