Why an ASTC Member
Founded in 1983, the American Society of Theatre Consultants is the world’s preeminent organization of theatre design and planning professionals.
ASTC Members are professional theatre consultants who have demonstrated a broad range of capability and experience necessary to qualify for membership. As professionals, ASTC Members have individual and collective interests in providing unbiased, functionally sound and practical consulting and design services to owners, users, architects, and engineers of performance and assembly facilities.
To qualify for membership, an ASTC Theatre Consultant is an individual who:
- Demonstrates general consulting capabilities and personally participates in the broad range of capabilities and experience required to program, plan, construct and equip performing arts facilities;
- Derives their principal income from the practice of theatre consulting;
- Has completed a minimum of five substantial projects in the last five years on which they have served as the general consultant;
- Has demonstrated professional practice consistent with ASTC’s code of ethics and is not an owner, employee or agent of any organization engaged in the business of selling and/or installing equipment or otherwise engaged in the business of contracting for the construction of performing arts, assembly or studio facilities.
ASTC Members specialize in the design of a broad range of performing arts and assembly facilities. These facilities run the gamut from small to large, community to regional to national, academic to professional and remodeling to new construction. Specific examples include:
- Recital Halls, Concert Halls and Concert Theatres
- Opera Houses
- Outdoor Amphitheatres
- Theatre Renovations/Restorations
- Las Vegas Style/Cruise Ship Showrooms
- Multi-Use Performing Arts Centers
- Dance Stages
- Multi-Use Auditoria
- Ball Rooms and Convention Centers
- Houses of Worship
- Lecture Halls
- Assembly Rooms
The strength of ASTC rests with the ongoing interaction among individual members and the Society’s collective mission establishing and maintaining best practices within the theatre building design industry. Towards that end, ASTC has established a code of ethics guiding members in the conduct of their duties as theatre consultants.
To qualify for membership, individuals must show that they are independent of any organization or company engaged in the provision, installation or construction of performing arts facilities. Members agree to continue to derive no part of their income from the buying or selling of specialty systems and equipment that they are in the business of recommending or specifying. This helps to ensure the provision of unbiased advice and consultation designed to achieve the needs and goals of the Client and not the personal financial goals of the consultant.
ASTC members are committed to an ongoing process of broadening their understanding of this most challenging building type through in-depth examinations of the many aspects of performance facility design. Each year, the organization sponsors The ASTC Forum at which members explore a new subject and issues are examined in detail. Past Forum topics include:
- Programming and Planning for the 21st Century; The Artistic Side of Theatre Planning; Acousticians; Facilities for Dance; Casino Theatres; Outdoor Theatres; Rooms for Music; Front of House Design Issues and many more. Click HERE for the complete list of ASTC Forum topics.
- In addition to participation in the round-tables and seminars, each year’s Forum is planned with an intentional goal for attendees to travel to new and different North American cities in order to facilitate tours of newly constructed and renovated performance venues. Arranged tours typically include almost every area in a theater building including Shops, Booths and Dressing Rooms. It almost always includes destinations that require crawling to reach the theatre’s lowest points and/or climbing to its highest elevations hoping to learn of new and novel solutions to be pursued all the while identifying situations to avoid. Participation in these tours also offers members a chance to experience facilities that they might not otherwise get a chance to see and presents them with a context within which they can compare and contrast their own proposed solutions with those employed by other members.
- On a more day to day level, The American Society of Theatre Consultants provides a “round-table” for the exchange of ideas and information between members and for membership discussion.
Discussions allow members to monitor trends in the theatre industry and to stay on top of important advancements and to help differentiate them from the latest fads or crazes.
ASTC members network and interact with members and committees of numerous other theatre and production service and supply organizations whose vested interests in the performing arts serve to advance collective interests in the production of live performance and the assembly facilities designed to host associated events. Affiliated organizations include:
- USITT – United States Institute for Theatre Technology
- OISTAT – International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians
- NATEAC – North American Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference
- NFPA – National Fire Protection Association
- PLASA – Professional Light and Sound Association
- IAAVM – International Association of Venue Managers
ASTC maintains an associate membership status intended to facilitate the mentorship of new candidates for membership and eventual elevation to full membership status. The ASTC internship program is intended to foster awareness and interest in the possibility of selecting theatre consulting as a career choice.
Each year, ASTC co-sponsors the ASTC – USITT Student Theatre Renovation Challenge held at the USITT conference. By working together with an ASTC theatre consultant as a mentor, students learn how venues are designed or renovated. Additionally students will see performance spaces differently and be exposed to facility and system design career paths within the entertainment industry.
- Teams will select a theoretical project on or near the team’s college campus. They survey and study the current conditions and develop a plan to renovate the subject space to meet the team’s stated goals. Potential projects include:
- Substantial improvements to an existing theatre
- Conversion of non-performance space into a new performance space
- Changing the form and function of an existing theatre.
ASTC has also established membership categories for Honorary members and Emeritus members. An In Memoriam designation commemorates members who have passed away and the designation of Fellow of the American Society of Theatre Consultants identifies individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to the profession and/or given exemplary service to the Society for a significant number of years.
ASTC has a continuing interest and involvement in the evolution of building codes and has been a major catalyst in the development of all of the major building and life safety codes pertaining to performance facility design and operation. ASTC’s involvement with this effort includes participation on national model code committees as well as workgroups participating in ongoing industry efforts to establish standards and recommended practices.
- Model Codes
- SAF-AXE – Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies and Membrane Structures
- FDW-AAA – NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Doors and Windows
- ICC – International Code Council
- ANSI A117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities
- ADAAG – ADA Accessibility Guidelines
- Industry Workgroups
- Technical Standards Group
- Stage Lift Working Group
- Rigging Working Group
- Floor Working Group
- Followspot Working Group
- Controls Protocols Working Group
The American Society of Theatre Consultants is proud of its accomplishments and looks forward to a continuing and increasing role in the advancement of the design of performance facilities and allied projects. ASTC Members have collective interests in the promotion of a robust future of live performance and the evolution of the facilities designed for its support. Growing ecological and economic pressures combined with increasingly sophisticated technologies are driving the future of live performance in new and exciting directions. ASTC members remain on the forefront of the effort to create functional, attractive and cost effective performance facilities that will serve the needs of their users for years and years to come.
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