AACT 2021 Design Competition | AACT

AACT 2021 Design Competition

2021 Virtual Design Competition
In conjunction with Virtual AACTFest 2021

2021 Virtual Design Competition Best of the Decade! Celebrates Designers & Their Work

Show off the designs that enhance your productions and take them to new levels. The AACT 2021 National Design Competition will showcase the best of community theatre in this country. It’s an opportunity for your theatre and designers to shine, sponsored by USITT.

AACT member theatres and their designers may enter designs, which must be of projects occurring between July 1, 2011 and May 1, 2021

Design Categories

  • Scenic
  • Lighting
  • Properties
  • Costume
  • Special Design

General Requirements

  1.  A Design Competition Registration Form must be submitted online for each design entry by May 1, 2021.
  2.  An Entry Fee of $20 must be submitted for each design entry.
  3.  Qualifications:
  4. Each entry must be a design created for an AACT member theatre production or be a design created by an AACT individual member for use by a community theatre. Productions must have been staged between July 1, 2011 and May 1, 2021.
  5. Previous winners of AACT Design Competitions may not re-enter their winning design.
  6. Each entry should represent a single design aspect of a single production.

                4.  Virtual Display Specifics:

  • Every Virtual Display must include a written Design Statement in which the designer states the objective and challenges of the design. The entrant should also share his/her concept, thought, and rationale for the design. The Design Statement should be no longer than 350 words.
  • Every Virtual Display must include photos and/or videos of the design as it was originally presented. When possible, photos and videos should show the entirety of the world of the play. For example: a costumed actor on a set rather than an actor in the dressing room; a set under stage light with actors, not only under a work light.
  • Photos and/or videos will be submitted in a virtual format. Accepted file formats include: PDF, PPT, JPG, DOC (X), MP4, MOV. After the Design Competition Registration Form is received, you will receive a link to a google folder that has been created for your submission   

a) The Design statement should be saved as an individual DOC or PDF, not bundled into a video or powerpoint slide show.

b)  The remainder of the Display should be consistent using only one format, when possible.

c)  It is strongly suggested that the .jpgs you choose be presented in a cohesive format rather than individual pictures. Suggested formats are:

               (i) Videos, which may not be longer than 5 minutes. Note-You can link jpegs, etc. to create a video design entry.. The video should not just be a scene from a show unless it is to demonstrate an f/x. 

               (ii)    DOC or PDF, which should be no more than 8 pages.

               (iii)   A Powerpoint (PPT) with no more than 15 slides.  Please keep transition effects to a minimum to avoid computer problems.

  • A pleasing virtual presentation of the design entry is strongly encouraged. Entrants should include anything they think will help the adjudicators envision and comprehend their design.
  • The Special Design category is for special technical projects which may include, but is not limited to: sound, puppets, masks, special F/X, rain, blood, projections, etc.

                5.  Presentation:

  • Entries will be displayed online during Virtual AACTFest 2021, June 14-20, 2021.

Criteria for Adjudication

  • Did the Design Statement clearly reference the overall design concept: how it was developed, and how it supported the production.
  • Did the Virtual Display successfully present the design? Was it engaging and organized? Did it reflect the design skills of the artist?
  • How did choices of color, line, texture, composition, and motion reflect the objectives and solutions chosen? Were these design elements presented as a unified whole?
  • Did the design support the world of the play in a fashion integrated with the other elements?
  • What were the challenges faced? How successful and appropriate were the solutions chosen?
  • Does the design show a command of the tools and crafts of the artist and have a high degree of finish?
  • What is the overall impact of the Virtual Display?

Adjudication Notes

  • The adjudicators will have sole responsibility for the interpretation of these criteria and their execution.
  • Every entrant will receive an e-mail with written feedback from the adjudicators on his/her design and virtual display.
  • The decisions of the adjudicators will be final.
  • There will be an online talk-back session with the design adjudicators during the week of Vrtual AACTFest 2021. The adjudicators will discuss 2 – 3 designs and virtual displays from each design category during the talk-back.

Entry Form

For more information, contact Bob Frame and Rich Gannon at designcompetition@aact.org; or the AACT office: 817-732-3177, info@aact.org.

Design Competition Registration Forms must be submitted by May 1, 2021

2021 Design Competition Adjudicators

Wallace, WilliamWilliam Wallace is Professor of Theatre Arts at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received an M.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technical Direction from the University of Minnesota. Bill has taught theatre in a high school and at a small college on the East Coast, has worked as a free-lance designer, and has been the designer/technical director for a small repertory company. He served as an adjudicator for the 2017 AACT Design Competition


Emo, Ann Ann R. Emo is Chair and Professor at the Theater Department at Buffalo State University in Buffalo, New York, where she teaches costume design, stage make-up, and technical theater. She received her M.F.A. from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and worked in the New York City area for several years, designing costumes for stage, dance, film, and opera. She has also designed for several theatres in Buffalo, New York, including Studio Arena Theatre, Theater of Youth (TOY), Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Kavinoky Theatre, Irish Classical Theatre Company, and the Jewish Repertory Theater of Buffalo, as well as the GEVA Theatre Center in Rochester, New York.



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