Staging Concepts recently attended the 26th Annual CITT (Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology) trade show and conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As has always been my personal experience with CITT, this year was nothing short of well-organized, yet had a relaxed and welcoming ambiance. For anyone who has attended large industry trade shows such as LDI, the CITT Rendezvous stands in stark contrast in a variety of ways and offers a different kind of value for both the exhibitors and attendees.
When walking into a show like LDI – which features hundreds of exhibitors in a massive conference hall – you almost experience a sensory overload when initially scanning the vast landscape of towering displays, flashing lights, dancing lasers and demonstrations of the latest and greatest sound systems that the audio companies have to offer. As an experienced exhibitor at one of these monster trade shows, the consistently fast pace of clients and potential customers flowing through your booth can be staggering. At times you almost feel like a child with a net running around frantically in a butterfly pavilion.
The CITT Conference, on the other hand, can best be described as intimate and warm. The event normally takes place in one of Canada’s many impressive performing arts centers, where exhibitors arrive to find themselves stationed atop of the most prominent main stage. And why not? With only a fraction of the floor space used compared to a full-blown exhibition hall, the theme of CITT could not be more perfectly captured than it is when surrounded by an intricate network of counterweights and rigging. This year it took place in Winnipeg’s distinguished Centennial Concert Hall, which opened nearly 50 years ago.
If LDI were a fully attended 10-year high school class reunion, then CITT is like meeting up for some cold beers with only the people from high school that you actually liked. Instead of feeling like you’re being pulled in nine different directions at once, CITT Rendezvous creates an environment where an exhibitor can give attendees all the time and attention they deserve. Additionally, they can ask all the questions they have and receive answers in as much detail as they need. For the exhibitor, it offers the opportunity to not just peddle your products, but also to build relationships.
Big or small, tradeshows will always be one of the best ways to earn new business and maintain customer relationships. But for anyone who has not attended the annual CITT Rendezvous Conference in Canada, give it a chance! This show captures the heart and soul of Canada’s theater world and all of the passionate, talented people that make it so special.