Wenger and J.R. Clancy’s Dan Culhane has been appointed to the role of President of USITT, effective immediately. USITT promotes dialogue, research, and learning among practitioners, educators, and students of theatre design and technology. Culhane replaces outgoing president Mark Shanda.
“We are thrilled to have Dan’s decades of expertise and commitment in performing arts to help guide us through the next three years,” says Shanda.
Culhane has 31 years’ experience in the theatre and production realm and has worked as Senior Mechanical Engineer for J.R. Clancy since 2016. Prior to that, he spent 16 years at SECOA as the Engineering Manager and Technical Business Development Manager. In both roles, he has converted architectural drawings and consultant’s specifications into manufacturing drawings and facilitated the design of specific solutions for a variety of venues.
He spent 15 years as a technical director working for theatres across the country, including the Guthrie Theater and the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, as well as StageWest in Springfield, Mass., and the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.
He serves on the ESTA Technical Standards Program, where he is co-chair of the Stage Machinery Working Group and is also a member of the Rigging Working Group. He is a member of the UL Standards Technical Panel for Fire Doors (STP 10) and serves as an alternate committee member to the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Doors and Windows (NFPA 80).
Culhane has spent the past year shadowing outgoing president Mark Shanda, who is a 35-year colleague and friend. They were graduate students together at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and became involved in USITT together, forming a professional bond in addition to their friendship.
“As I start my presidency, I am thankful for USITT’s strong base of support,” Culhane says. “The success of our annual Conference and Stage Expo affords us the opportunity to expand into areas that were not possible just five years ago. I hope to build upon Mark’s solid foundation of fundraising, which will provide additional stability to our finances and allow for continued year-round education, training opportunities, and expanded research grants.”
Culhane plans to continue to improve USITT’s conference programming for all skill levels. He’s an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion and encourages members to strive to attract and train a new and broader generation of theater professionals. He hopes to work more with high schools to develop talent and expand the scope of USITT’s outreach. Finally, Culhane hopes to expand the organization’s knowledge, research and outreach regarding event safety.
For more information about USITT, please visit www.usitt.org.