An Actress Prepares: Tiffany Hobbs Talks About Survival Jobs

In this episode of “An Actress Prepares”, Tiffany Denise Hobbs talks about the realities and flexibility of “survival jobs”. Tiffany’s series offers mentorship for early career theatre artists as well as valuable insight for anyone wanting to know more about what it means to be a working actor. Click HERE to view last week’s episode about an actor’s journey on opening night.

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AN ACTRESS PREPARES: Survival Jobs

by Tiffany Denise Hobbs

Hey Statera! Big announcement: my next show will be back in the Big Apple! I’ll be joining some amazing folks in Shakespeare In The Park’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte Theatre! But today, I want to talk about “survival jobs”. For many working actors, having jobs outside of our acting gigs is essential early in our careers, mainly to supplement our income. So, let’s jump in!

Tiffany Hobbs was born and raised in Augusta, GA. Tiffany began dancing at the age of three. In the years following, she discovered a love for theater and music that augmented her passion to be a performing artist. She has trained for over two decades at prestigious liberal and performing arts institutions (UGA, SMU, Yale) and loves every minute of imitating life onstage, on set or in a rehearsal room. A former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Theater Center and featured actress at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, some of her favorite roles include Juanita in James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie, Beatrice in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Tonya in August Wilson's King Hedley II.

Tiffany appeared as Shenzi in the National Tour of The Lion King for two years (2015-2017). On TV, she can be found co-starring in Donald Glover's FX hit, "Atlanta"; Netflix's "Ozark" and "The Haunting of Hill House"; the OWN Network's "Love Is ___"; CBS's "MacGyver," "Bull" and "Code Black"; and in SyFy's "Happy." In 2018, Tiffany joined the Broadway musical, Waitress, spear-headed by Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson and Diane Paulus. Tiffany just finished a run as Olivia in Twelfth Night at Yale Repertory Theatre and is about to open Much Ado About Nothing with Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theatre.

More at www.tiffanydenisehobbs.com

Statera Member Spotlight: Betsy Mugavero

StateraArts Membership is growing fast! Since our official launch on January 1st, over 90 artist-activists have joined the StateraArts community! Our members come from all over the USA and all genres of art-making. They are educators, arts leaders, activists, content-creators, professional artists, early career, mid-career, patrons, and community organizers. The Statera Member Spotlight is just one way StateraArts uplifts and amplifies the voices of our members. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Producing Artistic Director of Southwest Shakespeare Company, Betsy Mugavero.

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What is your occupation or calling in the arts? 
I came into theater as an actor. Now, I'm a producer and actor. I'm not certain which of those is a calling or an occupation to me! I do both Full Time. I'm happy doing both and feel passion for both... Hopefully, someone will figure it out when they write my obituary one day...:)

Tell us about your favorite project you've done thus far.
Shakespeare is my life's work. Every Shakespeare play I perform in is my favorite project at the time. Now that I'm wearing the Producer hat, having more control over how we shape Shakespeare for our modern audience is really exciting to me.

Why did you become a StateraArts member?
I became a member of Statera because I'm looking for community to support me and to offer support to, particularly in women. We're constantly fed a narrative that we all need to be competitive with each other, especially in the arts, and I do not think that is true at all. I firmly believe that if you believe there is enough pie for everyone, there will be enough. Statera is baking the pie and we're all adding ingredients. It's delicious and enlivening. 

What other organizations are you affiliated with? 
Co-Producing Artistic Director, Southwest Shakespeare Company; Actors' Equity Association

What do you love most about your artistic community?
I'm new to Phoenix, which is my current community. What I love most is how many artists there are here creating and producing their own work! I also recently learned that the arts contributed to $32 million in state tax revenues! People in Arizona support and value the arts. It's a great new place to be with tons of potential.

When did you feel most supported or championed by the women in your life?   
I have been lucky to have worked with women in theater who have helped carved a place for me by demanding their own respect for their talent and worth. Right now, I feel most championed by women who are younger than me, because they are looking at me as an example of someone who is in a position of artistic leadership at a professional theater company, juggling motherhood, marriage, being a professional actor, and staying healthy all at once. I keep wondering why there are so many more young women than men in production and on stage in high school drama club, and yet, when we get into the professional world, there are few women leading as directors, producers, and in arts administration. I doubt those young women lost their passion. I don't doubt that what they found as they began a professional career that they were told there wasn't room for mothers, or they couldn't be a mother if they chose to stay in the profession, or most likely, the didn't SEE any mothers around. I have to be my whole self when I'm on stage, I have to be my whole self as a producer. That means understanding the reality of having a family and arranging my life so that I can have both. Mary Way, Executive Director of Southwest Shakespeare Company, has never once made me feel like my being a mother hinders my ability to lead. I'm incredibly grateful for her confidence and belief in me. She's definitely an everyday champion for me.

