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Home » News » FSU theatre costume design students win big at Southeastern Theatre Conference

FSU theatre costume design students win big at Southeastern Theatre Conference

Published April 17, 2024

Zachary Payne works with Associate Professor Jacki Armit on a piece for “Dragons Love Tacos” in 2022.

Three students from the Florida State University School of Theatre’s MFA costume design program were recently recognized by the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) for their achievements.

Sungwon An received first place in graduate costume design, Asher Lipscomb received first place in costume technology and Zachary Payne received first place in costume crafts and second place in graduate costume design at the SETC convention in Mobile, Alabama.

“We are constantly impressed by the talent and growth of our students, and we are so excited to see them do so well at SETC,” said Jen Gillette, assistant professor of costume design. “It’s so exciting to see our students’ hard work celebrated at this level of the industry. Their success is confirmation that the rigor and quality of what we offer in our costume programs, both in the classroom and on stage, is on par with professional expectations.”

Sungwon An (left) and Zachary Payne (right) pose with costume designer Erik Reagan Teague, who served at the convention’s keynote speaker and judged the design competition.

MFA student Asher Lipscomb was awarded first place in SETC’s costume technology competition.

For Lipscomb, who received an award for an elaborate gown created for the School of Theatre’s production of “Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812,” and the rest of the winning students, success at the competition is a welcome recognition of their work, which could lead to professional opportunities.

“Winning the competition is a great acknowledgment. It is very validating to have your work recognized,” Lipscomb said. “It’s also a great way to get your name out there as a young designer or technician.”

The SETC competition recognizes the highly detailed work that goes into creating theatrical costumes. Hours of hard work and extensive research by costumers are behind each costume seen on stage during a School of Theatre production.

“To make a great costume, you need to be able to tell the character’s story and that requires a lot of thought and technique,” said Lipscomb. “You can create the most beautiful costume ever, but if you haven’t done your research and it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the production, you have done the entire show a disservice.”

First organized in 1949, SETC is the most expansive and comprehensive theater network in the United States. It hosts more than 4,000 performing arts industry professionals at its annual convention each spring.

The School of Theatre’s graduate programs are consistently ranked amongst the best in the world for aspiring theater professionals, both on stage and behind the scenes.

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