USITT Announces 2014 Young Designers & Technicians Awards

Announcing: USITT’s Young Designers & Technicians of 2014

Eleven emerging entertainment designers and technicians have been selected winners of USITT’s 2014 Young Designers & Technicians Awards.

Three of the winners are from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, three are from Carnegie Mellon University, and two are from the Yale School of Drama. The other three are from Purdue University, the University of Virginia, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The awards will be presented at USITT’s 2014 Annual Conference & Stage Expo March 26-29 in Fort Worth, Texas. The event attracts some 5,000 theatrical design and technology professionals and students and 250 vendors of entertainment equipment and services.

The United States Institute for Theatre Technology annually recognizes up-and-coming talent with its Young Designers & Technicians (YD&T) awards. USITT members at university theatre programs across the country nominated a total of 71 young artists for 11 awards. Two awards—in costume making and scene painting—are new this year.

The 2014 YD&T winners are:

Sound Design

  • Mercer Aplin, of Purdue University— The Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award.

Lighting Design

  • Dan Efros of Carnegie Mellon University —The USITT Lighting Design Award sponsored by Barbizon Lighting Company.


  • Lindsay Hinz of the University of Virginia —The Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design & Technology Award.
  • Leah Pelz of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill — The Barbara Matera Award in Costume Making, sponsored by Judy Adamson.


  • Nicholas Christiani of Yale University School of Drama — the Bernhard R. Works’ Frederick A. Buerki Scenic Technology Award, known as the “Golden Hammer” award.
  • Patrick Rizzotti of CMU – the USITT Scene Design Award sponsored by Rose Brand.
  • David Valentino of University of North Carolina School of the Arts—The USITT W. Oren Parker Undergraduate Scene Design Award sponsored by Stage Decoration & Supplies.
  • Alexa Busnot of UNCSA— The new Master Craftsmanship Award sponsored by Bernhard R. Works, given this year in scene painting.


  • Kai Ravelson of UNCSA— The USITT Makeup Design Award sponsored by Kryolan Professional Make-Up.

Technical Production

  • C. Nikki Mills of Yale —The KM Fabrics Technical Production Award.


  • AJ Cook of CMU — The USITT Stage Management Award sponsored by Clear-Com Communications Systems. 


Each winner will receive up to $1,000 in prizes plus free registration to the Conference & Stage Expo, where they’ll be honored in a multi-media awards show on opening night March 26. At the Conference, they will meet their award sponsors, network with industry leaders, and participate in some of the 200 workshops, meetings, and activities.

USITT’s YD&T awards convey prestige and signal success in performing arts design and technology. A selection committee of experts in each field chooses winners based on nomination and recommendation letters, portfolios, and personal statements on their approach to their craft. Last year, USITT took two YD&T winners to trade shows in Europe to show their work and meet celebrities in their fields.

For more information on USITT’s YD&T awards, click here.  For more on USITT, please visit