Tell us about another woman or non-binary artist who inspires your work. 
Every woman out there telling her story, and empowering others to tell theirs is my inspiration.

Mentorship is at the core of the StateraArts mission. Tell us about one of your mentors. How did they shape you or provide pathways for opportunity? 
I'm actually looking for a mentor! I'm lucky to have people I can turn to for advice and guidance- the best advice I got from a female Artistic Director was to make sure to take care of myself. It's very easy in the arts to put your own needs to the side to keep the "baby" alive, but that can lead to incredible fatigue and illness. You can't lead if you aren't well. I've taken that advice very seriously.  I'd really like to have a female mentor to converse with on a regular basis about being a manager and producer for the arts. It's a completely different ballgame for women and having a coach who understands some of the challenges I face on a personal level to help me navigate through would be extremely beneficial to me! 

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Any upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? 
Yes! Southwest Shakespeare Company is hosting Harlem Shakespeare Festival as they produce an All Female Othello! April 19-28 at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ. Debra Ann Byrd is starring the title role, Vanessa Morosco directs.

Othello runs April 19-28 at Taliesin West Pavilion theater in Scottsdale, AZ!
Ticket and info at 
www.swshakespeare.org

Count Me In: Volunteers Are an Essential Part of Doing Business

Today, StateraArts is publishing the final installation in a 4-part series by Meg Friedman based on her research COUNT ME IN: Leveraging Generational Differences to Sustain Volunteer Engagement. Here are the links to Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3.

Art by Sarah Greenman

Art by Sarah Greenman

Count Me In: Volunteers Are an Essential Part of Doing Business

By Meg Friedman

 

This is about the value of volunteers.

Volunteer labor has been a substitute for capital since the start of the regional theater movement – and certainly, freely given labor has been a reality of community life for much, much longer than that.

It is time for the theater industry to recognize that volunteer labor is part of the cost of doing business. Without this subsidy, in the ticket-takers and annual fund callers and interns and more, many theaters would be fundamentally different – and some would close. (Imagine a theater festival without volunteers – pretty bleak, right?) In no way am I advocating for a field where all personnel are paid staff. As Michael Stotts gently observed, in a 2017 conversation, it’s important for the community and the theater to have the special relationship that comes from giving time. Community endorsement must be represented in more than dollars and cents. But the status quo around volunteer labor cannot survive the next fifty years without meaningful change.

Volunteer time has value, and if all our value-assessing tools are in dollars and cents, then time given should be accounted for in financial reporting. This will, and should, prompt changes in how funders and theaters evaluate success.

Volunteers are part of the workforce. They should be counted and understood as deeply as the paid members of that workforce. How can the theater sector advocate for better inclusion of women, people of color, youth, people with disabilities, and more and more marginalized groups, without counting volunteers? We manage to count so much already – the thirst for data is almost comical (a colleague recently described one organization with over 160 Key Performance Indicators – one of which is “How Many KPIs Do We Have”). If we state that the number of people involved in theater must be representative of any particular place or people, we have to include all the people who are making theater happen.

What next?

If we don’t develop new ways to value, welcome, and stay engaged with tomorrow’s volunteers, the not-for-profit theater sector’s most valuable subsidy will dry up. Plenty of theaters worried about going belly-up in the wake of the Great Recession (and plenty did – but many more have sprung up to take their place). Theaters are now, as I write this, in the third year of rallying along with museums, libraries, and other vital cultural institutions to save the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Library Sciences, and other crucial sources of federal funding. But the decreasing number of volunteers is a ticking time bomb that has no federal budget line, and represents far more value than the NEA’s $152 million budgeted dollars in the last year.

So, what does that mean? Lots of things, for lots of stakeholders. Below are some broad suggestions geared toward funders, theater workers, and the people who work or volunteer in any supervisory role in theaters.

  • Count volunteers. Not just a headcount – understand the demographic and characteristics, and benchmark these data against peer theaters. TCG’s annual budget survey is tremendous and provides a model for this kind of peer benchmarking.

  • Find or make new pathways to connect volunteers to theaters. What tasks can volunteers do remotely? From board meetings to social media to script coverage to travel planning, plenty of tasks can be given to volunteers that do not require them to appear, dressed a certain way and already having eaten dinner, at 6:00pm sharp. Game-ifying these experiences could also minimize the sense that this is just work, done for no pay.

  •  Don’t “throw some volunteers at it.” Talking about volunteers as a trivial or infinite resource undermines the value of the gift and the experience on all sides. Teaching young theater professionals – many of whom are stepping away from unpaid internships themselves – to value and respect volunteers is essential to building the sector. Yesterday’s interns are tomorrow’s executives, and those of us in between those points have a responsibility to be inclusive of the workers around us, regardless of their pay scale.

