USITT to Present Second
Rising Star Award
Barbara E.R. Lucas
Justin Townsend has been chosen to receive the second annual USITT Rising Star Award, sponsored by LDI2006 and Live Design magazine. Mr. Townsend, 31, is a scenic, lighting, and sound designer whose work has been seen from New York to California.
The Rising Star Award recognizes excellence and artistic achievement in the areas of scenic, lighting, sound, and projection design, or the convergence of two or more of those disciplines and is given at the beginning of a young designer's career. Mr. Townsend, 31, will receive his award, which includes a cash prize, at the USITT Awards Banquet which concludes the 2006 USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, April 1, 2006.
Mr. Townsend received his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and his master's degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He is leading a group or artists toward the creation of a new theatre.
USITT President John S. Uthoff said that the Rising Star Award sponsored by LDI2006 and Live Design has produced exactly the result envisioned when it was created several years ago: "Justin Townsend not only exemplifies the type of professional achievements which can be attained early in a career, he is expanding the horizons on what is possible within the profession."
David Johnson, associate publisher and editorial director of Live Design, notes, "We are extremely pleased that Justin Townsend is this year's winner of the USITT Rising Star Award. We knew he was someone to keep an eye on when named one of our Young Designers To Watch in Entertainment Design two years ago. This award confirms our interest in his work."
Mr. Townsend's lighting designs have been seen at New York at LaMAMA etc, the Ohio Theatre, and the Samuel Beckett Theatre. His lighting and/or scenic designs have been seen in regional theatres such as PlayMakers Repertory in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Hartford Stage in Connecticut; and University of Rochester.
Chris Barreca, head of design at CalArts, wrote that "Justin is a brilliant designer and collaborator." Christopher Akerlind noted "he combines the curiosity, talents, and abilities required of a young designer ready to build a career as an interesting and innovative theatre artist." Mary J. Heilman, USITT's Scene Design Commissioner, nominated Mr. Townsend for the award.
In addition to his design work, Mr. Townsend held guest lecturer positions at Northeastern University in Boston, the University of Rochester, and Siena College in Albany, New York, among others. He was a nominee for a 2005 Ovation award.