Teams Sought for Ideal Theatre Design Contest

by Jacob Coakley

The USITT Architecture & Theatre Student Design Competition, sponsored by American Seating, is now accepting applications to participate. The competition asks theatre and architecture students to imagine a new theatre space for their campus. Designs are due Jan. 18, 2016, but teams must fill out an intent to participate application by Oct. 30.

Architecture & Theatre Student Teams Sought for USITT 2016 ‘Ideal Theatre’ Design Contest

Theatre students are the clients and architecture students are the designers in USITT’s Architecture & Theatre Student Design Competition sponsored by American Seating.

Teams of students must submit applications signaling their intent to enter by Oct. 30. Apply here.

Design submissions are due Jan. 19, 2016. Three teams will be selected to attend the finals at USITT’s 2016 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Salt Lake City next March.

The competition asks students to work together to design a performing arts center for their campus. Students can form their own teams or participate as a class project. The goal is to encourage young architects and theatre artists to cooperate in exploring how designing a performance space can achieve a dramatic purpose.

The theatre students must convey all aspects and needs of theatre production, artistic presentation, and audience interaction to the architects. The architecture students’ job is to design the ideal facility for the theatre program with the “client” as an active participant.

The premise is that the team’s college or university receives a major gift for a new Performing Arts Center. The team can choose to construct a new building or an infill building, repurpose an existing non-theatre building, or substantially alter an existing theatre.

Based on submitted designs, a jury of professional architects will select three Honor teams to receive a $1,000 and present their work at USITT 2016 in Salt Lake City March 16-19. The top team will win another $500 and the USITT Architecture Commissioner’s Award for their school.

For the competition brief and other info, visit A printable poster can be found here.

USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is the national nonprofit serving the technical theatre community. Its website is at

USITT 2015, USITT’s annual Conference & Stage Expo, gathers some 5,000 members of the backstage industry for networking, training, recognition, and exploring the latest in   live entertainment technology. For info, visit

Competition sponsor American Seating is a leading manufacturer of architectural and entertainment seating. Please visit