Design Competition


For Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Each year, graduate and undergraduate students display their design and technology work at the annual SETC Convention.

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


For more information, please contact:

Matthew Leckenbusch

SETC Design Committee Chair
Email Matthew

Lee Crouse

Educational Services Manager
Email Lee

2021 Design Competition Award Winners

Costume Crafts | Sponsored by Betsey & David Horth

  • 1st Place: Erin Rodgers
    • Everyman – Death Costume
    • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Honorable Mention: Helen Garcia-Alton
    • White Plague
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville

Costume Design


  • 1st Place: Audrey Reed
    • James & the Giant Peach the Musical
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2nd Place: Margo Birdwhistell
    • The House That Will Not Stand
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • 3rd Place: Max Hromek
    • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Honorable Mention: Rachel Saylor
    • Twelfth Night
    • Indiana University


  • 1st Place: KT Farmer
    • He House That Will Not Stand
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • 2nd Place: Carolan Corcoran
    • Mean Girls
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 3rd Place: Ashley Brassell
    • Dracula
    • Purdue Fort Wayne

Costume Technology | Sponsored by Neno Russell

  • 1st Place: Lilliana Valentin
    • 1890’s Bicycle Ensemble
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2nd Place: Addison Michael
    • 890’s Walking Dress
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 3rd Place: Jillian Gregory
    • The Transparent Women Project
    • University of Central Arkansas
  • Honorable Mention: Brianna Herr
    • Hero’s Dress
    • Point Park University

Lighting Design | Sponsored by Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.


  • 1st Place: Gavin Strawn
    • Ride the Cyclone
    • Middle Tennessee State University
  • 2nd Place: Erin Featherson
    • Romeo and Juliet
    • Middle Tennessee State University
  • 3rd Place: Natalie Sorrento
    • Fall 2020 Dance Concert: Etched in Flesh
    • Valdosta State University
  • Honorable Mention: Travis Martinez
    • Circle Mirror Transformation
    • Lehigh University


  • 1st Place: Kaylin Gess
    • Among the Dead
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • 2nd Place: Bill Miller
    • Airness
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • 3rd Place: Catherine Pratt
    • Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet
    • University of Nevada Las Vegas

Projection Design | Sponsored by Broadway Media

  • 1st Place: Sidney Dye
    • #silenced
    • Elon University
  • 2nd Place: Chandler Oppenheimer
    • A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • 3rd place: Carrie Ferrelli
    • Airness
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville

Scenic Design | Sponsored by Sculptural Arts Coating, Inc.


  • 1st Place: Katherine Stepanek
    • The Hobbit
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • 2nd Place: Xinyuan Li
    • Long Day’s Journey Into Night
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • 3rd Place: Carrie Ferrelli
    • The House That Will Not Stand
    • University of Tennessee Knoxville


  • 1st Place: Travis Martinez
    • Life? Or Theatre?
    • Lehigh University
  • 2nd Place: Cliona Smith
    • Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley
    • University of Oklahoma
  • Honorable Mention: Devin Fourqurean
    • East of the Sun
    • LaGrange College
  • Honorable Mention: Ghina Fawaz
    • The Blue-Eyed Dove
    • Rollins College

Sound Design | Sponsored by Shure, Inc., and Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

  • 1st Place: Anna Johnson
    • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    • Hollins University
  • 2nd Place: Valeriya Nedviga
    • Twelfth Night
    • Indiana University
  • 3rd Place: Tate Thompson
    • Everyman
    • Valdosta State University

Technical Direction | Sponsored by Productions Unlimited, Inc.

  • 1st Place: Samuel Marchitto
    • Antigone
    • The University of Alabama

2021 Distinguished Career Designers & Adjudicators

Each year, a panel of acclaimed designers give keynote presentations and provide feedback on entries to the Design Competition at the annual SETC Convention.

DeDe Ayite

Dede Ayite

Distinguished Costume Designer

Jessica Paz

Jessica Paz

Distinguished Sound Designer

Alan Edwards

Alan C. Edwards

Distinguished Lighting Designer

Rachel Hauck_color version of her website photo

Rachel Hauck

Distinguished Scenic Designer

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.


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