Carnegie Mellon Students Win Costume, Sound Design Awards

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Two student designers from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama will be honored for their work at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology's annual conference.

Costume designer Albulena Borovci and sound designer Erik T. Lawson are among the nine who will receive 2013 USITT Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts Awards in a ceremony at the USITT's Annual Conference & Stage Expo on March 21 in Milwaukee.

They join 12 other Carnegie Mellon students who have won USITT Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts Awards since 2003, as well as past winners from elsewhere, such as scenic designer Scott Pask who designed sets for recent Broadway musicals such as "The Book of Mormon" and the 2011 revival of "Hair."

Borovci, who will graduate in May from the University's School of Drama with an MFA, will receive the 2013 Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design & Technology Award.

"This is definitely going to decorate my resume," says Borovci, a native of Kosovo who created costumes for films there. "If you look at people who have received (the award), they are already doing wonderful things in their careers."

Lawson, who received his MFA from the University in 2012, will receive the 2013 Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award.

"The goal of the awards is to find young people who have incredible artistic ability to express something," says David Grindle, the executive director of USITT, a national association for performing arts and technology professionals. "They are the best of what's coming forward in our industry."

There's more to the award than recognition, Grindle says. Each recipient receives a cash prize of as much as $1,000. More importantly, each is given free registration to the conference and encouraged to attend and mingle with veteran designers in their field.

"We make sure they interact ... so we can do everything possible to make sure they have connections," Grindle says.

"Theater designers depend on networking, word of mouth and the reputations of their designs to build professional and artistic relationships," says Lawson, who hopes to teach as well as design. …