ASTC News


The Ups and Downs of Stage Rigging

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18th July

Deciding between manual and motorized or automated stage rigging used to be an easy choice, largely driven by project needs and budget. Today, automated stage rigging has become more economical and wide-spread, making it a realistic choice for even public-school work. Read More…


Tips for Front of House Planning

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18th July

In our last issue of ASTC:Notes we included a popular list of Back of House design features that make for a better facility. We turn the theatre around and consider the Front of House lobby and related public spaces. Read More….


History of Theatre in Chicago at PAMC 2017

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18th July

It’s become a command performance for two ASTC Members at the Annual IAVM Performing Arts Manager’s Conference. Robert Long and Scott Crossfield continued their popular series of ASTC-sponsored presentations in Chicago this spring. Read More…


New ASTC Member Parrella

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18th July

Michael Parrella has been accepted into membership of ASTC. Read More…


ASTC Announces New Honorary Member

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20th June

The American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC) is pleased to announce they have selected Susan J. Lustig as an Honorary Member of the Society because of her significant, numerous and meritorious contributions to ASTC. ASTC’s Honorary Membership classification is intended to provide an avenue for the Society to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves by providing eminent service to the advancement of the profession of Theatre Consultation or in the allied Theatre Arts and Sciences. (http://theatreconsultants.org).
Since 2006, Susan has served ASTC and its Board of Directors in a variety of roles associated with the creation of graphics, marketing and overall promotion of the Society and its activities. Her efforts have focused on enhancement of the Society’s web presence and the design of its 2nd and 3rd generation websites.

Susan composed the Society’s LinkedIn, FaceBook and Wikipedia pages, created … Read More »


ASTC USITT Venue Renovation Challenge 2017

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11th April

Entrants to the 5th annual ASTC USITT Renovation Challenge presented their projects on March 10th 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 Theater … Read More »


Gender Identity Accommodation in Performing Arts Facility Planning

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18th December

For some the topic of gender identity and proper accommodations is uncharted territory, but it’s clear that more discussion and understanding is needed. Two ASTC members participated in a panel at the 2016 North American Theatre and Engineering Conference, and this article is adapted from that presentation. READ MORE….


Tips for Back of House Planning

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18th December

As theatre consultants, many of us cut our teeth working in theatres, loading-in sets, and running shows. For that reason, we have a special passion for backstage areas. While theatre technicians are among the most resourceful people anywhere, there are many things we can do to make their lives easier. ASTC:Notes surveyed a few members for some of their favorite tips for a successful backstage. READ MORE….


ASTC at NATEAC 2016

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18th December

The ASTC membership was well represented at the 2016 North American Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference held in New York City. The following is a recap of ASTC member involvement and some discussion of the event. READ MORE….


ASTC Revit Summit NYC 2016

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18th December

Revit and other BIM (Building Information Modeling) software has been a hot topic amongst Theatre Consultants for the last few years, with no clear consensus on its best use. It’s clear this sort of software is gaining in popularity with a variety of results for projects and practices. ASTC gathered interested parties for a roundtable discussion of the realities as well as best practices. READ MORE….


THE ASTC USITT Student/Consultant Renovation Challenge 2017

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18th December

ASTC, in conjunction with USITT, once again hosts a theoretical design project for university and college students. The next presentation will be held March 10, 2017 in St. Louis, MO. READ MORE….


New ASTC Member

18th December

ASTC has accepted a new member for full membership. READ MORE….


Performing Arts Design Process and Estimating Trends

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20th April

It is important to be realistic about the cost of performing arts projects from the beginning to avoid Owner disappointment, redesign and other related problems. Everyone seems to agree projects are being designed more quickly, sometimes leaving out a critical step in the design process. READ MORE….


The Case for Rational Balcony Design

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20th April

On the subject of sightline constrained rails allowed by the International Building Code (IBC), after an injury or fall from height incident, a frequent response is to re-examine the design and construction of balcony fronts. However, research has revealed that most of the concerns are those of perception, rather than of actual life safety. There do not appear to be any incidents of falls from balconies in performing arts theatres in the United States that were not related to either alcohol use, patron negligence, or atypical health conditions. In fact, the vast majority of incidents related to balcony railings occur in stadia, arenas and amphitheatres that promote standing events, alcoholic consumption, and reaching for foul balls and t-shirts shot out of cannons.

