How to host the OISTAT Architecture Commission by Greg Cook

Oct 7, 2019

This summary of lessons learned is a reflection on how we were able to Host the Architectural commission in the USA in my place of work Chicago, Illinois.

The US delegation began the planning process to host the Architectural commission meeting in the USA just after the completion of the 2014 OISTAT meetings in Cardiff Wales. I prepared a conceptual outline and approached the USITT our national authority for support. Receiving that permission to proceed we indicated our interest in hosting to Tim Foster the following year at the 2015 OISTAT meeting in Berlin . Tim was able to answer my questions however, there was no clear understandable structure on requirements or expectations.

Tim related the host country traditionally will either cover or subsidize one or two nights of housing and some of the meals.

Tours of performance spaces and exposure to local culture is both expected and desirable.

Obtaining OISTAT Architectural commitment: Tim indicated he had the next two years already planned and committed so the first Available date was 2018 which we accepted.

After we had an OISTAT date. I worked with our national organization to structure a concept and identify representative venues to support the concept.


1. Performance venues: We wanted to demonstrate the variety and state of the art for performance spaces in Chicago

2. Architecture: Chicago has occupied a pivotal position in the development of an American Architecture, so we wanted to expose our guests to Chicago architecture both historical and contemporary architecture. We accomplished this with a Architectural river tour to see the city from a unique perspective with trained Architectural tour guides. We supplemented with several historical lectures of both architectural merit and the history of theater in Chicago.

Logistics: Once we had our concept and key drivers then we needed a plan how to implement this event.

a. Fix the date: The OISTAT meetings and Tours cover two days. Since delegates are traveling long distances from all time zones, it is necessary to consider travel both before and after the event. We set up the boat tour and reception for Wednesday introduction to the city and facilitate arrivals Thursday and Friday was designated for our meetings and tours therefore that left Saturday and Sunday available for those that choose to stay or for travel back to their home.

b. In order to choose a specific date you need to consult the calendar for happenings in your area. We chose a date after the Chicago Marathon and before Time out Chicago. These are two important events in the city which fill up the hotels. We wanted to take advantage of the Architectural offerings from time out Chicago and avoid the grid lock associated with the marathon.

c. Negotiate the Hotel rooms: We anticipated about 20-25 rooms would be needed.

d. Locate the meeting spaces: We chose to host the reception in our Architectural firm, the meetings were at the hotel in conjunction with breakfast.

e. Design the tours: As we were planning we set up an alternate tours for each day in case things changed.

f. Locate the food and beverage locations: It was important to make lunch convenient to stay efficient with the tours.

g. Prepare marketing material: Marketing the agenda is necessary for the delegates to be able to make the commitment of time and cost. It is important to and get these materials to Tim as soon as possible so he can advertise and solicit support from the Architecture commission delegates and the OISTAT central office

h. Statistics and Tours: Before each tour we had either the Architect or one of the consultants (theater or acoustician) provide a summary of the project and the design challenges that were addressed through design.

Final Wrap-up: We were able to get everyone together in a round table discussion of each participants impressions of that experienced as part of the meetings. I believe this was one of the most valuable interactions with those who attended. It was interesting to hear what others saw as noteworthy from this experience

Results: This event had 33 participant due to the fact that the Society of American Theatrical consultants ASTC, decided to host their annual meeting in conjunction with ours. This opportunity projected itself as I was planning the tours. Some of the members of ASTC heard of our plans and felt it would be of interest to their members as well.

I think the collaboration was beneficial to the entire group.

Several people stayed for the weekend after our event to attend time out Chicago.





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