Ellen Douglas Schlaefer, University of South Carolina’s director of opera studies and Opera at USC, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Wally Russell Professional Mentoring Award from The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, the national association serving designers and technicians in the entertainment field. The award honors a professional who serves as a guide and mentor to professionals outside of the academy and will be presented to Schlaefer at the 57th annual USITT Conference and Stage Expo in St. Louis, Mo., on March 10.
Schlaefer was nominated by several of her peers for her guidance as a director and stage manager. She is only the third recipient of this award, joining Broadway lighting designer Ken Billington, and former production manager of Arena Stage, Guy Bergquist.
USITT was founded in 1960 as an organization to promote dialogue, research and learning among practitioners of theatre design and technology. Today it has grown to include members at all levels of their careers and has embraced the new technologies being used in entertainment. USITT is now the leader in lifelong learning opportunities for the entertainment design and technology industry. The membership organization aims to advance the skills and knowledge of theatre, entertainment and performing arts professionals involved in the areas of design, production and technology, and to promote their interests.