Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Eligibility

Nominations for YDMT 2022 close November 1, 2021

Candidates for the Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award must cite examples of work that features the individual’s creative application of sound in the performing arts. The successful entrant will demonstrate clear execution regarding artistic and technical choices, process, and product. There are two categories of submission materials the designer may submit for consideration: primary and secondary. The primary consideration materials are REQUIRED and should show clear technical choices and sound design execution in both process and product. The secondary consideration materials are optional and supplemental, should showcase other sound or entertainment technology, and/or artistic work.


  • Nominees must be an undergraduate or graduate student, or a recent graduate (within the past two years).
  • Two nomination options:
    • USITT members (faculty or other non-student professional) may submit a nomination
    • Students may self-nominate
  •  Nominees must have a current student, early career, or individual membership by November 1, 2021.
  • Awards are open to all ages and recognize promising newcomers in each award area.

Submission Process

  • Nominees must complete on-line form including a non-refundable $25 entry fee by November 2, 2020.
  • Once registration is completed, each nominee will receive an e-mail containing a link to submit the required documents.
  • Submission Materials:
    • Resume
    • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member 
    • Letter of support
    • Personal Artistic Statement
    • Statement of Conceptualization by Production
    • URL/Webpage of Digital Portfolio (paperwork and sound content from three different realized designs, including photographs from the show to give visual context)

Primary Consideration Materials

These materials are REQUIRED and are meant to showcase the maker’s technical skills, collaboration within the productions team, research and development, and execution of sound design.


  •  Nominees’ current resume. PDF format only. Citations of websites are not permitted.
  • Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member. The faculty member may include a design instructor, an instructor or supervisor in the shops, acting and history professors, department chairs, and other faculty mentors.
  • Letter of Support may come from fellow collaborators, directors, choreographers, production team members, faculty members, or other in the entertainment industry.


The primary consideration materials should be organized as follows:

  • Portfolio should be submitted in the form of a URL to a website. Applicants should consider how the design of their portfolio connects artistic intent to technical execution demonstrating a process that includes research, collaboration, revision, and a clear design concept. (Website should be created for submission purposes, unless personal online portfolio meets portfolio guidelines and demonstrates all requirements)
  • We recommend, but do not require, at least one (1) realized show to be included in the portfolio due to the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. If a production was cancelled or produced in another format, please identify this by indicating it was "impacted by COVID-19". Please include photographs of the production that can provide a visual context for the sound samples.
  • Event/play/piece title and scene clearly labeled with an appropriately sized and colored, easy-to-read, well-placed font.
  • Consider a way to organize the portfolio so that the process is shown in a clear, concise, and thoughtful manner. Quality should be stressed over quantity.
  • Paper work should be legible, labeled, and be examples that best reflect process.
  • All documentation should meet current industry best practices including the USITT Sound Graphics Recommended Practice. It is recommended that applicants should submit a sound system diagram and loudspeaker plot (plan and section) for each show in the portfolio. Other paperwork might include loudspeaker directivity plots, mixing console plots, equipment lists, cue sheets, etc.


  • Each applicant must submit a personal artistic statement articulating who you are as a artist. What is your creative working philosophy? What your personal approach to sound design? (Max 300 words)
  • For each production featured on the five (5) required plates, the applicant must submit a statement of conceptualization articulating the collaborative process within the, production team, and shop, research and development, communication with the run crew and others in the team and the ability to work within the parameters of the production as whole. (Max 800 words per show, no photos, may include but is not limited to):
    • Demonstrate an artistic analysis of the event content (script, dance, music, etc.) and a discussion of the use of design elements to support the analysis.
    • Explain how collaboration was achieved with director, choreographer, other production and design team members, actors/dancers, costume shop staff, run crew, etc.
    • A brief synopsis of the overriding themes, motifs, or elements as presented by the director/choreographer/musician.
    • A brief statement explaining the research and development process undertaken by the technician, and analysis/usage of other designer materials to further the prototyping and creation of the production pieces.


The portfolio should be organized to cite examples of work that feature the individual’s creative application of sound in the performing arts. If sound content owned by a third-party was used in the design, please credit the owner and original artist. Examples cited must demonstrate excellence in areas such as:

  • Sound design
  • Reinforcement
  • System engineering
  • Recording
  • Editing
  • Research
  • Effective use of resources


A small amount of additional support material may be included in the portfolio. These optional materials may include projects from other areas of sound technology, entertainment technology, or artistic work. This work may be produced or classroom projects, realized or conceptual, and should showcase the range of the applicant.


Judges will score (not rank) each entry on the following:

  • Adherence to the submission guidelines: plate size, format, and parameters
    • Submissions not adhering to the format listed will be considered ineligible.
  • Execution: Effective use of system documentation, equipment resources, and integration within the theatrical space
  • Creativity: Evidence of unique and innovative application of professional techniques.
  • Research and Analysis: Evidence of using sound in a way that is supported by detailed research, script analysis, practical needs of the production, and a unifying design concept.