Contact: Kelly Swindell, 336-392-6406,

University of North Carolina School of the Arts, USITT and Cirque du Soleil®
Announce North America’s First
Entertainment Innovation Conference

Winston-Salem, NC, June 22, 2012 – From September 6 through 8, 2012, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) will host North America’s first Entertainment Innovation Conference in Winston-Salem, NC. The conference is sponsored by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and features workshops with Cirque du Soleil®, their technical partners and some of the most respected professionals in the entertainment industry. College students, professors and entertainment professionals will explore the merger of arts and innovation. USITT members receive at 10 percent discount on Conference registration fees. Visit for registration and information.

About the Entertainment Innovation Conference

The conference is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between an educational institution and the foremost industry leaders in entertainment innovation and technology to create a hands-on learning experience that lets students and professionals "test drive" the newest technologies that create entertainment magic. “Other conferences merely ‘show’ what can be accomplished with technology,” said Joe Tilford, dean of the School of Design & Production at UNCSA and one of the founders of the Conference. “At this conference, participants literally get to experiment with the latest techniques and equipment and discover how to merge their artistic visions with innovations that can create mesmerizing experiences.”

More than 30 workshops, presentations and interactive sessions will be taught by the most respected professionals using the latest innovations and technologies in production, lighting, sound, automation, projections, wig and makeup, costuming, puppetry, and more, including:

·         Cirque du Soleil staff and technical partners. This company is recognized for high-quality, artistic entertainment and the most challenging, technical productions

·         Members of Tectonic Theatre Project, the award-winning theater company (The Laramie Project; I Am My Own Wife) that develops innovative theatrical events in creative collaboration with writers, designers, and actors to create work that focus on all theatrical elements

·         Meyer Sound, the world’s leading manufacturer of products and systems for high-fidelity sound reinforcement, and Tony Meola, award-winning Broadway sound designer (Wicked, The Lion King)

·         Michael J. Kelley, senior producer, principal designer and Emmy award-winning art director (“Deadwood”; “Sesame Street”) and set decorator working in Broadway, regional theatre, television, film and themed entertainment; art director and set decorator for HBO, Nickelodeon, Universal Studios, Lifetime Network, Children’s Television Workshop and Walt Disney Imagineering in Tokyo

·         d3 Technologies, leaders in virtual, three-dimensional stage visualization and mapping technologies for theatre and large-scale productions

·         PRG, the world's leading supplier of entertainment and event technology

·         ZFX Flying Effects, the top performer flying effects company in the world

·         Stage Technologies, world leaders in entertainment automation

The experience includes two flagship presentations -- the first by the award-winning Tony Meola with Meyer Sound. Meola is one of New York's most in-demand sound designers, with credits on more than 26 Broadway productions, including The King and I, Smokey Joe's Café, The Lion King, and the revival production of The Sound of Music. The second presentation is a closely guarded secret that will offer an insider’s perspective and demonstration of the theatrics behind one of the most awe-inspiring shows currently on Broadway.

About UNCSA:

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit

About USITT:

The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) connects performing arts design and technology communities to ensure a vibrant dialog among practitioners, educators, and students. Serving professionals and pre-professionals in design, production, and technology for the performing arts since 1960, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) is a place to network, exchange ideas, and grow. For more information, visit

About Cirque du Soleil:

Since 1984, the company has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in over 40 countries in more than 300 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. For more information, visit the Cirque du Soleil website at

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