Scenic designer Kelly Hanson has been named the recipient of the inaugural USITT Rising Star Award, sponsored by The Entertainment Technology Week, LDI, Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions.

The Rising Star Award recognizes excellence and artistic achievement in the areas of scenic, lighting, sound, and projection design, or the convergence of these design disciplines. The award is given at the beginning of a career to a young designer in their first four years of professional (non-academic) work, following the completion of their highest degree. The 2005 Rising Star Award will be presented at the annual banquet during the 2005 USITT Conference and Stage Expo in Toronto, Canada on Saturday, March 19, 2005.

Hanson received her MFA in scenic design from the University of California at San Diego in 2001, and a BA in drama from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX in 1998. She has designed numerous productions including Where's Charley, co-designed by her mentor Tony Walton, who directed the production for The Goodspeed Opera House, and the award-winning production, Fatboy, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Additional credits include The Claiming Race at Theatre for The New City, This Ain't No Rodeo for the Lincoln Center Institute in NYC, The Happy Dance for choreographer Monica Bill Barnes at Danspace New York, Neverland and Which Wolf Is Which at HERE in New York City, A Little Night Music at Hofstra University, and Contain Yourself Darling, a modern dance piece by choreographer Tami Stronach for Williamsburg Art Nexus in NYC.

Hanson has also designed various productions for the New York Fringe Festival, the Black Dahlia Theatre in Los Angeles, and operas including Fireworks and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (a co-design with Franco Colavecchia) for American Opera Projects.

Designer Steve Gilliam, who was her professor at Trinity University, nominated Kelly Hanson for the 2005 Rising Star Award. Walton, whom she has assisted on numerous productions, also recommended Hanson for the award. In his letter of recommendation, Walton says, "Without question, I consider Kelly a more than promising and exceptionally gifted young designer, who is clearly growing busier with her own career with each season that passes. I believe she is an ideal "Rising Star" due to her immensely impressive and constantly growing command of her craft as well as her wonderfully imaginative approach to her art."

Hanson will be profiled in the Designer's Sketchbook in the March 2005 issue of Entertainment Design that will also feature many examples of her design work.

For additional information about the Rising Star Award, contact USITT at www.usitt.org or 1-800-938-7488 or David Johnson, associate publisher and editorial director, Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions at djohnson@primediabusiness.com.