School has started, summer festival season is winding down for many and theatre seasons are opening across the country. Thank you to everyone who joined us in Winnipeg for Rendez-vous 2016. It was great to see so many familiar faces gathered in the heart of Winnipeg's historic exchange district. We had a blast! This year's conference and tradeshow, hosted by the fantastic folks at the Centennial Concert Hall and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, marked our first return to the central prairies since 1999. It was great to reconnect with members from across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and to share tips, tricks, techniques and great discussions with everyone who joined us from across this great country.
Highlights for the weekend for me are many, but definitely include hosting a panel discuss on creating performance spaces in non-conventional places, where I was able to draw on some incredible local expertise in Sean Neville from the Winnipeg International Fringe Theatre Festival and Stephen Vande Vyvere from Shakespeare in the Ruins theatre company, along with former CITT/ICTS president Graham Frampton, and getting to share with everyone a truly special awards gala and live presentation of the Tragically Hip show in Kingston. It was promised that there would be tears, and I shared in that experience within the few moments of the awards presentations. Congratulations again and thank you to all of our recipients this year.
We celebrated a renewed connection with the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) and its members who hosted their own membership event over the weekend, and I am ecstatic that our first CITT/ICTS Ladies Night, organized and hosted by National Board members Heather Lamb and Elizabeth Wilkie, had almost 40 delegates join for the event. The conference also led to CITT/ICTS making an incredible and important connection; Cole Alvis, from the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA) has offered so much insight, support, and guidance to our board and the organization. Because of IPAA's other work in the industry, CITT/ICTS reached out and asked for help, and was honoured and humbled by Cole's willingness to engage CITT/ICTS in our commitment to being allies.
I am so excited to be returning to the role of President of the board. It's an extraordinary time to be involved with the organization, and I am thrilled to be taking the helm at this point. Returning to the Prairies was serendipitous and timely. It gave us the opportunity and the fortune of meeting fantastic people from the centre of our country, and I spoke to many that want to see more programming happening in the region. I expect we will see a Prairie Section emerge and thrive in the coming years. Something that I have wished for, for a very long time.
This spring, I had the privilege of visiting our brand new CITT/ICTS national office in Montréal and getting to see the fantastic work of our entire team as they brought to life EXPO-SCÈNE for the second time. I am also excited about the momentum that the regional sections from across the country have worked diligently to create. Every region shared wonderful accounts of training opportunities, social and networking events, students and member events like Ignition in Ontario, Rendez-vous technique in Québec, and Tech-Nique in B.C.
As an organization, we are poised to make a difference for our industry, for our current members and our future members. We are fortunate to be a membership comprised of such passionate, creative and committed people, and I am so excited about what we can accomplish moving ahead.
Here's to the next step!