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Ignite Fund

Crowded Fire’s Enrichment Fund for Theater Designers

Launched in 2016, Crowded Fire’s Ignite Fund seeks to support the growth of and enhance the working lives of theater designers and technicians in the Bay Area with an eye towards supporting the plurality of race, culture, class, gender, and age in our local design and technical community.

Crowded Fire believes in the development of all artists and technicians, yet there are a limited number of grants for theater designers and technicians. We understand that growth in and innovation of design comes from designer’s and technician’s investment in tools and training. We believe in your, the designer’s and technician’s, vision and want to support the richness you bring to our local theater ecology.

Crowded Fire’s Ignite Fund provides grants for professional development workshops and training opportunities, to purchase design tools and equipment, and to strengthen the economic sustainability of an arts practice.


Each year a total of up to $10,000 will be granted through the Ignite Fund. Grants will range between $1,000 and $5,000.


2017 Recipients included Sara Huddleston, a sound designer who used her IGNITE funding for sound equipment purchases. Stage Manager and playwright Heather Kelly-Laws applied funding towards the creation of a professional stage manager kit. Alice Ruiz, a costume designer, applied funds towards costuming equipment and registration costs for ‘Costume College,’ an annual three-day costuming arts conference produced by Costumer’s Guild West, Inc. Scenic Designer Randy Wong-Westbrooke was awarded funding to attend the USITT and TCG conferences in 2018.


  • Application submission deadline August 1, 2018 by 11:59pm P.S.T. 
  • Notification of applicants (via email) by August 15th, 2017.
  • The earliest start date for granted activities is September 1, 2018, with completion of activities by July 1, 2019 of the following year.


Applications will be reviewed by a panel composed of local theater designers, technicians, and/or community members, as well as Crowded Fire staff members. Panelists will review eligible proposals and select recipients based on the information provided in your application by using the following selection criteria:

  • Designers and technicians practicing in the following areas will be considered: scenic, lights, sound, costumes, props, projection, video, puppetry, and stage management.
  • All applicants must have proof of working on four local, Bay Area theater productions in the last two calendar years and have proof of local residency.
  • Designers and technicians may apply for grants in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000 in support of:
    • professional development workshops and training opportunities,
    • purchase of design tools and equipment, and
    • strengthening the economic sustainability of an arts practice.
  • Priority will be given to applications that support a designer’s or technician’s career growth and/or bolstering a designer’s or technician’s individual tools and equipment.
  • Priority will be given to designers and/or technicians who reflect a potential to significantly impact and advance the local theater community.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who exhibit a track record of innovative, exploratory, and quality work.
  • The panel will review the applicant pool with an eye towards supporting the plurality of race, culture, class, gender, and age in our local design and technician community.
  • Applications must clearly articulate a plan to implement the proposed activities and an appropriate proposal budget must support that plan.
  • Only one application will be accepted per applicant. Collaborators may also apply as a team. 
  • We do not require applicants to have previously worked on a Crowded Fire show.


Applications will re-open in 2019, via an online form.

1. Please note that the online form does not allow you to save the application mid-way through your process, and that you must click the “submit” button at the bottom of the online form to finalize the submission process. Questions to prepare include:

  • Proposal Title
  • Artistic Statement: Describe your artistic vision and philosophy. (500 words or less)
  • Timeline: Describe your proposal activities and the timeline of those activities.
  • Immediacy: Why this proposal right now? How will support from the IGNITE Fund further your artistic growth and career? With the Fund’s help, will you be able to work in and advance the local theater community? 

2. Submission of the following documents in ONE email (or video):

  • PDF Resume of primary applicant. [File name: LastName_FirstName_Resume]
  • Proposal Budget: a detailed breakdown of the total proposal cost and the total requested from the IGNITE FUND. [File name: LastName_FirstName_Budget]
  • 3 examples of your work or description of a past technical project submitted as a link, jpeg, or pdf file.
  • Subject heading of email must read: “Subject: IGNITE FUND: Applicant name.”
  • Send the email to:
  • We are now also accepting video submissions in lieu of attachments. Please email us a link to your video at and be sure all required information in the above bullets is discussed/displayed in the video.

3. Application submission deadline August 1, 2018 by 11:59pm P.S.T.



  • Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
  • Please do not submit any materials beyond what is required in the application.
  • Only complete applications will be considered.
  • Please do not call or email Crowded Fire Theater Company to check the status of your application.

For questions regarding the application process, please email: