The Judges

For 2020, the judging process has evolved to include previous winners for the first round of reviews, which will create the shortlists. Each ceremony will have a dedicated judging panel from the associated geographical region, flexing their expertise in their given markets. The second round of judging for 2020 will give the panel an opportunity to explore the project entries in more depth that ever before.

Steve Lieberman


Michael Nishball


Todd Hensley


Rosani Gomes


Andy Taylor – Gasoline Design

Andy ran away from home at 18 to join the metaphorical circus; i.e, moved to London to do lights for a collection of bands ranging from hardcore industrial metal bashing noise merchants to psychedelic space rockers.
Then toured with Chameleon and Entec as system tech, rigger, lamp hanger, general dogsbody and occasional board op. He then settled back in London as house lighting designer for Marquee club in Wardour Street, and also toured with bands picked up along the way, and the odd acid house party.
Andy moved to Ireland in 1990, continued touring the world with a select group of Irish bands ranging from trad to punk, and worked as a freelance Vari-Lite tech/programmer.
More by luck than judgement, he fell into architectural lighting design for hotels, pubs – while still squeezing in a few tours and the obligatory muddy fields in summer. Most recently he’s worked as lighting designer for Irish installer Audiotek on its major projects including most lately JEWEL, as well continuing with his own projects.

Cat Strom – Cat Strom Entertainment Technology PR

With a background of nearly 30 years in entertainment technology PR, photography and design Cat Strom is the owner and Editor of – the ultimate resource for all venue owners, designers and suppliers. Cat has also been in charge of PR & Marketing for Show Technology for over 15 years – the company distributes major brands such as Martin, Clay Paky, MA, GLP and Robert Juliat. In more recent years, Cat has been a regular contributing editor at CX Magazine and Light Tonight – the internet TV show for global lighting news. And Cat is also the founder and allrounder for Australasian Lighting Industry Association (ALIA) – a national non-profit incorporated association.

Scott Willsallen – Auditoria

Scott, owner of Auditoria Pty Ltd, is a leading expert in audio design for major international broadcast events. His design credits include the Sochi 2014, London 2012, Vancouver 2010 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games Ceremonies, Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Ceremonies, Baku 2015 European Games Ceremonies, Doha 2011 Arab Games Ceremonies, Doha 2006 Asian Games Ceremonies, 2008 World Youth Day, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Ceremonies, and the 2011 and 2003 Rugby World Cup Ceremonies. His work on Baku 2015 was recognised with an Emmy at the 43rd Daytime Emmy Awards.
Scott is trained in music, engineering and physics; holding a Masters with Honours in Audio Design and Acoustics. His unique skill set and vast experience place him as a world leader as an Audio Designer and Director. Scott’s Masters thesis studied the subjective experience of sound in a stadium presenting a paper at the Audio Engineering Society conference in 2004. His fascination with stadia continued with the design and delivery of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Ceremonies, and so began a strong reputation for delivering the best sound for the largest stadium events and fixed installations in the world.

Todd Hensley – Schuler Shook

Todd Hensley, ASTC, is a Partner with Schuler Shook Theatre Planners in their Chicago office. He has an extensive theatre consulting portfolio of more than 400 projects. He has earned a reputation for his research, innovative design, rigorous attention to detail, and genuinely collaborative approach. Notable projects include the Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion in Millennium Park, renovations of the Seattle and Sarasota Opera Houses, the Wentz Concert Hall for North Central College, and the Ryan Center for Musical Arts for Northwestern University.  Todd is also a stage lighting designer and teaches stage lighting design at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.

