Joe Aldridge of Las Vegas, Nevada, took office as president of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) on July 1. USITT’s new president has toured Japan with Siegfried and Roy, helped stage Oedipus at Colonus in Greece, taken plays to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and been artistic director for Shakespeare Under the Stars in Wimberley, Texas.
Those experiences are just part of what Aldridge brings to the job of leading USITT into its second half century. He has also been with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, not continuously, since the 1970s, serving first as technical director and, most recently, helping create and nurture the Entertainment Engineering and Design Program, a joint effort of the colleges of Fine Arts and Engineering.
Aldridge has been a member of IATSE Local 720, the local that serves the Las Vegas entertainment industry for four decades. While he now rarely works calls, he is a trustee and chair of the Nevada Resort Assn./IATSE Local 720 Training Trust, working to advance the skills of those creating magic every day in Vegas.
Aldridge has a long history of service to the Institute and the profession. As USITT’s vice-president for conferences, a post he held for three terms, Aldridge was responsible for planning and administration of the Institute’s Annual Conference & Stage Expo which draws more than 4,000 people to a different North American city each year. He has been active in the Institute since 1985, has served as a USITT representative to the Entertainment Technician Certification Program council since it was formed, and he was named a Fellow of the Institute, a lifetime honor, in 2008.
He will lead the 3,800-member organization of designers, managers, and technologists in performing arts and entertainment for the next two years. USITT members choose its volunteer leadership in annual balloting. USITT is best known for its Annual Conference & Stage Expo which includes more than 150 sessions, panels, and workshops plus a 100,000 square-foot trade show. USITT’s volunteer officers work to fulfill the Institute’s mission including actively promoting the knowledge and skills of its members through sponsoring projects, programs, research, and symposia; participating in the development of industry standards; providing opportunities for professional contacts and networking; and promoting and sponsoring international alliances and activities.
Aldridge, who received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech and his Masters from UNLV, and USITT’s other new officers and Directors at Large were formally acknowledged at USITT’s Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Kansas City, Missouri in March. USITT’s members are drawn from the entire spectrum of behind the scenes professionals including scenery, costume, sound and lighting designers; scenery, costume, sound and lighting technicians; properties, makeup and special effects craftspersons; stagehands, architects; theatrical consultants; acousticians, performing arts educators and staff; and performing arts manufacturers, suppliers and distributors throughout the United States, Canada and 40 other countries.
To learn more about United States Institute for Theatre Technology, including information about membership, grants and fellowships, or the Annual Conference & Stage Expo, visit www.usitt.org or call 800-938-7488.