Nominations are now open for USITT's 2009 Rising Star Award, sponsored and created by LDI2008 Live Design. The prestigious Rising Star Award recognizes young professionals in the early years of their careers for artistic excellence in the areas of lighting, sound, scenic, and projection design or the convergence of design disciplines. A recipient must be in the first four years of professional (non-academic) work following the completion of his or her highest degree.

"Last year was a perfect fit for sound designer Elisheba Ittoop as it was a big year for the USITT Sound Commission and she was part of a wonderful group of sound professionals, “ said Ellen Lampert-Greaux, consulting editor/conference director for Live Design/LDI. “We also kept track of two additional designers who were nominated for the Rising Star Award last year. Scenic designer Madeleine Bernatchez is included in our Young Designers to Watch feature in the October 2008 issue of Live Design, and Ben Hagen has been named the Wally Russell Newcomer Award winner this year. We expect to hear great things about all the Rising Stars, and look forward to ‘meeting’ this year's nominees."

USITT President Carl Lefko noted: "The quality and caliber of those who are nominated for this award continues to rise each year. This is an opportunity which USITT and Live Design/LDI have created for young design professionals, and we anticipate the winners will be big names in our field for years to come."

To nominate young professionals for this award, click here. Nominees will be contacted by USITT and asked to supply a professional resume, two letters of support, an application, and no more than eight representative examples of their work via the online submission process. A jury of professional theatre designers and technicians, and the editor of Live Design magazine will review submissions. Nominees are judged for the range of knowledge displayed and for the best integration of skills, craft, and artistry.

The 2009 Rising Star Award winner will receive $1,000, a one-year individual membership to USITT, and a complimentary registration and banquet ticket for the 49th Annual Conference & Stage Expo, which will be held March 18-21, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The award will be presented March 21 at the 2009 USITT annual awards banquet, which concludes the conference.

Online nominations must be submitted and received in the USITT office by October 17, 2008. Approved nominees will be notified to login to the online portfolio submission pages through November 30.