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Feb. 18, 2014/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



  Three students, one alumna honored for work in makeup, scenic arts and sound design

WINSTON-SALEM – Three students in the School of Design and Production (D&P) at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) are the best in the nation in their fields, and a recent D&P alumna working in New York is a rising star in her profession. The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) has announced that Kai Ravelson, David Valentino and Alexa Busnot will receive student awards. New York sound designer Janie Bullard is the 2014 Rising Star, awarded in conjunction with Live Design magazine.

Dean of Design and Production Joseph P. Tilford, who serves on USITT’s board of directors, said UNCSA students and alumni are honored year after year by USITT. “We are very proud to add Kai, David, Alexa and Janie to the list of students and alumni who have been honored over the years by USITT,” he said. “These awards are very meaningful testament to the talent and hard work of our students and the expert instruction and guidance of our faculty,” he added.

Ravelson, a third-year graduate student in wig and makeup design, has won the Makeup Design Award sponsored by Kryolan Professional Make-Up.  Her wig and makeup experience includes hair design for the Billy Elliott National Tour of Brazil, wig construction for the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown, N.Y., and a wig technician internship with Saturday Night Live. From Milton, Mass., Ravelson is the sixth UNCSA student to win the award in the past eight years.

Valentino,  a senior scene design major from Vernon Hills, Ill., has won the W. Oren Parker Undergraduate Scene Design Award sponsored by Stage Decoration & Supplies, becoming the fourth UNCSA winner in six years. In addition to UNCSA productions, he has assisted on set designs for the Broadway production of Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, Triad Stage’s Shipwrecked, and productions of the Williamstown (Mass.) Theatre Festival.

Busnot, a senior studying scenic painting, has won the first Master Craftsmanship Award sponsored by Bernhard R. Works. Works, a USITT Fellow, recently created the award to recognize a graduating college senior as a theatre artisan. The award will rotate among artists in scene painting, props, and costume making. Busnot’s talent has been displayed at The Cape Playhouse on Cape Cod, Mass. and at the Maine State Music Theatre. She is from Jacksonville, Fla. 

Bullard, who received an M.F.A. in 2010, has won kudos for sound design and original music for off-Broadway productions by the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, the Lee Strasburg Theatre and Film Institute, the York Theatre Company, and Theatre 167, among others. Indie Theatre Now named her one of its “15 People of the Year” for 2013, calling her “an inventive and ubiquitous sound designer and composer.”

Bullard is the second UNCSA sound design alumna to be named a USITT/LiveDesign Rising Star. Elisheba Ittoop, who received an M.F.A. in 2007, won the award in 2008. 

A native of Sanford, N.C., Bullard received her B.A. in dramatic art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. While in graduate school at UNCSA, she was a teaching assistant for the director of the sound design program, and designed sound for Triad Stage in Greensboro.

From top to bottom, Janie Bullard, Alexa Busnot, Kai Ravelson and David Valentino (photos courtesy of USITT)

Bullard’s professional sound design credits include Flux Theatre Ensemble’s  Honey Fist by August Schulenberg and Sans Merci by Johnna Adams (for which she also composed original music). She is working on two upcoming productions with director Daniel Talbott: The Gin Baby by Sarah Shaefer and Foo Fable by David Van Asselt.

Each of the four award winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and free registration for the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo, the industry‘s leading event for education, networking and resourcing of theatrical products and services. Scheduled for March 26-29 in Fort Worth, Texas, the conference also includes an awards show to recognize winners in 11 categories, plus the Rising Star.

USITT, the nation’s leading association for the backstage industry, offers year-round training, networking, and information opportunities. For information visit www.usitt.org.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.