Ben Pilat Winner of Sixth Annual Rising Star Award

Lighting designer Ben Pilat is the recipient of the sixth annual USITT Rising Star Award, sponsored by LDI2010 and Live Design. The Rising Star Award recognizes excellence and artistic achievement in the areas of scenic, lighting, sound, and projection design, or the convergence of these design disciplines. The award is given at the beginning of a career to a young designer in the first four years of professional (non-academic) work, following the completion of their highest degree. The 2010 Rising Star Award will be presented at a special event featuring lighting designer Jennifer Tipton on Friday, April 2, 2010 at USITT’s 50th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Kansas City, MO.

Ben Pilat is a freelance lighting designer living in New York City. He holds an MFA in lighting design from Boston University, and is currently the lighting supervisor for the Los Angeles Ballet. Recent projects include designs for Commonwealth Opera, the Attic Theatre Company, The Barnstormers Theatre, and Actors’ Shakespeare Project. As an assistant designer, credits include Master Class at the Kennedy Center and the world premiere Steven Schwartz opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon as well as shows at The Juilliard School, The Muny, and New York Theatre Workshop.

Roger Meeker, professor at Boston University, noted: “Ben is an exceptional young lighting designer and I was proud to have him as a student. As a designer, Ben has proven to be both creative and flexible. His work is well-planned and well-executed while remaining open to changes as they occur. Ben is an excellent collaborator; his ideas often spur creativity among other designers and move the process forward in interesting directions.”

David Johnson, associate publisher and editorial director of Live Design, notes, “We are extremely pleased that Ben Pilat is this year’s winner of the USITT Rising Star Award. He is a talented young designer who already has a wide variety of experience to recommend him. It will be very exciting to present this year’s award at an event paying tribute to the celebrated lighting designer Jennifer Tipton.”

"USITT is pleased to partner with LDI/Live Design in recognizing exciting young professionals who are entering the fields of theater and entertainment design and technology. We welcome Ben Pilat to the ranks of our Rising Stars and look forward to celebrating his burgeoning lighting design career at our upcoming 50th Anniversary Annual Conference and Stage Expo March 31-April 3, 2010 in Kansas City, MO."

LDI and Live Design have endowed USITT's Rising Star Award in perpetuity, with the winner receiving a $1000 prize. For additional information about the Rising Star Award, contact USITT at or Live Design at

Rising Star Winners 2005 -2010

2009 Sean Savoie, lighting designer

2008 Elisheba Ittoop sound designer

2007 John Horan, lighting designer

2006 Justin Townsend, scenic and lighting designer

2005 Kelly Hanson, scenic designer

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