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Making Northern Boundary what it is today

Conversations began regarding the idea of forming a section in 1979.  As Ed Krehl (the Hammer in 1983) recalled: 

"It was back in 1979 that Dick Durst, Tom Bliese, Patricia Dennis, Fred Lange, Susan Smith and I sat up in Dick's office and started talking in earnest about forming this organization.  At that time Dick was the leader in the truest sense of the word.  He was a diligent worker in getting our charter and spurring on the enthusiasm. We had no money, and not much time, just a strong desire to get off square one."  From the Hammer,  Ed Krehl, NBS Newsletter, Volume III-2, Summer 1983


* 1979: Dick Durst begins organizing in Minnesota

* November 6, 1979: first election of officers

*November  7, 1979: Charter is received 

*November 8, 1979: USITT Board of Directors approves Section status

* December 15, 1979: first Executive Committee meeting of newly formed Minnesota Region is held and UMD; North & South Dakota are added to the       Region; name is changed to Northern Boundary Section

* January 24, 1980: first Annual Business Meeting is held at KCACTF at St. Catherines in St. Paul, MN. 

*March 1980: first USITT conference attendance as a Section in Kansas City 

*1981: approval to add Iowa to the Section was granted


Officer History

Former Chairs 

Dick Durst (1979-1982), Ed Krehl (1982-86), Lance Brockman (1986-92), Steve Griffith (1992-1995), Mary Beth Gagner (1995-95), Treva Reimer (1995-2003), Rooth Varland (2003-11), Todd Reemtsma (2011-2016), Corey Shelsta (2016--2023), Lucas Granholm (2023-present)


Former Senior Vice-Chairs

 Tom Bliese (1979-84), Lance Brockman (1984-86), Steve Griffith (1986-92), Peg Murphy (1992-95), Treva Reimer (1995-95), Jim Casey (1995-98), Greg Gillette (1998-01),  Jim Trenberth (1999-03), Kathy Stewart (2003-07), Tracey Lyons (2007-08), Jascenna Haislet (2008-11), MaryBeth Gagner (2011-13), Peter Lerohl (2013-19), MaryBeth Gagner (2019---2023), Matt Gilbertson (2023---present)

Former Vice Chairs- Publications

Todd Edwards (2020-2023), Jacee Casarella (2023---present)


Former Secretaries

Susan Lassman Smith (1979-1982), Jean Montgomery (1982-92, pro tem 2001-03), Bill Wallace (1992-2001), Esther Iverson (2003-06), Peter Lerohl (2007-11), Ricky Greenwell (2011-16), Tiffany Fier (2016---)


Former Treasurers

Fred Lange (1979-1982), Tim Kudalis (1982-86), John Justad (1986-88), Jean Montgomery (1988-2020), Rick Greenwell (2020--2023), Katie Link (2023---present)


Former Members-at-Large

Larry Hill (1982-8x) Tim Kudalis (1981-82) Jeff Taylor (1982-88) Lance Brockman (1982-86) Tom Bliese (1984-88) Vance Gerchak (1988-95) Peg Murphy (1988-92) Bill Wallace (1988-92)  Tim Case (1992-98) Kim LaFontaine  (1992-97) Paul Sannerud (1992-95) Arden Weaver (1992-2003) Kelly Allison (1995-98)  Adrian Durlester (1995-98) Jim Trenberth (1998-01, 2003-06) Greg Gillette (1999-03) Dave Borron  (2001-03) Linda Pisano (2001-03) Ron Stoffregren  (2001-03)   Todd Johnson (2003-06)  Dan Keyser (2003-06) Peggy Sannerud (2003-2006) David Griffith (2004-06) Sheila Tabaka (2004-06, 2007-10) John Dalziel (2005-06) Ben Cox Mark Harvey (2006-14)  Tracey Lyons (2007-07) Corey Shelsta (2007-16) Rickey Greenwell (2008-10) Todd Reemtsma  (2009-10) Brent “Mickey” Henry (2011-12)   Kit Mayer (2011-14) Rooth Varland (2011-14) Mark Parrott (2012--14) Tiffany Fier (2013-16)  Alicia Wold (2013---2020)Matthew Gilbertson (2016---2023) Scott Boyle (2019---) Ben Golden (2019---present) Lucas Granholm (2019---2023) Lisa Lanz (2016-2018) Caitlin Quinn (2016---2020), Tyler Micheel (2023-present)

Former Junior Vice-Chairs

 Ed Krehl (1979-82), Fred Lange (1982-86), Pat Dennis (1986-95), Brian Bjorklund (1995----2020) *position changed to Publications*


Former Newsletter Editors

Lee Adey (1980-82), Steve Griffith (1982-86), Brian Bjorklund (1986---2020) *position changed to Publications*

*1990: Board Member-at-Large changed to Regional representation: North, West, South, East, Metro 

*2012:  additional Member-at-Large South position added

Commission History

Architecture Commissioner:  Kevin Sullivan (1981-82); Dan Keyser (1988-92); Ed Krehl, Co-Commissioner (1988-92); Kerry Lafferty (1992-95)