Rather than solely focusing on these incidents, we should examine the more common issue of patron discomfort while walking … Read More »


Protecting the Best Seats in the House

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20th April

From time to time the height of sight-constrained rails along a balcony becomes an issue, due to a fall or the simple perception that such railings are permitted to be quite low. Several ASTC members discussed the issues, perceptions and some possible solutions. READ MORE….


NATEAC is a Great Place to Discuss Theatre Planning Issues

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20th April

ASTC Members will be presenting and attending the 2016 edition of NATEAC in New York City in July. This conference is a fantastic opportunity to learn and network, not only for theatre consultants but also architects and Owners; all those interested in the issues of good performing arts design. READ MORE….


ASTC Remembers Ron Jerit and Ned Lustig

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20th April

Two founding members of ASTC passed away in the first months of 2016, and they are sorely missed by the membership. Both Ned Lustig, FASTC and Ron Jerit, ASTC had a great impact on the profession and the society. READ MORE…


ASTC Names New Fellows and Accepts New Members

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20th April

At the most recent ASTC Business Meeting, the society named two long-time members as Fellows, Robert Shook and Michael McMackin. ASTC also accepted one new member, Josh Allen and reinstated one inactive member, Grace Gavin Rhodes. ASTC membership is limited to full-time, professional theatre consultants who demonstrate expertise and experience in the design of performing arts facilities READ MORE…


ASTC/USITT Student/Consultant Theatre Renovation Challenge 2016

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19th April

Three teams presented their projects for the 2016 ASTC-USITT Renovation Challenge on March 18 at the USITT Conference in Salt Lake City.  The Renovation Challenge has been 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 Theatre 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 $750 Honor Award was given to KelseyLiz Habla and Charles Canfield, undergraduate architecture students from University at Buffalo for their adaptive-reuse project in which they proposed to renovate the historic Cyclorama Building in Buffalo, which currently houses an accounting firm, into a new indoor home for the theatre company … Read More »


ASTC Presents at 2016 Performing Arts Manager’s Conference

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19th April

Back by popular demand, ASTC members, Scott Crossfield and Robert Long, presented the 5th installment in their ASTC-sponsored “History of….” series on March 7th at the IAVM Performing Arts Manager’s Conference held this year in San Antonio. Their rollicking presentations have become one of the highlights of this annual industry event. READ MORE…


ASTC Members Recognized for Service to Industry Standards

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15th April

ASTC Members take seriously the need for good standards for performing arts spaces. Since the beginning of the organization, members have been heavily involved in the standards process, both within the industry and the larger code world. READ MORE…


ASTC Forum in the Big Easy – 2015

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14th April

Every fall the American Society of Theatre Consultants holds a Forum for its members, this past year in New Orleans. The Forum is centered around a particular topic of current interest. This year’s topic was “Renovations”. READ MORE….


The ASTC – USITT Student Theatre Renovation Challenge 2017

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17th March

ASTC and USITT announce the fourth Annual collaborative project between university students and ASTC member theatre consultants. Projects will be presented at the USITT 2017 Annual Conference in Saint Louis, Missouri March 8-11. By working together with a professional theatre consultant as a mentor, students will learn more about how venues are designed or renovated. Additionally students will see performance spaces differently and be exposed to other available career paths within the entertainment industry. Teams may consist of undergraduate or graduate theatre students and should be under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Working together, the teams will select a theoretical project on or near the team’s campus. They will 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 … Read More »


Some Free (Theatre) Advice

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16th September

Welcome to the first issue of the new digital edition of ASTC:Notes.   Tell your friends and colleagues. If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive the newsletter here.

For more than 30 years the American Society of Theatre Consultants has championed the need for professional consultants to be part of the design team for assembly spaces. ASTC members consult on every type of performance venue, from traditional theatres to cruise ships and from music halls to houses of worship. As professional theatre planners and consultants, ASTC members are uniquely qualified to assist architects, engineers, owners and users to design great entertainment and assembly spaces. In addition, members of ASTC frequently speak at industry conferences, are involved in the development of codes that affect assembly spaces, and write articles for a wide variety of industry publications.

