USITT24 YDMT Award Winners Announced!
January 29, 2024
Congratulations to all of our 2024 Young Designers, Managers, and Technician (YDMT) award winners! The Awards for YDMT bring recognition and support to young designers, managers, and technicians at the beginning of their careers. They are made possible by generous gifts to USITT from their sponsors. Our winners will be honored on March 21, at our Awards Awards Awards ceremony in Seattle as part of our USITT24 Conference & Stage Expo. Join us for the ceremony, and afterward be one of the first on the Expo floor as our winners drop the rope and open it for attendees!
Bernhard R. Works, Frederick A. Buerki Scenic Technology Award
Andrew is currently a Technical Designer at Daedalus; Design and Production, located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At Daedalus, he works on designing technical solutions for Broadway, Off Broadway, TV, and many other productions and events. In the spring of 2023, Andrew graduated from the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale with a Masters Degree in Technical Design and Production. Andrew was elated to receive the Edward C. Cole Memorial Award, Bronislaw Sammler Mentorship Award, and the Alan Hendrickson Award at graduation. Through his time at Yale, Andrew was able to intern at Showmotion, located in Milford, CT where he technical designed aspects of the Broadway Production of K-Pop. Prior to Yale, he worked in Abu Dhabi at the New York University Campus as Technical Instructor of the scene shop for 4 years. While in Abu Dhabi, he greatly enjoyed the experience of being immersed in a new culture and a diverse community. Andrew has been supported throughout his career and life by his parents, David and Liz, and his wife Mia Haiman.
“I’m honored to receive this award, particularly because of the prestige of previous winners. I saw Yaro Yarashevich win this honor my first year of Grad School and I thought ‘How do you earn that?’ After working with them, as their assistant, I learned that it’s a lot of hard work, sweating out new and different technical designs, making drawings for everything before it hits the floor, positive communication, consistency, some crying, filling every non-crying moment with efficient task completion, resting at least one day a week and documenting everything. To now be receiving this award is exhilarating.”
Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design & Technology Award
Grzegorz Labuda is a multidisciplinary artist, costume designer, and actor who explores the relationship between theatre and the visual arts. In his work, he emphasizes the performative aspect of the costume focusing on sustainable methods of creation. His work includes mostly original plays, immersive theatre, site-specific events, and installations. He designed i.a. for Living Space Theatre (“Jesus Christ, Refugee!”, “Cockroaches”), Quantum Theatre (”Devil is a Lie”, “Flying Lovers of Vitebsk”), and others. He collaborated with artists in Europe and the USA including BWA Contemporary Art Gallery (Poland), Soharóza Choir and Fruzsina Nagy (Hungary), Theatre no Theatre (Italy), The Actors’ Ensemble (New York). He was recognized as a Student Ambassador by The United States Institute for Theatre Technology. He was selected to present his work during the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. He is a 2023 Princess Grace Honoraria Award recipient. He came to the USA as a Fulbright scholar and graduate of the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Poland. He is currently studying costume design at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.
"I am extremely excited and honored to have been selected as Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design & Technology award winner. I owe this recognition to everyone who has contributed to my development and guided me on my artistic path. I am especially grateful to my teachers and friends from Carnegie Mellon University who are the most inspiring and passionate artists I’ve ever worked with."
The Barbizon Lighting Company Jonathan Resnick Lighting Design Award
Xotchil Musser (they/she) is a multi-skilled human who enjoys designing for theatre, dance, installations, and other forms of visual + interactive art. As a child, they lived on an island south of Miami; now they live in NYC where they examine the exploration of how theater can be applied to community health and healing. Xotchil is an advocate for antiracist theatre and strives to build a community in the industry based on equitable practices and altruism. For more information, visit xotchil.com.
MFA: CMU ’23.
“I’m so grateful for the YDMT award! A very big thanks to USITT, Barbizon, and all those who inspire me to illuminate the stories that matter.”
The Barbara Matera Award in Costume Making sponsored by Judy Adamson
Athene received her MFA in costume technology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating with a BA in Non-Western History, she worked at Bethany Joy Costumes Inc., where her stitching credits included numerous Broadway, film, and television projects. During her time in graduate school, she worked as a junior draper at the Santa Fe Opera and draper at the Playmaker's Repertory Company. She also collaborated with Rachel Pollock to publish the article Thoroughly Modern Millinery in TD&T. As the holder of the Gillings Fellowship, she pursued research into the applications of digital technologies in costume production. She is currently based in New York City where she spends her days working at the heart of the Garment District.