Costume Commission:  Pat Dennis (1981-82); Joy Erickson (1988-92); Chris Vesper-Co-Commissioner (1988-92);  Mary Beth Gagner (1992-95), Kathleen Gossman (1995-2006)

Scene Design/TD Commission:  Dennis Chandler (1981); Don Larew (1988-92); Paul Sannerud, Co-Commissioner (1988-92); Dan Keyser (1992-95)

Lighting & Sound Commission: Brian Bjorklund  (1982-88 ), Dick Borgen (1982-88), Dave Johnson (1988-95), Dennis Chandler, Co-Commissioner (1988-92); Peggy Sannerud, Co-Commissioner (1992-95); Jim Trenberth (1995-01), Randy Susevich (1999-2006)

Sound Design & Tech Production (1995): Martin Gwinup (1996-2006)

Membership Committee Chair:  Dick Durst (1982-xx)

​Education Committee Chair (1995):  Amy Rohrberg (1998-2006)

​Int’l Liaison Committee Chair (1995):  Dan Keyser (1996-2006)

​Student Liaison Committee Chair (1995):  Rachel Mero (2003-2006)

Conference History

The Section combined with the ACTF-Region V North in January 1982 to form the first Annual Festivention.  Over the 27 years the Section has existed we have generally held at least two workshops a year – one in fall and one in January/February.  The latter were often held in conjunction with the ACTF.  Information on Section Workshops – now called Section Conferences -- may be found at another location on this website (under Section Conference History).

​The 1987 USITT Conference in Minneapolis was a defining moment for this section.  We gathered as a group, put on a conference that is still remembered to this day by many USITT members, and retained extremely strong section ties to this day among our members following the conference.  Many members of the section moved into positions with the national organization as a result of the work accomplished on the ’87 conference.   By 2003 when the USITT Annual Conference and Stage Expo returned to the Twin Cites, the process of doing a national conference had changed quite a bit.  No longer was the Section in charge – all program planning, and operations were now housed out of the National Office and a national Conference Committee.  Two members of the Section played key roles in the liaison between the Conference Committee, the Office, and local arrangements: Sherry Wagner (Publicity Regional Contact) and Kathy Stewart (Program Regional Contact).

In March of 1993 we ended our 10-year formal Section association with ACTF when Region V North and South merged into one area that also included Colorado.  We voted to stay closer to home and concentrate programming within our own boundaries.  Sioux Falls in 1992 and Minneapolis in 1993 marked our last Festiventions.

With the end of the Festiventions came the rise in Section Conferences. Generally held in the fall at different University locations, they include Membership meetings, workshops, student expos, and social events. The fall of 2020 marked a pause in the Conferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A plan in is place to begin these Conferences again in the fall of 2023.

Publication History

The Section has continuously published a Newsletter four times a year since 1981.  Originally entitled Des/Tech News,it was changed in December of 2001 to Northern Boundary News.  In 2009, it went electronic only, thereby allowing section resources to provide additional support for student scholarships sponsored by the Section to the national conference and the Prague Quadrennial.

We created our website in the summer of 1997, thanks to Cat Nelson.  The first major renovation came in the summer of 2002 when it changed from its then predominantly pink scheme to its current maroon and cream colors.  A few things were changed; the emphasis was changed from a dynamic site to a more static site, with pages of information that didn't need lots of attention.  Another major renovation came in 2023 under the supervision of Vice Chair of Publications, Jacee Casarella. The first membership application printed from the website was received in September of 2002.  The management of the website has now passed from being under Cat’s website to being under the National website and the job of webmaster passed to Corey Shelsta.  The site is now managed by the Vice Chair of Publications. 

Scholarship History

The NBS Section has a long history of generous support from our membership and corporate sponsors in the form of scholarships to assist member students in attending the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo.  We began this initiative in 1999 when we provided the registration fee for three students to attend the Toronto Conference.  The amount of support continued to rise as did the number of scholarships provided. In 2003 SECOA began supporting two $500 scholarships which continues through this day.  And in 2004, Stage Technology, Inc. began a similar scholarship to honor John Mullen, one of their founders.  This scholarship now receives support from NORCOSTCO and is known as the NORCOSTCO-John Mullen Scholarship.  In 2007, for the first time, the Section and its members supported a student traveling to PQ.  All we ask in return is that students take full advantage of the conference and report their adventures in the section Newsletter the following year.  As of 2013, the Section supports six $500 scholarships (3 corporate, 3 section members) to attend the annual USITT conference. One of the Section scholarships is known as the “Doughnut Scholarship” – rather than spending our money on coffee/doughnuts at the annual conference meeting, we decided to put it to better use! And in 2015 the Section designated one of the conference scholarships as an Emerging Professional Grant to support people beginning their theatre careers.  Thanks to the generosity of our members and corporate sponsors, we continue providing  scholarships to the annual conference and PQ to this day.


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