Michael Nishball
USA - After nearly 45 years of landmark project deliveries and designs, Michael Nishball, principal equipment designer at Theatre Projects, is retiring at the end of this month. As a company emeritus, Michael will continue to offer his expertise as an international leader in stage machinery and will act as a sounding board on major projects and the continued expansion of Theatre Projects.
“‘Departing,’ ‘leaving,’ ‘ceasing,’ ‘re-careering,’ ‘transitioning,’ ‘bowing out’... anything but ‘retiring,’” shares Michael. “My confidence in being a stage equipment designer and theatre technical planner emerged directly from my youth spent as a rigging installer and contractor.
“I often say that we are in the construction industry and the skills required to make a contribution to the project should be informed as much from how it gets built as how it functions theatrically. Be a stagehand, be a designer, be an artist in the theatre, but be a builder, an observer of everything that has gone before you- then copy the best parts and improve it for the users.
“Some of my most enriching times with TP have been actively touring theatres. I was granted the opportunity early in my career to make what I called my ‘Grand Tour’ of important projects in the US and Canada to see and understand firsthand the scale of the overstage and understage machines and accommodation. TP has also been wise enough to get the entire office out to see projects as part of the PACrawl initiative, which is so instructive.
“I am grateful for the extraordinary opportunities I have had working for the calibre of company that we are. I am flying high at this moment in my career, and it is at an altitude that allows me to look back, look down, and look forward, too. It feels good. Thank you to my colleagues in the practice and all of my friends in manufacturing, contracting, and engineering.”

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