Crowded Fire Theater Announces 2019 IGNITE FUND Recipients

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Crowded Fire Theater (CFT), known as a vital home for new play development and production on the West Coast, announced Ard, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, Everett Elton Bradman, Erin Gilley, and Ashley Smiley as the fourth year IGNITE FUND awardees. The IGNITE FUND awards $10,000 in total annually to support the growth of and enhance the working lives of Bay Area theater designers and technicians through a competitive grant process.

"We are thrilled to continue support of the design and technical theater community through this program, and we are deeply grateful to the anonymous angel donor who is committed to providing annual support for the IGNITE FUND. This year's recipients are a great mix of artists at different stages in their careers working throughout the Bay Area," commented Artistic Director Mina Morita. "With the shifting economics of the region, artists are struggling to stay afloat while creating their art and in many cases struggling to stay in the field. The IGNITE FUND was created to serve as an investment in individual artists' professional sustainability and growth, and specifically to assist designers and technicians who have very few opportunities for funding via grants and awards. Our hope is that these funds will impact the individual careers of each of these artists and support 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 towards supporting a diversity of race, culture, class, gender, age and sexual orientation in our local design and technical community. The 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.

In this 2019 round, Ard was awarded funding for sound equipment, a Portable Networked Audio Kit that will speed up and ease the physicality of the load-in process to any venue. Ard is a San Francisco based designer, noisemaker, mechanic, broadcast artist, and theatre vagrant, who composes soundscapes & music for humans, dogs, parrots, and bicycles. Ard's sound design has been heard in collaborations at home with Aurora Theater Company, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theater, Golden Thread Productions, and A.C.T.'s MFA program. Recent credits include Church with Crowded Fire Theater, Cry it Out with Just Theatre, La Ronde with Cutting Ball, Actually at Aurora Theater Company, and Our Country, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe after a workshop production at The Public Theater. Ard is an occasional engineer at Z-Space, seasonal Podcast Coordinator at SF Sketchfest, and Resident Artist with both Golden Thread Productions and Crowded Fire Theater.

Everett Elton Bradman was awarded funding for sound design training, equipment, and studio time. Elton's 2019 composer/sound designer credits include Comedy of Errors and Pride & Prejudice (Santa Cruz Shakespeare), Kill Move Paradise (Shotgun Players), Medea (ACT), Black Eagles (African-American Shakespeare Company), The Urban Retreat (Lorraine Hansberry Theatre), as well as The Who & The What and How I Learned What I Learned, both for Marin Theater Company. He is honored to have also worked on African-American Shakespeare Company's productions of Richard III and A Streetcar Named Desire, Faultline Theater Company's Where the Boys Are, and Skeleton Crew at Geffen Playhouse and Studio Theater in Washington D.C.; his Cal Shakes adventures include music direction for As You Like It and music for Winter's Tale. Outside of theater, Elton has contributed to Rolling Stone, Vibe, Guitar World, Bass Player, Lincoln-Mercury, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the New Pickle Circus, and Madi Das's Grammy-nominated 2015 album Bhakti Without Borders.

Keiko Shimosato Carreiro was awarded funding for digital equipment and training for costume design drafting. Keiko, Actor/Director/Designer, was born in Cambridge Massachusetts. A graduate of the University of Iowa, she has been a Collective Member with the San Francisco Mime Troupe since 1987. Keiko has designed costumes for many Bay Area Theater companies including, Berkeley Rep, S.F. Shakespeare Festival, The Asian American Theater Company, African American Shakespeare Company, Crowded Fire, Custom Made Theater and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. She has appeared in productions at Bay Area Theaters including, Berkeley Rep, The Aurora, The Magic Theater, Center Rep, A.C.T., Life on the Water, and the Mime Troupe. She directed City for Sale and Gotta Getta Life for the Mime Troupe, and Cowboy versus Samurai for the Asian American Theater Company. For her portrayal of Grace in Philip Kan Gotandas' The Sisters Matsumoto at Center Rep, she was nominated for a Shellie Award as best actress in a leading role. In 2018 she received an award for Meritorious Achievement in Costume Design from the ACTF Theater Festival, for Three Sisters at St. Mary's College.

Erin Gilley was awarded funding for after-effects software training for video projection design. Erin is a director and video projection designer. Recent projection design credits include: Shotgun Players' Women Laughing Alone with Salad, Kings, and White; and Golden Thread's Scenes from 71* Years. Other notable credits include directing and projection design for San Francisco's immersive theatre production The Speakeasy (Boxcar Theatre), the international digital theatre production Longitude (LIFT/elastic future), and The Technology Cave in The Lily's Revenge (Magic Theatre). Upcoming projects include projection design for Elevada at Shotgun Players, and directing the immersive haunted house Unhinged at Winchester Mystery House and the co-production At the Periphery with Crowded Fire/Golden Thread. Erin studied theatre as an undergraduate at Princeton University and received her MFA from Birkbeck, University of London.

Ashley Smiley was awarded funding for equipment and software to support the wide variety of production roles that she regularly takes on. Ashley, also known as "Smiley" is a maker and lover of all things theatre and performing arts. Born in San Francisco and bred in the Bay Area, Smiley has focused her career on supporting emerging artists of color both on the technical side, as a Sound Designer, Stage Manager, Production Manager and Lighting Designer and on the creative side as a Poet, Playwright, Director and Performer. Smiley is a proud and honored member of Campo Santo and is currently developing new work with Campo Santo and The Living Earth Show which will be premiering in 2020.

Each year a total of up to $10,000 is granted through the IGNITE FUND with grants ranging between $1,000 and $5,000. Applications are reviewed by a panel composed of Crowded Fire staff members, a Bay Area theater designer and/or technician, and an additional leader in the theater community. The 2018 recipients included Christopher Sauceda for Sound Design Technology & Multimedia Business Education; Michael Kelly for Sound Equipment; Grisel GG Torres for Lighting Equipment; Courtney Flores for Costume Designer Supplies; and Cassie Barnes for Lighting Design Software and Training.

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