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The Play

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson

The true story of 19th-century astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt, Silent Sky explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific and heart-bound discoveries. With music and math bursting forth onstage, Henrietta and her peers change the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

The Play

The Competition

Entry Deadline
22 March 2022
What is                   ?
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                         is an international scenic design competition open to individual design entries from any designer outside the United States. Designers will submit their scenic designs for the Lauren Gunderson play Silent Sky, choosing either the Tedford Mainstage, a proscenium space, or The Ring Theatre, an intimate thrust space. Designers may submit up to two different designs. An international panel of judges will select a winning design to be produced by Wake Forest University Theatre for their mainstage season in the spring of 2023. The selected designer will work remotely with the production team to realize the design before being flown to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to spend two weeks in residency for final production, technical rehearsals, and an opening night reception and talk.

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The Competition
The Judges

The Judges

The international panel of judges who will select the winning design
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Lauren Gunderson has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015 topping the list twice. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied at Emory University and  NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her newest play The Catastrophist, about her husband virologist Nathan Wolfe, premiered digitally in January 2021. She co-authored the Miss Bennet plays with Margot Melcon, and her audioplay The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available on Her picture book Dr Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon is available from Two Lions/Amazon. She is currently developing musicals with Ari Afsar, Dave Stewart and Joss Stone, and Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk.

Lauren Gunderson

the Playwright

the Playwright

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Sofia Pantouvaki, PhD, is a scenographer and Professor of Costume Design at Aalto University, Finland. She is an awarded, practising designer with over 90 design credits for theatre, film, opera and dance productions in Europe, as well as international curatorial and exhibition design projects. Her work has been exhibited on three continents, including at World Stage Design 2017.
She is a founding Editor of the academic journal Studies in Costume and Performance; Chair of Critical Costume; Vice-Head for Research, OISTAT/Costume; and Co-Convener, IFTR Scenography WG. Co-Curator of the Finnish Student exhibit, winner of the Gold Medal at PQ15 and international Jury member for PQ19. She led the research project Costume Methodologies, funded by the Academy of Finland (2014-2018) and is lead editor of Performance Costume: New Perspectives and Methods (2021). Her research currently focuses on the practice of performance costume, curation and clothing in the concentration camps of World War 2.

Sofia Pantouvaki


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Dr. Cindy Gendrich is a director, author, and teacher interested in comic theory, acting and directing history, theory, and practice, as well as global forms of experimental theatre. Recent directing projects include The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Far Away, Marisol, Honk!,The Importance of Being Earnest, and King Lear. As well as writing numerous articles on her own, Dr. Gendrich has collaborated with colleagues on articles, plays, and books, including the well-known theatre appreciation text, Theatre, Its Art and Craft, now in its seventh edition. She was the founding director of the Wake Forest University Interdisciplinary Performance and the Liberal Arts Center (IPLACe), and has won grants from the NEH, NEFA, and the NEA. 

Cindy Gendrich

the Director

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Dahlia Al Habieli is an award-winning, scenic designer and educator. Dahlia was born and raised in Abu Dhabi- a diverse, multicultural city that fostered her love for rich and varied traditions of storytelling. Her childhood in the Middle East, undergraduate experience as an international student, and professional journey in the United States have all reinforced her commitment to the responsibilities of storytellers and arts educators as cultural stewards. As an artist and collaborator, Dahlia is interested in exploring unlikely connections and using her work to build cultural bridges. She loves collaborating with playwrights on new work, and discovering new possibilities in existing work. She creates performance spaces that are an invitation to conversation- evocative, eloquent spaces of possibility for the actors, artists, technicians, and audiences.

Recent credits include designs for Tony Award-winning companies such as the Dallas Theater Center and Trinity Rep.

Dahlia Al-Habieli

Scenic Designer

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Eduardo Sicangco lives in New York and continues to enjoy a forty-year career designing sets and costumes for a wide range of genres including plays, musicals, opera, ballet, film, Las Vegas spectaculars, circuses, ice shows,  cruise ship entertainment and theme parks. His work has been seen at various venues including Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, New York City Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and Dollywood. Originally from the Philippines, he moved to New York where he was mentored by Oliver Smith, Fred Voelpel, Carrie Robbins, Ben Edwards and Douglas Schmidt.

Eduardo Sicangco

Scenic & Costume Designer

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Rob Eastman-Mullins is a freelance scenographer—designing scenery, lighting, and costumes—and serves as Associate Professor of Design and Associate Chair for the Department of Theatre & Dance at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, USA. He has designed for Syracuse Opera, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Triad Stage, the Fletcher Opera Institute, New Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, NC Shakespeare Festival, and served as Art Director for the film China. A fan of working on new plays, Rob has designed for premieres with such playwrights as Jeff Baron, Catherine Bush, John Strand, Melinda Lopez, Vanessa Garcia, and Shirley Lauro. His work has been seen on a national tour of Turkey and exhibited around the United States and the world. In addition to designing for the theatre he enjoys riding motorcycles, playing darts, buying and wearing shirts that are actually interesting, traveling with his family, and pushing the limits of what other people find funny.

Rob Eastman-Mullins



The Venues


registration deadline
01 March 2022
entry deadline
22 March 2022

Register for the competition by clicking the button below. When your registration is processed, we will send you an information packet and instructions for submitting a design. Submit your design by 22 March 2022.

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