Adam J. Thompson To Receive 2023 USITT Rising Star Award Sponsored By Live Design/LDI

Live Design and LDI are pleased to announce that video and graphic designer Adam J. Thompson will be the recipient of the 2023 USITT Rising Star Award. Established by LiveDesign/LDI in 2005, this annual award recognizes a young professional working in the disciplines of scenic, lighting, sound, or projection/video design. Thompson will be honored during the 2023 USITT Conference & Stage Expo, in St Louis, MO, March 15-18, 2023

Adam J. Thompson is a video and graphic designer working in in film, television, theatre, and digital narratives. He has worked previously as a creative director and a producer and is the founding artistic director of The Deconstructive Theatre Project, a non-profit multimedia storytelling laboratory which he founded and led from 2006 to 2016. His work as a multimedia performance director and as a video and projection designer has been produced and presented off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, regionally, and on tour with companies and at venues that include New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Atlantic Theatre Company, Theatre for a New Audience, La Mama, Ars Nova, HERE, The Flea, American Theatre Wing, Terminal 5, Beth Morrison Projects, National Sawdust, Boston Lyric Opera, City Theatre, and Diversionary Theatre. He is an alumni of The Public Theater’s Devised Theatre Working Group and the HERE Artist Residency Program and is has collaborated with the multimedia performance collectives Big Art Group and The Builders Association. Thompson is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation among others and he was an invited exhibitor and ambassador to the 2018 Beijing International Design Biennial. He is a member of IATSE USA Local 829 (see full bio). 

"I'm very touched and honored to be chosen as the recipient of this year's USITT and LDI/Live Design Rising Star Award. My work in video and projection design seeks to fuse the narrative vocabularies of gaming, cinema, and live performance, and to center dramaturgy in the design process. I am excited by, and aim to create, video designs that are rooted in liveness: designs that are an active, responsive, and participatory stage partner. This recognition from USITT and LDI/Live Design tells me that there is a robust enthusiasm for this kind of work in our field, and that there is an eagerness to support all of us who are striving to create new multidisciplinary and human-centric live experiences," says Thompson.

 New Yorker cartoon by Liza Donnelly
Video designer Adam J. Thompson (second from left) with fellow designers of the American Theater Wing and Village Voice's 2018 Obie Awards. ( New Yorker cartoon by Liza Donnelly)

“In the few years since he graduated from the Video & Media Design MFA program (VMD) at CMU, Adam has built an extremely diverse and prolific practice, ranging from compelling design work off-Broadway and across the country, with cutting edge directors like Taylor Mac and Anne Bogart, to creating detailed graphics and other visual elements for streaming TV and film,” says Lawrence Shea, faculty member at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. “He is a dedicated artist and vital contributor to the entertainment community, and he demonstrates the impressive potential of this relatively new career path of Video & Media Design.”

Justin Lucero, artistic director, El Paso Opera, where Thompson designed Frida in 2022, comments: “As an innovator, Adam is revolutionary. He has a way of approaching process that is refreshing and truly eye-opening. His questions and curiosity and dreaming are intrinsic. His ability (and desire) to thinking dramaturgically and directorially is stimulating. And his demeanor throughout is conducive to work, while maintaining a mindset of social awareness, equity, work-life balance, anti-racist beliefs, and collaborative spirit.

Rising Star Award Winners 2005-2022

2022: Kristin Martino, scenic designer

2021: Elizabet Puksto, scenic/production designer

2020: Joe Klug, scenic designer

2019: Maranda DeBusk, lighting/projection designer

2018: Paige Hathaway, scenic designer

2017: Bryce Cutler, scenic & media designer

2016 Stephen Moss, lighting designer

2015 Chris Wood, lighting & sound designer

2014 Janie Bullard, sound designer

2013 Aaron Porter, lighting designer

2012 Jason Simms, scene designer

2011 Daniel Brodie, projection designer

2010 Ben Pilat, lighting designer

2009 Sean Savoie, lighting designer

2008 Elisheba Ittoop, sound designer

2007 John Horan, lighting designer

2006 Justin Townsend, lighting & scenic designer

2005 Kelly Hanson, scenic designer