Two men look at three theater lights attached to a fly line on the stage of a theater

Attendees look at new lighting systems at the USITT South Master Classes in Clemson University’s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.
Image Credit: Ken Scar / Clemson University

CLEMSON, South Carolina – The Clemson University performing arts department and Productions Unlimited, a theatrical systems integrator, teamed up to host the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Southeast Section Master Classes Aug. 24-26. This was the first time Clemson’s theater department hosted the event, which brings together theater professionals, experts and vendors from across the southeastern United States.

This year’s event offered classes in a wide variety of subjects, including prosthetics and special effects mold-making, rigging, 3-D laser cutting and wig making.

Special guests and presenters included innovators showing off new products and technology; teachers from across the country; and designers and technicians from the worlds of film, television and theater. Some were Clemson graduates like Mike East, owner of TTS Studios in Charleston, a professional scene shop responsible for a number of national theater tours and the Spoleto performing arts festival in Charleston.

Brad Darvas, with bushy beard, stands amid a group of monster masks

Brad Darvas, head of design for the University of West Georgia department of theatre poses with some of his creations during the USITT master classes at Clemson University’s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.
Image Credit: Ken Scar / Clemson University

“Hosting an event like this at the beginning of the school year gave our new students an opportunity to work with and get to know our returning students, faculty and staff,” said Shannon Robert, Clemson associate professor of theater. “We were proud to showcase our beautiful facilities in an environment that really shines a light on how we collaborate as a team. I was proud to see everyone working together behind the scenes to make sure all guests had a positive experience.”

The keynote speakers were Emmy Award-winning scenic designer John Iacovelli and Michael J. Riha, professor of theater at the University of Arkansas.

USITT is a nonprofit membership organization which aims to advance the skills and knowledge of theater, entertainment and performing arts professionals involved in the areas of design, production and technology, and to generally promote their interests.