John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award

About the Award

The John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award is presented annually to a student pursuing a degree or certificate in one of the following areas: lighting design, properties design, scenic design, sound design, or technical direction.

Congratulations to our first winner!

Maranda DeBusk

Maranda DeBusk is a third-year graduate candidate at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Lighting Design and Digital Media. Most recently from Greenville, SC, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from Furman University in 2013. Her recent work for the University of Tennessee includes the Lighting Designs for Around the World in 80 Days and A Lesson Before Dying, the Sound Design for The Busy Body, and the Projection Design for Violet. Other notable credits include the Lighting Designs for Glow Lyric Theatre’s Romeo et Juliette and West Side Story and Phoenix World Theatre’s Harvest, a touring production based out of Kochi, India; the Associate Lighting Designs for Sweeney Todd at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Ring of Fire at Riverside Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company; and the Projection Design for Higher Ground 5: Find a Way, a community performance initiative which addressed the disillusionment of Appalachian youth with the economic and political state of their region. At the core of all her work is the belief in the power of the dramatic arts to create positive change in our communities. The greatest work is that which when let out into the world, improves it.

The 2017 Spiegel Theatrical Artist Will Receive:

  • $1,000 for tools and/or supplies that will aid in the study of their craft, e.g. software and external hardware, paint and paintbrushes, microphones or audio recording equipment, hand or power tools, etc.
  • Free one-year membership to SETC
  • Free registration for the 2017 SETC Convention
  • Automatic entrance into the 2017 SETC Design Competition
  • Design portfolio showcased at the 2017 SETC Convention in the Design/Tech Exhibition Hall
  • Three-night hotel stay during Convention, arranged and provided by SETC
  • One ticket to the SETC Awards Banquet at Convention, where award recipients will be recognized
  • Photo and bio recognition on the SETC website


Candidates must meet each of these qualifications to be eligible for this award:

  • You must submit a complete application packet (see details below) by the application deadline.
  • You must be enrolled in a program of study (undergraduate or graduate) in one of the following areas at an accredited institution:
    • lighting design
    • properties design
    • scenic design
    • sound design
    • technical direction
    • projection design
  • Through the application materials submitted, you must demonstrate:
    • a commitment to the field and to your own growth as a theatre artist
    • both ability and great potential in your area of focus

2017 Application Guidelines:

Submit the following materials to by December 21, 2016:

  • Completed application (2017 Application Form)
  • Personal letter outlining plans and objectives for current study and future career
  • A complete resume
  • Three reference letters speaking specifically to the applicant’s potential in one of the design areas named above or in technical direction
  • Proof of enrollment in an accredited program
  • Complete, official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Portfolio of work will include but may not be limited to:
    • Lighting designers please include: Research documentation, production images and any related paper work (Lighting Plot, Lighting Sectional, Ground Plan, ect.)
    • Properties designers please include: Research documentation, images that show the creation and or creative process as well as images of the finished product
    • Scenic designers please include: Research documentation, Production Images, Working Drawings and Sketches, as well as any items that reflect the production
    • Sound designers please include: Research Documentation, Production Images, Audio Samples, Cue Sheets
    • Technical Directors please include: Packet of Technical Drawings, Building Process Images, Production Images

Please Note: It is recommended that you submit all materials in a single, multi-page PDF document.

2017 Selection Process and Timeline:

  • December 21 – Student application deadline.
  • January 15 – Selection of finalists made.
  • January 15-20 – Chair notifies finalists to arrange phone interviews (if necessary).
  • January 21 – Award recipient will be notified.
  • The John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award recipient will be invited to attend the 2017 SETC Convention, March 1-5, 2017.