Design Competition

Browse through the photo gallery above to see images of award-winning designs from the 2018 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 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

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: Jelena Andzic, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Honorable Mention: Lindsay Maiorano, West Virginia University

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

2018 Distinguished Career Designers & Adjudicators

A panel of four acclaimed designers will give keynote presentations and provided feedback on entries to the 2018 Design Competition.

Jane Greenwood

Jane Greenwood

Distinguished Costume Designer

Jane Greenwood has designed for theatre, opera, dance, film and television, including over 125 productions for Broadway since The Ballad of the Sad Café in 1963. The 2017 Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play went to Greenwood for The Little Foxes; it was her 21st Tony nomination. She’s also received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award, the Maharam/Henry Hewes Design Award for Tartuffe and Sylvia, the Lucille Lortel Award for Sylvia and Old Money, and the Helen Hayes Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Greenwood was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2003. She has also served as Professor of Design at the Yale School of Drama since 1976. Read Jane Greenwood’s full bio.

Donyale Werle

Distinguished Set Designer

Donyale Werle is a set designer and sustainable design advocate based in Brooklyn, NY. Broadway credits include Peter & the Starcatcher (Tony Award), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Tony nom), In Transit & Allegiance. Off-Broadway credits include The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC), The Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout), Daphne’s Dive (Signature), 5 Encores Off-Center seasons, including Runaways, Little Shop of Horrors & Assassins (2014 to present), The Explorer’s Club (MTC), Broke-olgy (Lincoln Center), Public, Vineyard, New York Theater Workshop & Ars Nova. Regional theater credits include shows at 5th Ave Theater, Geffen, ACT, Writer’s Theatre, La Jolla, Old Globe, Hartford Stage, Papermill Playhouse, Denver Center, Two River Theater. Awards include a Tony, Obie, Lucille Lortel, Hewes Design Award and an Outer Critic’s Circle & Drama Desk nominations. Affiliations: Broadway Green Alliance, Wingspace Theatrical Design Collective, USA Local 829. Donyale speaks internationally on sustainable design practices for theater.

Jane Shaw

Jane Shaw

Distinguished Sound Designer

Ms. Shaw has designed approximately 240 productions ranging from devised dance pieces to new play premieres. In New York City her design and composition work includesThe Killer, Measure for Measure (Theater for a New Audience), Actually (MTC/Williamstown Theatre Festival), Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons/ Drama Desk Nomination), Ironbound (Rattlestick, Women’s Project), and numerous productions at the Mint and the Pearl. Regional designs include work at Cleveland Play House (Shakespeare in Love, The Crucible); Hartford Stage (Seder, Comedy of Errors, Rear Window); Cincinnati Playhouse and Milwaukee Rep (Jane Eyre); Triad Stage, Capital Rep, Mark Taper Forum, Denver Center, Asolo Rep, Northern Stage, Williamstown Theater Festival and Dorset Theater Festival. International touring includes Merce Cunningham, Baryshnikov Productions, and Wind Up Bird Chronicles. Ms Shaw is a founding board member of TSDCA – Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association, and currently serves as the co-Secretary and Newsletter editor. Recipient: Drama Desk, Connecticut Critics Circle Awards, NEA/TCG Career Development Program, Henry Award, Premios ACE 2012 Award, Bessie. Nominations: Lortel, Henry Hewes, Eliot Norton. Graduate: Harvard College, Yale School of Drama.  She was born in Kansas and lives in Brooklyn.

Stephen Strawbridge

Stephen Strawbridge

Distinguished Lighting Designer

Stephen Strawbridge has designed more than 200 productions on and off Broadway and at most leading regional theaters and opera houses across the US. Internationally he has helped create major premiers in Bergen, Copenhagen, The Hague, Hong Kong, Linz, Lisbon, Munich, Naples, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, Stratford-Upon-Avon (for the Royal Shakespeare Company), Wroclaw and Vienna. Artistic collaborators have included such notable directors and choreographers as Robert Brustein, Martha Clarke, Graciela Daniele, Gordon Edelstein, Barry Edelstein, Richard Foreman, Athol Fugard, Loretta Greco, Mark Lamos, Emily Mann, Tarell McCraney, Diane Paulus, Erica Schmidt, Seret Scott, Bartlett Sher, Rebecca Taichman, John Tillinger, Robert Wilson, Mark Wing-Davey and Robert Woodruff. He has numerous pieces in the repertories of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Alison Chase/Performance. Recent work includes Richard II and Hamlet at The Old Globe in San Diego; Happy Days, with Dianne Wiest at Theatre for a New Audience; Master Harold and the Boys at Signature Theatre; Turn Me Loose, with Joe Morton at Westside Arts Theatre; and Pericles, directed by Trevor Nunn at Theatre for a New Audience. He has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations including the American Theatre Wing, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Connecticut Critics Circle, Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum, Drama Desk, Helen Hayes, Henry Hewes Design and Lucille Lortel. He is co-chair of the design department at Yale School of Drama and resident lighting designer for the Yale Repertory Theatre.

Additional Respondents

Judy Adamson

Judy Adamson

Costume Crafts & Technology

Judy Adamson has been the costume director in the Department of Dramatic Art and head of the costume production program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1993. She holds the rank of professor of the practice, acknowledging her extraordinary professional experience on Broadway, at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and PlayMakers Repertory Company. She continues to work professionally as a draper and shares her extensive knowledge in the classroom.

2018 Competition Categories

Costume Crafts

Sponsored by Norcostco

Costume Design

Sponsored by Wardrobe Witchery

Costume Technology

Sponsored by

Projection Design

Sponsored by Broadway Media Distribution

Properties Design & Construction

Sponsored by Robert O’Leary and Doug Brown, Friends of Props

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 6th 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.

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.