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Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Barbizon Awards for Theatrical Design
Excellence in Scenic, Costume, and Lighting Design

View past winners and winning material

[Picture of National Barbizon Award Winners Joseph Brack (costume design) and Jennette Kollman (lighting design) with one of the Hyenas from The Lion King during a tour of Parsons-Meares Costume Shop in New York] National Barbizon Award Winners Joseph Brack (costume design) and Jennette Kollman (lighting design) with one of the Hyenas from The Lion King during a tour of Parsons-Meares Costume Shop in New York.

Barbizon Inc. is a premier theatrical supply house specializing in advanced lighting for professionals. The purpose of the Barbizon Awards for Theatrical Design Excellence is to give outstanding student designers national recognition and the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Kennedy Center. Designs will be appraised on the basis of quality, effectiveness, originality, and rendering techniques. Schools with one or more student designers in participating or associate productions are eligible for the Barbizon Awards for Theatrical Design Excellence. Entering schools will, at the time of registration with the Kennedy Center and Regional Chair, inform the Regional Chair of any student designers in one or more of the three design categories and will request adjudication.

[Picture of Costume Design respondent Susan Hilferty with the nominees during the National Barbizon Award Exposition]

Costume Design respondent Susan Hilferty with the nominees during the National Barbizon Award Exposition.

Specific award information will be mailed to the entering college or university. Interested designers can also request a copy of the regulations for entering designs by completing the coupon below and mailing it to KCACTF at the Kennedy Center. Additional information about regional design awards is available from your regional chair.

Designs may be selected for the regional festival regardless of whether the production itself is selected for the regional festival. Regional design respondents will select one winner in set design, one winner in costume design, and one winner in lighting design from the regional design entries.

Scenic Design respondent John Conklin at the National Barbizon Award Exposition.

[Picture of Scenic Design respondent John Conklin at the National Barbizon Award Exposition] Designs of the regional finalists will be on display during the KCACTF national festival and will be returned to the designers immediately following it. A national winner in set design, a national winner in costume design, and a national winner in lighting design will be selected from regional finalists by the national design respondents during the national festival. National winners will receive a honorarium of $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for seven days, where they will visit the studios of distinguished designers and the offices of Lighting Design respondent Beverly Emmons reviewing work at the National Barbizon Award Exposition.

[Picture of Lighting Design respondent Beverly Emmons reviewing work at the National Barbizon Award Exposition] Barbizon Inc. USITT's THEATRE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY will publish information on the Barbizon national design winners. Please refer to the Mehron section for information on regional and national awards for make-up.

The KCACTF gratefully acknowledges The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) for its generous support of regional level design award cooperative activities between KCACTF regional design programs and USITT regional sections.

Regulations and Procedures for the Barbizon Awards

  1. Only schools with one or more student designers in participating or associate productions are eligible for the Barbizon Awards for Theatrical Design Excellence. Entering schools will, at the time of registration with the Kennedy Center and Regional Chair, inform the Regional Chair of any student designers in one or more of the four design categories and will request adjudication.
  2. Only bona fide students are eligible for this award. For the purposes of this award a bona fide student is one who, during the period of initial screening, is: an undergraduate student registered for at least six semester hours or nine quarter hours; a graduate student registered for at least three semester or four quarter hours; a continuing part time student enrolled in a regular degree or certificate program.
  3. The three categories in which responses will occur are Scene Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design.
  4. All design materials must be labeled with: Title of Production, Act and Scene and Designer's name and institution. The designer's return address should be on the back of each item of the entry. The complete design presentation, when mounted and displayed on a vertical surface should not exceed approximately 25 square feet. When size limitations of scaled presentation materials require xerographic reduction, such out-of-scale reduction should be noted.
  5. After the initial screening, the student designer will send the design materials requested, including representative color production photos (at least two), to the host of the Regional Festival two weeks prior to the festival or bring materials to the design exhibit space in person prior to the scheduled time for display at the Regional Festival (unless the Regional Festival host requests a different timetable.)
  6. Student designers will submit the appropriate design materials to the judge(s) at the screening visit. Following is a list of requested materials. Not all designers at the regional level will have all of this material but this should not discourage or prevent them from participating in the competition. The design materials requested are:

