Design Competition

Browse through the photo gallery above to see images of the first-place designs from the 2016 Design Competition held at our annual convention. You can also check out our photo album on Facebook to see more photos. We can't wait to see what the winning designs will look like in 2017!

Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Each year, graduate and undergraduate students display their design work at SETC's Annual Convention, get critiqued, meet professional designers, network, and compete to win cash and experience awards!

Entrants have a chance to be critiqued by Distinguished Career Designers — modern masters of design with national and international reputations. The experts use an open, one-on-one critique format to offer invaluable learning for all in attendance — whether a student, professor or professional.

Winners of the competition receive cash, product or experience awards (depending on the competition), a certificate of achievement, and recognition in SETC News. Categories are listed below.

Questions should be directed to SETC Design Committee Chair Michael Smith or Administrative Assistant Rachel Blake.

Ready to Work Awards

The 2016 Ready for Work Awards were sponsored by Lexington Children's Theatre, Omaha Theater Company and Triad Stage.

This unique award offers talented graduate student designers the opportunity to work professionally in the field in addition to winning a cash award from SETC. All graduate level designers entered into the SETC Annual Design Competition are also entered into Ready to Work. There are no additional application forms or fees. 

SETC collaborates each year with professional theatres to award Ready to Work. During the Design Competition each of the theatre professional representatives view the designs and choose their own candidates to interview. Each company chooses from their own finalists. (Winners can only work at one theatre as part of the award.) Winners are announced at the Design Award Ceremony Friday night at the Annual Convention. The award has kick-started several careers as winners return the following season to design at the company. Learn more about Ready to Work »

Costume Design

Sponsored by Wardrobe Witchery

The Costume Design Competition has two divisions, Undergraduate & Graduate, for which six cash prizes will be awarded: 1st Place: $125; 2nd Place: $75; 3rd Place: $50.  Download the 2016 Costume Design Guidelines »

Costume Crafts & Technology

Sponsored by Norcostco

This competition includes both undergraduate and graduate students who design costume crafts. You may enter two areas, or you may have several pieces judged together; i.e. 3 hats. The Costume Crafts Design Competition is a combined undergraduate and graduate competition whose three winners will receive:1st Place: $125; 2nd Place: $75; 3rd Place: $50.  Download the 2016 Costume Crafts & Technology Guidelines »

Lighting Design

Sponsored by Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.

The award's winning student designers in the Undergraduate and Graduate divisions win the following cash prizes: 1st Place: $125; 2nd Place: $75; 3rd Place: $50.  Download the 2016 Lighting Design Guidelines »

Properties Design & Construction

Sponsored by Friends of Props

This competition includes both undergraduate and graduate students and shall include both hand and set props. For this competition a prop shall be defined as "a non-costume item used by an actor (hand prop) or a set dressing including furniture and decorative elements of the set even if not handled by an actor."A maximum of three items per student may be entered and can be from an actual production of a project that is unrelated to a specific production.The Props Design & Construction Competition awards winners of the combined undergraduate and graduate division the following prizes: 1st Place: $125; 2nd Place: $75; 3rd Place: $50.  Download the 2016 Properties Design & Construction Guidelines »

Scenic Design

Sponsored by Sculptural Arts Coating, Inc.

The Scenery Design Competition awards winners in the Undergraduate and Graduate divisions win the following: 1st Place: $125, 2nd Place: $75, 3rdPlace: $50.  Download the 2016 Scenic Design Guidelines »

Sound Design

Sponsored by Shure, Inc.

