Kristen Martino Selected as 2022 Rising Star Award Winner

January 26, 2022

Kristen Martino

USITT is pleased to announce this year's Rising Star Award winner, scenic designer Kristen Martino!

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by LDI/Live Design, is given annually to a young professional at the beginning of their career.

Kristen Martino Headshot
Kristen Martino

The award recognizes excellence and artistic achievement in scenic, lighting, sound, projection design, or a convergence of these design disciplines. Kristen will be honored for her award win at USITT22 in Baltimore, March 2-5. 

Kristen Martino is a freelance Scenic Designer whose work has been seen on stages in the Chicago area such as Drury Lane Theatre, The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Porchlight Theatre, and Music Theatre Works.

She has also designed shows at theatres across the country including Gulfshore Playhouse (Naples, FL), Ocala Civic Theatre (Ocala, FL), Cardinal Stage Company (Bloomington, IN), Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre (Grand Lake, CO), and Indiana University -where she completed her MFA in Scenic Design.

Kristen is currently spending the 2021/2022 school year as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at University of Florida. Kristen has spent the last several years as an Associate Scenic Designer in the Chicago area which has given her the opportunity to work on museum exhibits, circus performances, and theatrical productions internationally including the 2020 West End production of The Prince of Egypt.

Kristen was also a part of the team selected to represent the United States by designing the USITT’s Emerging Artist Exhibit for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial.


Kristen Martino Higher Gulfshore Playhouse Scenic Design Rising Star 2022
A scene from Higher at Gulfshore Playhouse.

"I am filled with gratitude to have been selected as the winner of the 2022 Rising Star Award," Kristen said. "It is such a honor to have my work recognized by USITT. The past few years have been challenging for all artists of our field and to receive this award in light of all of the dark times is humbling. Thank you to all of the mentors and collaborators that have helped support me in these early steps of my career." 

Reuben Lucas, associate professor of Scenic Design Indiana University–Bloomington, writes about his former student: “The pandemic negatively impacted many theatre professionals, resulting in a “lost year” of plans and careers put on hold, or worse. Kristen’s resilience during this time and their commitment to continuing her professional design career when theatre could return is remarkable. Recently, in addition to serving as the scenic designer on a production at the Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago, she is teaching and mentoring graduate students in scenic design at the University of Florida as a visiting assistant professor. This demonstrates the confidence other theatre professionals have in Kristen’s abilities and potential as a professional designer and educator…From my viewpoint, Kristen’s professional career will only continue in a manner required of a rising star and I have no doubt that she will be an impeccable addition to the list of previous award recipients.”

Visit Kristen's website to learn more.

Look for a TECHnically Speaking podcast episode featuring Kristen coming late March/early April!