This new digital edition of our … Read More »


How Far Is Too Far?

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16th September

A Discussion of Maximum Seating Distance

Rarely does the design of a performing arts facility progress very far before the architect looks up from the tracing paper – or the Revit display – and asks the theatre consultant the inevitable question, “What is the maximum distance from the stage to the last row?” Any architect who has done more than one theatre – and therefore has asked that question more than once – knows that there is no answer to that question; or rather that there are many answers. In fact, there are probably more answers than there are theatre consultants.

Every theatre consultant has her or his own way of answering this question. In some cases the consultant will venture forth with an actual dimension – and then usually proceed to qualify that dimension in a number of different ways. Others … Read More »


Getting Anyone Into the Control Booth

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16th September

Early in the design of nearly every theatre facility we must tackle the subject of control booth accessibility. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a school, small civic entity or commercial space, the issues are important. If not planned early, it can be difficult or expensive to integrate accessibility so technicians with mobility disabilities can access control booths to operate lighting, A/V or other similar functions.

While the challenge might be all of these things, it is clear that accessibility is required in some way. There is little specific reference in the current International Building Code (IBC) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standard for a “control booth”. Because these codes require all parts of every building to be accessible unless specifically excepted, accommodation is required. The language in ADA regarding Employee Work Areas (ADA 2010-203.9) has been used to … Read More »


The Renovation Challenge for 2016

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16th September

A career in theatrical design or stage crew work isn’t the only choice for technical theatre students. In an effort to expose students to other available career paths, ASTC and The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) teamed up in 2014 to create the ASTC-USITT Student Theatre Renovation Challenge. The Challenge is a long-term project where ASTC Members “mentor” teams of university students to plan and design a theoretical renovation of an existing facility.

By working together with an ASTC professional theatre consultant, the team explores how a facility is used and impacts live presentation. Teams are given wide latitude to determine what will be renovated and how to present their work. Projects may include modifying an existing theatre or even repurposing an existing building into a new performing arts space. Along the way, the team will learn about and … Read More »


Forums Past and Present

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16th September

 

Every autumn the American Society of Theatre Consultants sponsors an ASTC Forum for members to explore in depth an idea or theme pertaining to performing arts facilities. The Forum typically revolves around tours of performing arts buildings and seminars related to the theme.

The ASTC Forum 2015 will be held September 25-27 at the Hotel Dupuy in New Orleans. Our theme is “Renovations” and our tentative plans include tours of recently renovated Saenger Theater, which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina and the Old US Mint, which has been renovated to include a music venue. Our members will also share presentations of particularly unusual or challenging renovation projects. As we always do at each of our gatherings, we make time to discuss various topics of interest and to share the benefit of our experience and practices with our colleagues across the … Read More »


New ASTC Members 2015

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16th September

The American Society of Theatre Consultants was founded in 1983 and currently has 74 full members and two associate members representing 31 consulting companies. Now in our 32nd year, we have initiated an honorary Fellow designation and have awarded this distinction to five ASTC members. At our previous ASTC Forum, the following four individuals were elected to full membership: Todd Berling of Harvey Marshall Berling Associates; D. Andrew Gibbs from D.A. Gibbs and Associates; Fritz Schwentker of Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams Inc.; and Christopher Sprague of Schuler Shook. S. Lars Klein, an independent consultant and project manager, was elected as an associate member. A complete list of members and their contact information is available on the ASTC website, ASTC MEMBERSHIP ROSTER.

By Kent Conrad, ASTC

Click to go to “ASTC:Notes Fall 2015″ newsletter for all … Read More »


The ASTC – USITT Student Theatre Renovation Challenge 2016

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28th April

ASTC and USITT announce the Third Annual collaborative project between university students and ASTC member theatre consultants. Projects will be presented at the USITT 2016 Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah March 16-19. By working together with a professional theatre consultant as a mentor, students will learn more about how venues are designed or renovated. Additionally students will see performance spaces differently and be exposed to other available career paths within the entertainment industry. Teams may consist of undergraduate or graduate theatre students and should be under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Working together, the teams will select a theoretical project on or near the team’s campus. They will 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.

