Design Competition

Check out our photo album on Facebook to see images of award-winning designs from the 2018 Design Competition held at our annual convention. We can’t wait to see what the winning designs will look like in 2019!

For 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 category), a certificate of achievement, and recognition in SETC News. Categories are listed below.


For more information, please contact:

Neno Russell

SETC Design Committee Chair
Email Neno

Cadie Burks

Educational Services Manager
Email Cadie

2019 Distinguished Career Designers & Adjudicators

A panel of four acclaimed designers will give keynote presentations and provide feedback on entries to the 2019 Design Competition. Visit our keynote page to read each designer’s full bio.

Linda Cho

Linda Cho

Distinguished Costume Designer

Victoria (toy) Deiorio

Distinguished Sound Designer

Riccardo Hernandez

Riccardo Hernández

Distinguished Scenic Designer

Jonathan Spencer

Jonathan Spencer

Distinguished Lighting Designer

2019 Competition Categories

Costume Crafts

Sponsored by Norcostco

Costume Design

Sponsored by Norcostco

Costume Technology

Sponsored by Betsey Horth

Projection Design

Sponsored by Broadway Media Distribution

Properties Design & Construction

Sponsored by Friends of Props (Robert O’Leary & Doug Brown)

Sound Design

Sponsored by Shure, Inc.

Technical Direction & Construction

Sponsored by Productions Unlimited, Inc.

Ready to Design Awards (previously Ready to Work)

All graduate-level entries to the Design Competition will be considered for Ready to Design Awards. No additional applications or fees are required.

Sponsored by Lexington Children’s Theatre, The Rose Theater, Serenbe Playhouse 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. SETC collaborates each year with professional theatres to award Ready to Design. 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.

Stage Management Games

Sponsored by EmptySpace Technology

The SETC Stage Management Committee is excited to announce the 7th annual SETC Stage Management Games. 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. Product prizes are awarded to top winners. Anyone attending the convention may participate. There are no fees, just fun.

2018 Award Winners

Costume Crafts | Sponsored by Norcostco

  • 1st Place: Brittney Harrell, Kent State University
  • 2nd Place: Hallie Moore, Brevard College
  • 3rd Place: Carter Higgs, University of Central Missouri
  • Honorable Mention: Briann Hemp, Florida State University

Costume Design | Sponsored by Wardrobe Witchery


  • 1st Place: Erin Reed, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • 2nd Place: Hannah Chalman, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 3rd Place: Clara Jean Kelly, Florida State University
  • Honorable Mention: Brittney Harrell, Kent State University

Costume Design | Sponsored by Wardrobe Witchery


  • 1st Place: Natasha Cox, College of Charleston
  • 2nd Place: Desiree Anderson, Kent State University
  • 3rd Place: Audrey Reed, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Honorable Mention: Jessica Moreno-Caycho, Virginia Commonwealth University

Costume Technology | Sponsored by

  • 1st Place: Desiree Anderson, Kent State University
  • 2nd Place: Christina HadleyDike, Indiana University
  • 3rd Place: Hannah Chalman, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Honorable Mention: Yi Chen, Kent State University

Lighting Design | Sponsored by ETC


  • 1st Place: Darrian Brimberry, Indiana University
  • 2nd Place: Tony Stoeri, Indiana University
  • 3rd Place: Qier Luo, Indiana University

Lighting Design | Sponsored by ETC


  • 1st Place: Collin Hall, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • 2nd Place: Benjamin Zasimowich, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 3rd Place: Dominque Toups, Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Honorable Mention: Wyatt S. Hayes, Kent State University

Projection Design | Sponsored by Broadway Media Distribution

  • 1st Place: Henry Crowder, Brevard College
  • 2nd Place: Shawn Carver, Radford University

Props Design & Construction | Sponsored by Friends of Props

  • 1st Place: Savannah Callais, The University of Alabama
  • 2nd Place: Justin Bowen, LaGrange College
  • 3rd Place: Alexandra Riggs, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Honorable Mention: Ilia Campbell, Francis Marion University

Scenic Design | Sponsored by Sculptural Arts Coating


  • 1st Place: Katherine Field, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2nd Place: Matthew Hamel, University of Cincinnati – CCM
  • 3rd Place: Lindsey Purvis, University of Cincinnati – CCM
  • Honorable Mention: Lindsay Maiorano, West Virginia University
  • Honorable Mention: Jelena Andzic, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Scenic Design | Sponsored by Sculptural Arts Coating


  • 1st Place: Ceili Hesselgrave, College of Charleston
  • 2nd Place: Evelyn Jyles Rodgers, Wake Forest University
  • 3rd Place: Carrie Ferrelli, College of Charleston
  • Honorable Mention: Alexander Modlin, Ball State University

Sound Design | Sponsored by Shure, Inc.

  • 1st Place: Jo Sanburg, University of Memphis
  • 2nd Place: Stewart Blackwood, Kent State University
  • 3rd Place: Lance Perl, Brevard College
  • Honorable Mention: Braden Harrington, Florida School of the Arts
  • Honorable Mention: Cheyenne Zuck, Wake Forest University

Technical Direction & Construction | Sponsored by Productions Unlimited, Inc.

  • 1st Place: Elizabeth Haynes, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • 2nd Place: Liam Roth, Kent State University

KET, a Kentucky-based PBS educational television network, stopped by the 2017 SETC Convention in Lexington, KY, for a behind-the-scenes look at the Design Competition. Participants offered up insights about different fields of theatre design.