SUU Student Wins National Theatrical Lighting Design Award

Published: February 11, 2016 | Author: Tommy Gugino | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU Student Wins National Theatrical Lighting Design AwardAn undergraduate technical theatre student from Southern Utah University has won a 2016 Young Designers & Technicians (YD&T) Award of The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).

Andie Szekely, a senior BFA student from Las Vegas, Nev., won this year’s USITT Lighting Design Award, sponsored by Barbizon Lighting Company. Of the 10 recipients, Szekely is one of two undergraduate students to receive an award and is the only student from Utah to be recognized. 

When asked about her award, Szekely said, “It feels really validating that someone outside of my group of mentors has noticed the passion in my work.”

One of those mentors, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Brian Swanson, nominated Szekely for the award. Swanson said Szekely exudes talent for lighting and design.

“She feels a connection through her lighting and is able to tell a story with it,” he said. “She has a very natural ability to create environments and set the mood on stage through her lighting design.”

During her time at SUU, Szekely has served as the lighting designer for a number of productions including The Fantasticks, Dancing at Lughnasa and Hamlet as well as multiple pieces in the student and faculty dance concerts. Szekely also served as the master electrician for the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance’s production of You Can’t Take It With You.

Szekely said her opportunities at SUU have allowed her to grow and discover her passion in this field.

“Our technical theatre program is relatively small, so if you want to be involved, you almost always can be especially if you show initiative. Never being denied any of those opportunities to get my hands on a show has really helped me progress in my career,” she said.

Before she graduates in April, Szekely will design lights for Rent, her final main stage production at SUU. 

Szekely also gained real-world experience from her summer internships. Most recently she served as a professional entertainment tech intern at Walt Disney World. She has also worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the New York Stage and Film.

The YD&T Awards bring support and recognition to young designers and technicians through funding from industry sponsors. The winners receive free registration to the four-day USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo (March 16–19), plus cash prizes. Undergraduate recipients receive a one-year premium membership to Stage Jobs Pro, a jobs site for backstage crew and front-of-house professionals. The awards presentation will take place on March 17 in Salt Lake City.

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