KM Fabrics, Inc. Technical Production Award
Aholibama Castañeda González
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Aholibama has a strong passion for supporting artistic work through management, safety, and technology. Aholibama holds degrees in theater, music, and Paramedicine. They are currently in their last year of the MFA at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University, in the program Technical Design and Production, where they are getting ready to face the always-evolving challenges of the performing arts and entertainment industry.
In Mexico, Aholibama worked at the National Fine Arts Institute as a Technical Manager of the Theater Branch and in the Internationa Cervantino Festival, one of the biggest festivals for performing arts in Latin America.
They are excited to return to the professional field to continue making an impact through the arts and to promote inclusive and accessible workspaces that allow everybody to thrive.
“My sincere gratitude for the guidance and support of all my professors and staff at school. Their dedication and commitment to my training have truly made a positive impact on my academic, professional, and personal journey. I am honored to receive the KM Fabrics Award!”
USITT Makeup Design Award sponsored by Kryolan Professional Make-Up
Tiara M. Jones is a licensed cosmetologist, makeup artist, and wig Designer from Alexandria, Virginia. Her professional work has been seen at The Santa Fe Opera, The Carnegie, The Glimmerglass Opera Festival, New York Fashion Week, as well as the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where she will be obtaining her MFA degree in Makeup and Wig Design. She has designed the wigs and makeup for various productions including Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, She Loves Me, Sunday in the Park with George, Fellow Travelers, and much more. Tiara loves to give back to her community and has held numerous workshops for people to learn about diverse makeup applications and hair prep/styling, including CCM Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, The Santa Fe Opera, as well as conducted a theatrical makeup demo for Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park’s Leading Ladies group at CCM. Tiara has worked with various Broadway wig designers and has a background in Fashion design. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning for Fashion Design and a minor in Architectural Studies. Tiara plans to continue working in the Film, Television, and theater industry after graduate school.
“Thank you USITT for this award! I am very happy, grateful and blessed to be chosen as the 2024 USITT Makeup Design Award Recipient. All Thanks to God!"
The Richard Hay Undergraduate Scene Design Award
Nathan has developed a wide variety of artistic skills through his education at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he received the Kenan Excellence Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship program at UNCSA. His journey into the applied arts began after being accepted into the Production and Design Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in Santa Ana, CA. There, he was able to explore all aspects of the arts used in the entertainment industry and grew most passionate about scenic design.
Nathan’s professional goals are to apply his theatre work to themed entertainment and to be a part of designing elaborate immersive experiences. With over 8 years of theater experience, Nathan has refined his knowledge and skills for the entertainment industry and continues his studies at UNCSA
"I am thrilled and honored to be recognized for my dedication and passion for scene design. This award, and my achievements in scene design, would not have been possible without the guidance of my incredibly inspiring mentors and colleagues who have supported me throughout my artistic and academic journey. The collaborative spirit of theater has helped shape me as an artist and human being, and I look forward to continuing my pursuit in this ever-inspiring field and industry. Thank you for this award, I am humbled and grateful to be a recipient."
USITT Scene Design Award sponsored by Rose Brand
Tianxuan Chen (Xuan) is a scenic and lighting designer originally from Shanghai, China. With a background in fashion design, her growing fascination with the artistry and creative latitude of theatre led to a pivotal shift toward stage design. With the belief that theater is expressive and that the audience's imaginations are where a play is ultimately completed, She wishes her work to create experiences that encourage audience participation and let their imaginations run wild in reaction to the play. Xuan received her MFA degree in stage design at Northwestern University and is now based in Chicago to further her career as a stage designer.
"I'm genuinely thrilled to be named the 2024 USITT Scenic Design Award winner. It's an incredible feeling to have my work recognized in such a significant way. I wish to thank my mentors, friends, collaborators, and the fantastic shop staff at the Wirtz Center. Their support and encouragement during my four years at Northwestern University have been instrumental in my growth. I'm deeply grateful to everyone who has been part of this journey."
USITT Stage Management Award sponsored by Clear-Com Communications Systems
Annie Hennen is currently a 4th year at Colorado State University. She is a theatre major with a concentration in Stage Management. They have previously worked on Silent Sky, The Normal Heart, Così fan tutte, and the Fall ‘22 Dance Concerts along with spending this past summer at the Santa Fe Opera as a props run crew apprentice.
"I am so excited to be receiving this award, stage management has changed my life for the better. I owe it all to my friends, family, and mentors."