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, projection design, properties design, scenic design, sound design, stage management or technical direction.

Application Deadline
December 15th at 11:59pm ET

The 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 2024 SETC Convention
  • Automatic entry into the 2024 SETC Design Competition
  • Design portfolio showcased at the 2024 SETC Convention
  • Will be recognized at the 2024 Awards Ceremony
  • Photo and bio recognition on the SETC website

Eligibility Requirements

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

  • You must submit a complete application by the 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
    • Projection Design
    • Properties Design
    • Scenic Design
    • Sound Design
    • Technical Direction
    • Stage Management
  • 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

Application Materials

Submit the following materials via our online application:

  • 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
  • Complete 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, etc.)
    • Projection designers please include: research documentation, production images, projection sequences, and any related paper work (ground plan with projector/surface locations and throw information, cue sheets, etc.)
    • 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
    • Stage managers please include: Rehearsal and performance reports, props tracking, scene shift plot, selections from blocking script and calling script, may also include a short audio file of calling a show

In addition to the application materials listed above, we will request the following materials for potential publicity:

  • Short bio (250 words or fewer)
  • Headshot/photo
  • Links to public social media profiles (optional)
  • Your preferred pronouns (optional)


For more information email Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award Chair Kevin Frasier.

Past Winners:


Haley Brown ~ 2022 Spiegel Theatrical Artist

Haley Brown is a lighting designer living in Athens, GA where she is completing her final year of study for her MFA from the University of Georgia. She has worked as a lighting designer, assistant lighting designer and lighting programmer primarily along the East Coast, for theaters such as Out Front Theater Company, Stagedoor Manor, GLOW Lyric Theater, Warehouse Theater, Thin Air Theater Company and the Alliance Theater. SETC has played a pivotal role in her career and over the years has become the nexus for her theater family. She is honored to be recognized by the institution where she has found an artistic community. When not working, you can find her attempting to train her dog Mace, competing in roller derby matches, and playing D&D with her husband and close friends. You can check out her work at or follow her on Instagram @haleybrowndesign.

Sydney Dye

Sydney Dye ~ 2021 Spiegel Theatrical Artist

Sydney Dye is a projection designer ( finishing up her senior year at Elon University. At Elon, she is a Communications Fellow and Lumen Scholar double majoring in Theatrical Design & Technology and Communication Design. As a Lumen Scholar, Sydney has spent the last three years examining the integration of social media in theatrical design and storytelling through creating a design-focused virtual production of an original documentary play. She has worked with The Muny, PlayMakers Repertory Company, and The American Dance Festival. In 2020, Sydney was one of six young theatrical designers to be recognized with LDI’s & USITT’s Diversity in Design Award. Her design for her university’s production of We Will Rock You won first place in SETC’s 2020 projection design competition. Sydney is incredibly honored to receive SETC’s 2021 John Spiegel Award.

Liz Haynes headshot

Liz Haynes ~ 2020 Spiegel Theatrical Artist

Liz Haynes is a Technical Director from Nashville, TN ( She began her college studies at Clemson University graduating with a BA in Production Studies in Performing Arts and a BA in Modern Languages with an emphasis in Spanish. She currently resides in Las Vegas where she is a third-year graduate student in the MFA Technical Direction Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. With a passion for sustainability in the performing arts, Liz is formulating her thesis on sustainability in entertainment production, focusing on systematic ways for any size performing arts company to make renewable and reusable choices regardless of staffing and monetary resources. Her professional work has taken her throughout the country to South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Nevada. With a background in carpentry and a love for fabricating custom furniture, Liz honed her skills in the theatre through a range of positions with Porthouse Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Chautauqua Theater Company. Liz returns each summer to Chautauqua Theater Company as the Technical Director, where she oversees the build and rigging for seven shows in nine weeks as well as facilitates the education of carpentry and scenic painting apprentices. A believer in maintaining positivity in all facets of her life, Liz switches her steel toes for hot pink fringe cowboy boots and goes line dancing most Wednesday evenings.

Alice Trent

Alice Trent ~ 2019 Spiegel Theatrical Artist

Alice Trent is a 3rd year lighting design graduate candidate at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, she attended Xavier University where she received her BA in Theatre. She’s designed for theatre companies in Cincinnati; Asheville, NC; Cleveland, TN; Chattanooga, TN; Bay View, MI; and Knoxville, TN. She’s worked as an assistant lighting designer at the Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Town Hall Arts Center of Denver. She was recently awarded the 2019 USITT Lighting Design Award sponsored by the Barbizon Lighting Company and was admitted into the 2019 USITT Young Designers Forum. Receiving the 2019 Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award is such a wonderful honor, and she’s so grateful to SETC for recognizing her.

Jo Sanburg

Jo Sanburg ~ 2018 Spiegel Theatrical Artist

Receiving the Spiegel Award was not only a huge honor, but also opened doors and created connections withing the greater theatrical community, facilitating relationships and engaging conversation. The award funds are set aside for professional software and hardware that will make me a more effective designer. I cannot thank John Spiegel and SETC enough for this recognition. And a special thank you to those mentors and colleagues who helped me reach this goal.

Maranda DeBusk ~ 2017 Spiegel Theatrical Artist

It was an absolute honor to receive the first John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award in 2017. The application process gave me the nudge to take a closer look at how I wanted to present myself and my work as I approached my graduation. It was a joy to be able to attend the conference and meet so many talented and interesting people, some of whom have become my collaborators. The scholarship funds are offsetting the cost of software so that I can take the leap from “Educational Version” to “Professional License” as I launch my career. My sincerest gratitude goes out to those who made this scholarship possible.


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