Lighting designer Sean Savoie is the recipient of the fifth annual USITT Rising Star Award, sponsored by LDI2009 and Live Design magazine. 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 the first four years of professional (non-academic) work, following the completion of their highest degree. The 2009 Rising Star Award will be presented at the Awards Banquet, which concludes the 2009 USITT Conference and Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday, March 21, 2009.

Savoie received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in the spring of 2005 at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he also served as instructor of Introduction to Stage Lighting and supervised undergrad stage crews for theatre and dance. He holds a BFA in technical theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi (spring 2000). His design credits include working as assistant lighting designer and draftsman for LD Thomas Hase for Company on Broadway, and both Faust and Don Giovanni for Portland Opera, and additional productions for Cincinnati Opera. Savoie is currently based in St. Louis, MO, where he has designed for Hot City Theatre, New Opera St. Louis, Insight Theatre Company, Upstream Theatre, St. Louis Shakespeare, Muddy Waters Theatre, and Black Cat Theatre, and Washington University. He also does production management for The Muny and Washington University in St. Louis.

Robert Henke, chair, Performing Arts Department and professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at Washington University, recommended Savoie saying: “His lighting designs for our dance and theatre productions have been positively remarkable: subtle, daring, technically impeccable, innovative, and captivating. So outstanding has his lighting work been that two senior faculty members, one in playwriting and one in dance, have asked him to work with them on an experimental, original piece that will combine lighting, movement, and the spoken word in fluid, interactive ways. He clearly works at the state-of-the-art threshold, not merely maintaining our lighting and technical equipment but continually innovating and developing our technical range. He is the quintessential go-getter: energetic, optimistic, independent, and fueled by a seemingly inexhaustible energy source. As ambitious as he is, in the best sense, he is also remarkably collegial and cooperative, working productively and happily with students, staff, and faculty”

David Johnson, associate publisher and editorial director of Live Design, notes, “We are extremely pleased that Sean Savoie is this year’s winner of the USITT Rising Star Award. He comes highly recommended and is definitely a young designer to watch. And in keeping with the strong lighting component of this year's USITT, with the tribute to Jules Fisher, it seems fitting that this year's Rising Star is a young lighting designer.”

Carl Lefko, USITT president, said, "It is amazing the ability displayed by this young man and we look forward to the innovations this designer will make as his career progresses. This is the fifth year the Rising Star award has been presented, and each year USITT's adjudicators find it more difficult to choose only one winner because of the depth of talent the pool of nominees exhibits."

LDI and Live Design have endowed USITT's Rising Star Award in perpetuity, with the winner receiving a $1,000 prize. Additional support this year has come from Nemetschek North America, who will present Savoie with a Vectorworks 2009 software package at a reception during the USITT Expo in Cincinnati.