Undergraduate and graduate sound designers showcase their sound designs during the annual Design Competition. Prizes will be awarded based on all designs entered for both the undergraduate and graduate levels of the Sound Design Competition.The Sound Design Competition awards winners of the combined undergraduate and graduate division the following prizes: 1st place Beta 181C Microphone; 2nd place SRH940 Headphones; 3rd place SRH440 Headphones.  Download the 2016 Properties Design & Construction Guidelines »

Stage Management Games

Sponsored by EmptySpace Technology

The SETC Stage Management Committee is excited to announce the 4th annual SETC Stage Management Games, Thursday evening, March 3, 2016, 9:00-11:00 pm. Student stage managers from all training levels are invited to compete in a round-robin of timed events that include: writing cues, recording blocking, taking line notes, taping a plan and checking presets. The top three competitors will advance to a finalist round. The winner will be awarded a one-year individual subscription to Virtual Callboard. Up to 25 stage managers can compete, and sign up to compete on a first come first served basis will begin at 7:30pm March 3, 2016. For more information please contact Shawn Paul Evans at  Learn more about the Stage Management Games »

2016 Distinguished Career Designers & Adjudicators

Thank you to the 2016 Design Competition Adjudicators and Keynotes. These acclaimed designers gave ketnote presentations and provided feedback on entries to the design competition.

Jeremy J. Lee, Sound Designer

Jeremy’s international work includes the design for Nilo Cruz’s Pais de Bicicleta (Bogota) and working as the Associate Designer for the Bridge Project’s 2010 World Tour. Off-Broadway, Jeremy has designed Tamar of the River, Working and The Ohmies, as well as designs for NYTW, 13P, LAByrinth, SoHo Rep, Clubbed Thumb and many others. Regional theatre designs include The Old Globe, 5th Avenue Theatre, Syracuse Stage, ACT (San Francisco), Cincinnati Playhouse, and many shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jeremy is the head of the sound design program at CCM in Cincinnati.

Stan Pressner, Lighting Designer

Stan’s designs have been found in the repertoires of, among others: New York City Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Geneva Opera Ballet, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Ralph Lemon, Bayerische Staadtsballet, Boston Ballet, John Jasperse, Stephen Petronio and Netherlands Dance Theatre. Credits include: Twelfth Night and Richard III for Shakespeare’s Globe on Broadway, Jessye Norman’s Sacred Ellington for Carnegie Hall, Peer Gynt at the Guthrie, Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure for Shakespeare’s Globe, La Clemenza de Tito, Abduction From The Seraglio and Rake’s Progress for the Bayerische Staadtsoper, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Dances with Piano… and Jean Genet’s The Blacks for the Market Theatre of Johannesburg. Working with Theatre Projects Consultants since 1996, some of his projects include: Dallas Arts District, redevelopment plan for Lincoln Center, NYU Abu Dhabi and rewriting arts policy for the City of Dallas.

Todd Rosenthal, Set Designer

Todd’s credits abound. Broadway: August Osage County (Tony), The Motherfucker with the Hat (Tony Nom), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Of Mice and Men, This is Our Youth, Fish in the Dark. Off Broadway: Red Light Winter, Barrow Street; Domesticated, Lincoln Center; Qualms, Playwrights Horizons and designed six years for Big Apple Circus. International: National Theatre, London; Sydney Theater, Australia; Theatre Royal, Ireland. Regional: Steppenwolf (30 productions), Goodman (artistic partner), Guthrie, Alliance, Mark Taper, ART, La Jolla, Arena, Berkeley, Oregon Shakespeare and many others. Museum Exhibitions: Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition; The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes. Other Awards: Olivier, Helen Hayes, Jeff, Michael Merritt. Todd is a Professor, Northwestern University holding his MFA from Yale.

Fabio Toblini, Costume Designer

Fabio’s most recent credits include Kiss Me, Kate at Hartford Stage and The Old Globe Theater and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Guthrie Theater. Other theatre credits include work with the Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, American Players Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Ford’s and Studio Theatre. His opera credits span the nation and the globe. His work has been seen on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet (Richard Rodgers Theatre) and in original Off-Broadway productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Batboy the Musical, and The Divine Sister. In 2015, he was nominated for Craig Noel and CT Critics Circle Awards.

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