Luc Lafortune, the innovative lighting designer for such Cirque du Soleil productions as "O" and Zumanity will be honored with the USITT Distinguished Achievement Award in Lighting Design. Lafortune has helped create Cirque du Soleil's intriguing productions for more than 20 years.

USITT's 2005 Conference & Stage Expo will have several strong connections to Cirque du Soleil. In addition to two sessions by Lafortune, the entire creative process and production cycle of Cirque du Soliel will be explored in a special session on Wednesday, March 16.

The Lighting Commission will host Lafortune at its special Distinguished Achievement Award session where he will share highlights of his design career, several of his design philosophies, and his thoughts on the lighting profession, with a focus on his work with Cirque du Soleil. That session is scheduled for 12:15 to 1:35 p.m. on Friday, March 18.

Rosco, Inc. will host a master class entitled Lighting with Color and Gobos, from 2:30-3:50 p.m. on Thursday, March 17. Stan Schwartz of Rosco noted "perhaps no one has worked as inventively with color filters and gobos as Luc Lafortune."

Lafortune will share some of the lessons he has learned creating looks and effects for rock shows, circuses, and stage presentations, including a special emphasis on Cirque du Soleil productions. Lafortune has been involved with the lighting of Cirque productions from the company's inception. His and his collaborators' lighting combines with other visual and performance elements to create a imagery that has come to be known as the unique Cirque du Soleil style. Lafortune has credit for Cirque du Soleil productions Saltimbanco, Mystère, Alegría, Quidam, O, La Nouba, Dralion, Zumanity, and KA, which recently opened at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Lafortune has also created lighting for performers and groups including Peter Gabriel, No Doubt, The Eagles, Gipsy Kings, and the Swiss circus, Salto Natale. His designs have won him a Drama-Logue Theater Award (in 1992 for Saltimbanco) and an Entertainment Design Award (in 1998 for "O"). He was named LDI's Lighting Designer of the Year in 1994.

For additional information: www.USITT.org