Only a few weeks remain for nominations for USITT's Awards for Young Designers and Technicians in the Performing Arts (YD&T) or the USITT Rising Star Award. Complete application packages for all nine YD&T awards are due in the USITT office on November 1. Nominations for the Rising Star Award, sponsored by ETW-LDI, Entertainment Design, and Lighting Dimensions must be submitted by October 25.

This year there are changes in the YD&T program, due to the generosity of two long-time supporters of USITT. Past and current donations to the program totaling more than $25,000 by contributing member KM Fabrics Inc., led by founder Richard K. Heusel and supported by current president Robert C. Lewis, has made the KM Fabrics, Inc. Technical Production Award the first permanently-funded YD&T award.

The new Robert E. Cohen Award for Sound Achievement will be given for the first time under its new name at the 2006 Annual Conference in Louisville, KY, March 29-April 1, 2006. The award will be given to a recent graduate or beginning professional who has studied technical theatre with an emphasis in sound design.

Robert and Sharon Cohen contributed $25,000 to established the Robert E. Cohen Award for Sound Achievement. USITT Fellow Randy Earle assisted in securing this support. Mr. Cohen, founder and President of Clear-Com Intercom Systems from 1969 to 1997, was responsible for developing the closed circuit headset intercom system for the theatre.

For 2006, Clear-Com Communication Systems will sponsor the USITT Stage Management Award and Robert Thurston and Stage Decoration & Supplies, Inc. have stepped forward to sponsor the W. Oren Parker Scene Design Award established by Charles E. Williams.

Continuing YD&T sponsors are Barbizon Lighting Company, Zelma H. Weisfeld, Rose Brand, Kryolan, and Bernhard Works.

USITT's awards programs, which include recognition and cash prizes, identify excellence or outstanding potential for those at the beginning of their professional careers in lighting, sound, costume design and technology, stage management, scene design and technology, technical production, and sound.

To learn more, visit www.usitt.org and follow links to awards and other USITT activities.