Stephen Lieberman – SJ Lighting

Many people aspire to see their name in lights, but Stephen Lieberman’s claim to fame is in the lights themselves. As lighting/production designer, jockey, and president of Southern California-based design firm SJ Lighting, Stephen has established himself as a leader in the space bridging electronic dance music and technology design, illuminating some of the world’s biggest clubs and festivals.
The electronic music landscape is one Stephen knows well, having been involved in the industry since childhood. His first job, at 15 years old, was cleaning glasses and sweeping floors at a nightclub, and occasionally playing visual jockey for DJs by flicking the light switch in time to the beat. He continued working in clubs and doing lights throughout college, and made the decision to drop his plans of becoming a lawyer to fulfill his dreams in New York City.
He got his first big break when iconic club El Morocco -playground to celebrities such as Liz Taylor, Jackie Gleason, and Joe DiMaggio back in the day – came under new ownership looking to open a New York branch of their Irish club Nightowls. Stephen was awarded the gig; it was his first major installation.
Once he had that on his résumé, everything else fell into place. To date, he has put his touch on over 100 clubs throughout the United States, from Los Angeles (Create, Exchange, Sound) and Las Vegas (XS, Life, Drai’s) to Miami (Story, Nocturnal, Liv at Fontainbleau) and New York (Lavo, Marquee, Crobar); and his handiwork has since been admired in festival environments worldwide, including Ultra festivals in Korea, South Africa, the UK, and Croatia; EDCs in Las Vegas, New York, and Orlando; and Toronto’s Digital Dreams, among many others.
Along the way, Stephen has garnered much recognition for his achievements in the lighting industry. He has been nominated for 11 World Club Awards of which he won three. He is also a two-time nominee (and one-time winner) of the Live Design Excellence Awards, and has been nominated Best LD at the Parnelli Awards for his work at EDC.

Michael Nishball – Principal, 

As our principal theatre equipment designer, Michael has overall responsibility for providing clients with efficient, cost-effective systems and safe workplaces. Since 1995, Michael has provided stagehouse design, stage equipment details, and specifications for hundreds of performance spaces. His work includes on-site review of structural systems, rigging equipment, and stage machinery to identify field deficiencies affecting project quality and timely completion.
Before joining Theatre Projects, Michael worked for the rigging contractor Pook, Diemont and Ohl, Inc. for seven years. Michael has worked for many theatre companies in numerous capacities including stagehand, production designer, and I-mag video camera operator. He supervised lighting and rigging for the Wooster Group, touring many cultural capitals and major international festivals. Michael also worked with the Boston Shakespeare Company, the American Repertory Theater, and several modern dance companies in Boston. He has lectured in technical design at the Yale School of Drama.
Michael received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art in the Studio for Interrelated Media, and his Associate of Science in television production from Grahm Junior College. He is a member of the Construction Specifications Institute with a certificate in Construction Document Technology.

Ben M Rogers – Ardent Creative Production

Creative junkie, technical geek and wearer of many hats, Ben has an eclectic career as a visual designer, technical director and design consultant working internationally on theatrical shows, concerts, events, theme parks and venues.
Recent theatre projects include: Mamma Mia (Cyprus), HAIR 50th Anniversary (The Vaults, London), Saturday Night Fever (Guernsey), Tick,Tick, Boom! (Park Theatre, London), Ninjago Live (Legoland, Dubai), Little Women (Manchester).
Venue designs include: Lock, Stock & Barrel, Q43, Inner City Zoo (Dubai), MusicHall (Dubai & Beirut).
Festivals and live music include: Living Color Festival (Agia Napa), Jose Carreras, Red Priest, Cypress Hill and the OperaBabes.
Retaining a diverse portfolio of challenges he has also designed and delivered conferences for numerous international brands as well as VIP private events, parties and weddings.

David Gray – Oasis Enterprises LLC

David Gray is the Architainment Division Manager of Oasis Enterprises, a specialist  performance technology systems integrator based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and  working across the GCC region.
His early career as a lighting designer was born in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival of  1985 while studying at Edinburgh University. He worked with Black Light for a  decade, introducing Vari*Lite moving heads to the Edinburgh Tattoo and beginning  to develop an understanding of the interaction of people, technology and light.
Joining ETC Europe in 1997 to create their European Projects Department, David has  managed projects as diverse as the refit of Royal Opera House, Covent Garden,  Warner Brothers Theme Park (Madrid), Disney Studios (Paris), Megaron Opera  (Athens) and the  Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nayhan Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi)  before his continued journey east of his native Scotland saw him join Oasis in 2009.
The interaction of People, Performance, Architecture, Technology and Light,  combined with Audio Visual and Special Effects, are the type of challenges and  problems that he continues to solve drawing from his International experience.
Focusing on the planning and execution of installations that combine the fixed  elements of architectural projects with dynamic entertainment technology, Oasis  Architainment works on a wide range of projects from multi purpose theatres and  broadcast studios to frozen yoghurt stores and water parks.