Scene Design

  1. Ground plans and color sketches of the setting in a medium of the designer's choice. Blue-line (or equivalent) plans should not exceed 26 inches by 40 inches. Color sketches or renderings may be no larger than 26 inches x 40 inches. A model and ground plan may be substituted but KCACTF cannot assume liability for damage or loss incurred to the model during shipping to the regional or national festival. Models must be built in suitable scale for shipping and exhibition.
  2. All materials must be labeled with: Title of Production, Act and Scene, and Designer's name and institution. The designer's return address should be on the back of each item of entry.
  3. Visual materials which serve to show research, preliminary sketches, photographic images, and any other sources of inspiration which demonstrate the designers' process and evolution should be provided on a panel no larger than 26 inches by 40 inches.

Costume Design

  1. Six to twelve representative renderings, with costume fabric swatches attached.
  2. For productions requiring more than twelve costumes, the designer should include a graphic color scheme showing the palette for the entire production.
  3. Renderings or color sketches may be no larger than 18 inches x 24 inches.
  4. A one-page statement of the design approach to the production should be included separately from the renderings and color scheme.
  5. Visual materials which serve to show research, preliminary sketches, photographic images, and any other sources of inspiration which demonstrate the designers' process and evolution should be provided on a panel no larger than 26 inches by 40 inches.

Lighting Design

  1. Light plot, color key (or any method of showing color choices), magic sheet and traditional paperwork (such as hook-up and instrument schedule) for the production should be mounted in an orderly, logical fashion. Area used for this material should not exceed 26 inches by 40 inches.
  2. Representative color photographs of the production should be labeled as to scene/locale. At least one photograph should illustrate the entire setting and its relationship to the stage and theatre space.
  3. Sample production cue sheets should be accompanied with a description of the moments and "looks" desired.
  4. Paint and fabric swatches should be provided to give a sense of the overall scenic and costume color and texture schemes.
  5. A one-page statement of the design approach to the production should be included separately from the plot and other presentational materials.
  6. Visual materials which serve to show research, preliminary sketches, photographic images, and any other sources of inspiration which demonstrate the designers' process and evolution should be provided on a panel no larger than 26 by 40 inches.

General Information on the Design Awards

  1. Designs entered in the Barbizon Award for Theatrical Design Excellence may be selected for the regional festival regardless of whether or not the production is selected for the regional festival. Student designers will be notified of the selection of the designs for the regional exhibition according to the procedures of the region: at the time of the initial screening by the respondent or by the Regional Chair or at the time of announcement of the productions chosen for the regional festival.
  2. The designer is responsible for developing a suitable method of shipping the design both to and from the regional and national festival, including appropriate mailing and insurance charges.
  3. Each regional festival will include a design workshop. Design respondents will give an open critique session of the exhibit at the regional festival for student designers whose work is on display and for festival participants. The guest designer will select, or serve as chairman of a panel of designers who will select, not more than three designs (one in set design, one in costume design, and one in lighting design) for exhibition at the Kennedy Center. Announcements of the designs selected for exhibition at the Kennedy Center will be made at the regional festival.
  4. Attendance at the National Design Critique is not mandatory. For those designers able to attend, KCACTF will provide hotel accommodations and per diem for the period of design adjudication. Faculty mentors will be allowed to observe the national design critique on a space available basis. The design award will be based solely on the submitted design documentation relative to the entered participating or associate production.
  5. Student design finalists may, at their option, bring their portfolio to the Kennedy Center. Time permitting, the national design award respondents will be available to examine portfolios. However, the contents of the portfolio will have no bearing on the selection of the national winners and the portfolio materials shall not be presented to or discussed with the respondents until after the winning designs have been chosen.

For more information on your regional design award programs, contact your regional design chair.