AMERICAN THEATRE | Toni Sterling Is First USITT, OPERA San Antonio Design Fellow

LIVERPOOL, N.Y.: The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) has announced the inaugural

LIVERPOOL, N.Y.: The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) has announced the inaugural USITT BIPOC Designer Fellowship, a new pilot initiative aiming to connect professional producing organizations with rising young BIPOC designers. Disney Live Entertainment has funded the pilot fellowship. 

Toni Sterling, who served as Assistant Lighting Designer at OPERA San Antonio, was the inaugural USITT BIPOC Designer Fellow.

The first fellow selected is Toni Sterling, who served as assistant lighting designer for OPERA San Antonio (OSA)’s production of Don Giovanni. In a statement, OSA general and artistic director E. Loren Meeker, said the fellowship program promises to “marry a couple of different worlds really brilliantly,” adding that she and company artistic advisor and Don Giovanni director Garnett Bruce have “both been really eager to fight for actionable change within our organization. Partnering with USITT to craft not just an observing role, not just a complementary or short internship role, but a hands-on design and staff opportunity to a young, in this case, Black designer—I think that is crucial for the industry moving forward, and I could not be more thrilled to have this opportunity within our company.”

USITT has begun developing a list of companies who have expressed interest in the BIPOC Design Fellowship. The institute plans to conduct a post-production analysis of the pilot program and encourage comment from all participants to make the program a more effective experience for future participants and host companies.

USITT was founded in 1960 as an organization to promote dialogue, research, and learning among practitioners of theatre design and technology. It connects performing arts design and technology communities to ensure a vibrant dialogue among practitioners, educators, and students. OPERA San Antonio’s mission is to produce opera of uncompromising artistic quality and to enrich their community through educational outreach and social engagement. The company is committed to preserving and sharing opera as an art form that is relevant, inspirational, and accessible to residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

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E. Loren MeekerOPERA San AntonioToni SterlingUSITT

Toni Sterling Is First USITT, OPERA San Antonio Design Fellow