…Read More


The ASTC USITT Student/Consultant Theatre Renovation Challenge 2015

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7th August

Deadline Extended!

ASTC is pleased to announce an extension to the deadline for Applications to the 2015 ASTC USITT Venue Renovation Challenge.  The extra time will permit more teams to submit.  This is a unique opportunity for theatre tech student to explore the spaces that they work in from a very different perspective under the guidance of an ASTC member Theatre Consultant. As Jules Lauve, ASTC Mentor to the team from Stephen F. Austin State University said during last year’s competition, “This has been a truly rewarding and fulfilling process. The students I am working with have been 100% committed and have grown tremendously. They’ve proven to be true winners regardless of any judging results. As is typical at this level, mentoring is a two-way street, and I am sure I learned as much or more from the mentees as they from me.”   … Read More »


ASTC – USITT Venue Renovation Challenge

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5th April

On March 29, 2014 awards for the first annual ASTC/USITT Venue Renovation Challenge were presented in Fort Worth, Texas at the 54th annual USITT Conference and Expo. Three teams of student USITT members participated in a challenge designed to engage students in real world theatre renovation problems under the guidance of practicing professional theatre consultants. Each team selected an existing venue and developed a scope of work for practical improvements to a building as a performance venue. Students presented their design concepts to a live audience at a USITT Panel.

The participants from the three teams included 1. Amanda Warren and Jason Monmaney from Stephen F. Austin State University with Jules Lauve, ASTC; 2. Sandy Everett, Meghan Potter, Jeff Lindquist, Brad Shaw & John Houtler-McCoy from Indiana University with Van Phillips, ASTC; and 3. Andy Baker, Evan Bunner, Shane Cinal and … Read More »


ASTC Announces Acceptance of New Members

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7th November

The American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC) is pleased to announce the following six theatre consultants who have been admitted into membership after having demonstrated a broad range of capability and experience necessary to fulfill the ASTC requirements.

Accepted as Full ASTC Members:

Tony Forman, Senior Consultant with Theatre Projects Consultants, Inc. Tony has over 25 years of experience working in international, regional and college theatre. Joining TPC in 2007, he has provided project management, programming, theatre planning and consultation on facility management and operations. He has served as project manager on the renovation, refurbishment and new construction of more than thirty venues for TPC.

Robert Hill, Senior Associate with Auerbach • Pollock • Friedlander. Robert joined the San Francisco office in 2006 working as project manager, senior consultant and designer. He brings more than fifteen years of technical theatre and theatrical lighting … Read More »


The ASTC USITT Student/Consultant Theatre Renovation Challenge 2014

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28th October

ASTC and USITT announce a collaborative regional project that will culminate in a panel presentation at the USITT 2014 Annual Conference in Fort Worth, March 26th to March 29th. Student members of USITT will work with ASTC member theatre consultants in their areas. They will select a space on the students’ campus as the subject of a theoretical renovation. The student/consultant team will tour the selected space, study and discuss the existing conditions and current use. Through a collaborative and interactive process, the students and consultant will develop a plan for the potential renovation of the subject space for an actual or fictitious performing arts program of the team’s choice. The conceptual renovation plan may focus on any aspects of the space to achieve a specific objective or objectives. Some possibilities for renovation concepts are:

Functional improvements to an existing theatre
Meet … Read More »


Welcome to the new ASTC Website!

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17th May

Welcome to the all new American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC) website!  We are very proud of our contemporary look and improved functions. The site is now compatible with mobile devices and we’ve added new images from our members’ portfolios.   These new graphics on our home page represent a broad range of our members’ work including television studios, theatre art complexes, historic theatre refurbishments, concert halls, community theatres, Las Vegas-style showrooms, cruise ship theatres, dance stages and outdoor amphitheaters.

ASTC is an association of the most talented and brightest theatre designers found anywhere.  ASTC has fostered the advancement of theatre design and the growth of our industry by sharing experience amongst our members for the past 30 years primarily through twice-yearly meetings.  The meetings are held in various locations across North America to collaborate with industry leaders and explore specific aspects … Read More »