Ohio University students in the Theater Division’s Production, Design and Technology (PD&T) program swept the Ohio Valley Section (OVS) United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Peggy Ezekiel Awards during the Oct. 2018 regional conference, leading them to represent OHIO in the national USITT conference held in Louisville from March 20 to 23.
The Peggy Ezekiel Awards, created in 1985 and presented annually, aim to recognize outstanding achievement in all areas of theatrical design and technical production throughout the Ohio Valley Section region. Designers must submit works samples demonstrating their designs of shows to be considered for an award and the exhibit is adjudicated by a panel of professional and academic regional adjudicators.
Dan Denhart, professor of production design and technology at OHIO, said the students are fortunate to have valuable outlets like the Peggy Ezekiel Exhibit to showcase their theater design and technology-related projects. He added that due to the high level of networking and exposure potential, senior undergraduates and second-and-third-year graduate PD&T students are required to enter the competition annually.
“For many years, students, faculty and staff members of the Production Design and Technology Program within the Ohio University Theater Division have won more Peggy Ezekiel Awards than any other university or professional theater company within the Ohio Valley Section of USITT,” Denhart said.
Students wishing to apply for the USITT – OVS award must be a registered undergraduate or graduate student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and in an institution whose members are active in the Ohio Valley Section of USITT.
In the OVS conference, several OHIO Theater students received awards for their designs produced both through the Theater Division, as well as, their work in other professional theaters. Out of 21 students awarded these honors, 17 were OHIO students.
“As our students design and/or produce our mainstage season of productions, they constantly have an eye to which projects would do well in the exhibit,” Denhart noted.
The following received an Award of Outstanding Achievement: Cassidy Huscher, Ariel Lacey, Jacob Brown, Xintong Li, Nathan Arnold, Michael McMehan and Liz Hastings. The following students received an Award of Distinction: Megan Rogers, Kevin Dunckel, Nick Gardin, Liz Hastings, Rebecca McDowell, Phoebe Hill, Bianca Binneman, Kenneth Rainey, Janhavi Chaudhari and Sydney Lokant.
This year, the three winning students at the national conference will be awarded $500 each and receive a one-year student membership to the Ohio Valley Sections. The awards are paid with the intention that the student will use the conference as an educational opportunity to further their career goals.
Additionally, 10 Board Choice award winners will have their work displayed during STAGE EXPO, the national adjudicated theater design competition, which occurs in March at the annual National USITT Conference. According to Denhart, STAGE EXPO is the most prominent exhibition of theater design and technology in the country, so it is “truly an honor” to have work included.