Crowded Fire Theater (CFT), Known as a Vital Home for the Development and Production of New Plays on the West Coast, Announces Miaccuicatl Alexander, Alexa Burrell, Brooke L Jennings, Kevin Lo and Sara Witsch as the Sixth Cohort of IGNITE Honorees FUND. The IGNITE FUND awards a total of $10,000 annually to support the growth and improve the working lives of Bay Area theater designers and technicians through a competitive grantmaking process.
“We are grateful to the anonymous donor who supports the IGNITE FUND each year. It is so important to prioritize theatrical art creators of all kinds,” commented production manager Stephanie Alyson. “The IGNITE FUND was created to invest in the sustainability and growth of individual artists who have very limited funding opportunities through grants and awards. This year’s artists work throughout the Bay Area in a variety of disciplines, and therefore impact the sustainability of the greater Bay Area Theater Community.”
Just as Crowded Fire’s artistic programming supports a plurality of voices, the IGNITE FUND is distributed with an awareness of supporting a diversity of race, culture, class, gender, age, and sexual orientation in our local technical and design community. The IGNITE FUND provides grants for professional development workshops and training opportunities, for the purchase of design tools and equipment, and to build the economic sustainability of an artistic practice.
In this 2022 round, Miaccuicatl Alexander received funding for a projector, laptop, and transportation funds. Miaccuicatl Alexander (they/them), artistically known as Indijeane, is a trans non-binary indigenous Nahua artist/technician specializing in sound design, film, photography, 3D, virtual reality, projection and Web 3 that embraces the need to reconnect to the ancestral wisdom of expanded gender roles in Nahua Indigenity through Indigenous Futurism. They were born on Kumeyaay land in San Diego, CA / Tijuana, Mexico and raised on both sides of the Borderlands. Their ultimate goal in art is to honor their ancestors through visual and auditory experiences like ofrendas to maintain autonomy, sovereignty and playfully reject colonized iterations of performativity that compel Indigenous groups to adhere to the ‘erasure. During the pandemic, their work has focused on producing theater artists moving from traditional venue spaces to digital contexts, creating resilience to the changing landscape of the arts and accessibility for audiences, whatever their need for ‘accessibility.
Alexa Burrell has received funding to help her develop her stop motion studio. Alexa Burrell was born in San Francisco, California in 1987. A mercurial mixed-media artist, Alexa creates immersive video and sound installations that center black woman’s complex experiences, environmental change, and speculative documentation. Alexa weaves together field recordings, video composites, projections, animations, sculptures, and archival materials to create lush, evocative fantasy narratives that compare the emotional and the material, the natural and the technological and the scientific and spiritual. Since 2016, Alexa has been a documentary filmmaker, design artist, and member of House/Full of Blackwomen, a ritual performance collective led by amara tabor-smith and Ellen Sebastian-Chang that addresses displacement, sex trafficking, and the well-being of black women. . and the girls. She has produced immersive projections and sound designs for Bay Area theaters such as Stanford University, Dance Mission Theatre, ODC, Joe Goode Performance Group and Counterpulse. Additionally, Alexa is a musician with a solo project LEXAGON. His music brings an Afro-futuristic sonic mirage of sonic weaving with enchanting vocals, clarinet, field recordings and handmade instruments. Inspired by female jazz singers and melancholic love songs, her performances incorporate feminine ballads with ritualized moments of improvisation and complex rhythms of unusual objects such as baking sheets and birds. His music has been described as “old, sexy and haunting”.
Brooke Jennings (she/her) received funding for an art course in sewing machine and fabric dyeing. Brooke is an award-winning costume designer, textile artist and educator living in San Francisco. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz’s Master of Theater Arts program, her collaborations with directors, playwrights, and performers spawn dynamic and groundbreaking new works in the theatrical landscape, marrying classic techniques with advanced technology. peak. His work has been seen on stages across the country, including Magic Theater (assistant designer: Monument, A Lie of the Mind, Bad Jews), American Conservatory Theater (TiJean and His Brothers (MFA Program)) San Jose Stage Company (The Great Leap), Shotgun Players (Vinegar Tom, Arcadia), San Francisco Playhouse (Barbewue, The Effect, Colossal, The Nether), We Players (Pyschopomp, Caesar Maximus, Roman Women, Ondine), Center REP (Dance Lessons) , FaultLine Theater (Maggie’s Riff, Dead Dog’s Bone), Virago Theater (The Singularity (New York Premier), Custom Made Theater Company (Belleville, Sam and Dede (SF and NY Premieres) and Santa Cruz Shakespeare (Assistant Designer, A Year with frog and toad) She thanks her family and her husband, Cole, for their unwavering support and encouragement.
Kevin Lo received funding for audio equipment. Kevin CK Lo (he/any) is a composer, choreographer, writer and artist living in the land of Chochenyo Ohlone (Oakland). In his compositions for live performances and installations, he uses instruments, digital sound processing and generative programming environments to examine the spatial and auditory sensitivities, topological structure and kinesthetic response of the audience while seeking to corrupt conventional compositional/performative/installative logic. Alongside Alex Cruse, he is part of the interdisciplinary experimental duo DROUGHT SPA. As a technician, he has worked at CounterPulse and Joe Goode Annex since 2018, and served as Technical Director for CounterPulse 2020-22, where he continues to work as a home technician. He is an event technician for Small Press Traffic and has also held various technician and videographer positions with Southern Exposure, The Lab, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Northern California Community Land Trust, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival, among others. He is currently studying for a doctorate in music composition at UC Berkeley.
Sara Witsch (they/she) received funding for a laptop and studio expenses. Sara designs sound for theatre, radio plays, video games, podcasts and films. Some recent credits include a radio rendition of Rough Magic with ACT’s Conservatory, Monument with Magic Theatre, The Claim with Shotgun Players and Ways to Leave a Body at Cutting Ball Theatre. This year she co-produced SJ Sounds, a series of experimental sound installations located throughout San José that explored current issues such as housing, airport pollution, global warming and more with More Más Marami Arts through his sound collective SoundPlay Media. They are co-artistic directors and production directors at SoundPlay Media, a sound collective exploring the world of sound-specific performance art and theater-focused media. Discover Sara’s work on sarawitsch.com
Each year, a total of up to $10,000 is awarded through the IGNITE FUND with grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 (adjusted in 2021). Entries are reviewed by a panel comprised of Crowded Fire staff members, Bay Area theater designers and/or technicians, and other leaders in the theater community. 2021 recipients included Kenan Arun for makeup supplies, Nathaniel J. Bice for design and drafting computer, Chibueze Crouch for camera equipment, Mitchell Jakubka for lighting design software, Gabriel Nuñez de Arco for sound equipment and Grisel (GG) Torres for a laptop capable of designing and distributing software.