Lighting designer Sean Savoie is winner of the 2009 USITT Rising Star Award, sponsored by LDI2009 and Live Design, and presented at the USITT banquet in Cincinnati on March 21. Additional support this year is by Nemetschek North America, which will provide Savoie with a Vectorworks 2009 software package.

Originally from New Orleans, Savoie first studied to be an actor, but his undergrad advisor at the University of Southern Mississippi, George Crook, encouraged him to go into design. “He convinced me to pursue lighting design,” says Savoie, who, in his senior year, lit The Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson, a production that went all the way to the American College Theatre Festival Kennedy Center. “My second show was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was the opening production in the school’s new three-million dollar theatre. I felt like I had the golden touch from the beginning,” he adds.

Savoie earned his MFA at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 2005 and has had a busy career in freelance lighting design and production management, which he currently does at both The Muny summer festival and Washington University in St. Louis. “The two dove-tail perfectly,” he says. After grad school, he worked in Cincinnati for a few years, where two of his notable productions were Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story by Stephen Dolginoff and In The Blood by Suzan Lori Parks, both at the Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

Savoie says he is happy doing both lighting design and production management. “I’ve been very lucky and have always been able to work in the theatre since I started my career,” he says. ”This award will help me push myself in new ways as a lighting designer.”

Nemetschek North America will provide Savoie with a Vectorworks 2009 software package and co-host a reception in his honor at USITT.

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For additional images and information, see the March issue of Live Design.