Theaters are viable because of volunteer hours. Counting who volunteers, and the value of their time – and understanding how volunteers identify – is an imperative to continuing relevance.

This blog has been adapted from Count Me In: Leveraging Generational Differences To Sustain Volunteer Engagement. For the full report, click HERE. Here are the links to Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3.


Meg Friedman Headshot.jpg

Meg Friedman is a Consultant with AMS Planning & Research, where her work includes strategic planning, facility feasibility, and a range of other research and decision-making services. Meg’s work touches arts and entertainment industry trends ranging from consumer preferences to venue design and the arts workforce. She has created dynamic financial models for small planning studies to multi-million-dollar facilities.

Past projects include the inaugural strategic plan for Assets for Artists, a program of MASS MoCA, and a strategic plan for the New England Foundation for the Arts. Meg has researched trends and best practices in arts venue development for the City of Boise, Idaho, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the City of Vaughan, Ontario. She has provided research for a chapter in Routledge’s Performing Arts Center Management and was a contributor to the 11th edition of Stage Management by Lawrence Stern and Jill Gold. Current projects include the planning of a new performing arts center in Sarasota, Florida, and research to define an arts sector investment strategy for The McConnell Foundation in Redding, California.

Meg holds a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College and a BA in Theater Design and Production from UCLA. Prior to joining AMS, Meg was an AEA stage manager and worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as at leading regional theaters. She also served as a moderator for SMNetwork.org, the original free web forum for stage managers.

Meg tweets from @AMSarts and @megf_miles.

Count Me In: The Future of Volunteerism is Age-Diverse

Volunteer labor has been a substitute for capital since the start of the regional theater movement. Without this subsidy many theaters would be fundamentally different – and some would close. If we don’t develop new ways to value, welcome, and stay engaged with tomorrow’s volunteers, the not-for-profit theater sector’s most valuable subsidy will dry up. StateraArts is thrilled to publish a 4-part series this week by Meg Friedman based on her research COUNT ME IN: Leveraging Generational Differences to Sustain Volunteer Engagement.

Art by Sarah Greenman

Art by Sarah Greenman

Count Me In, Part 3: The Future of Volunteerism is Age-Diverse

by Meg Friedman 

The received wisdom in many not-for-profit theaters is that volunteers will be older (and whiter, and female). This is dangerous. While NEA data from 2005 supports the notion that arts volunteers are older than people volunteering in other parts of the sector, more recent studies suggest that older people are less able to volunteer than in years past.

Older Americans Are Retiring Later – Or Leaving Town When They Do Retire

As the Baby Boomers began aging into retirement, plenty of pundits anticipated a glut of volunteer labor. This enthusiasm has been dampened by the long-term consequences of the Great Recession. And many Boomers anticipate working at least part-time during retirement.

Many, if not most, of the Boomers currently contemplating retirement are pushing the horizon ahead. Those who choose to retire now may be facing significant economic stress, due to damaged savings over the past decade. Phil Santora, Managing Director of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, observed to me in 2017 that even when prospective volunteers retired in his community, the cost of living in the Bay Area was so high that they quickly moved to less expensive areas – depleting, rather than adding to, the volunteer population.

Income-Generating Activity Absorbs the Time Millennials and Younger Adults Could Spend Volunteering

Economic insecurity – actual or perceived – may be forcing younger adults to fill otherwise volunteer-able hours with activities that generate income. Driving for a rideshare service, offering services on Fiverr or similar platforms, and more side hustles are increasingly common ways to fill marginal amounts of time. These activities are also flexible – whereas volunteering to usher an 8:00pm performance is decidedly not.  

Younger workers, a great many of whom are freelancers, may also be less frequently exposed to volunteer opportunities through workplace initiatives. Robert McGuire, founding principal of Nation1099, observed that the remarkable growth of gig work, while beneficial to many workers individually, likely undermines pathways to volunteerism that traditional workplaces once fostered. Terry Delavan, longtime theater volunteer and past Board President of the Conference About Volunteers Of Regional Theatres, expressed concern that workplace policies may also limit otherwise interested volunteers – by allowing just 16 hours annually, for instance, rather than making room for more substantial commitments.

Volunteer Programs and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Some theaters are ahead of the pack – but many are playing catch-up when it comes to connecting volunteer programs with the work in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Danny Feldman, Executive Artistic Director at the Pasadena Playhouse, shared his candid concerns about creating a more age-diverse and age-inclusive environment, when many existing volunteers at the Playhouse represented a single demographic profile. While it may not be possible for every theater to maintain an age-diverse volunteer corps, confirmation bias and implicit ageism in recruitment and retention practices may undermine the way volunteer programs advance EDI priorities. And volunteer programs should advance EDI priorities, just like every other part of the institution. 

This blog has been adapted from Count Me In: Leveraging Generational Differences To Sustain Volunteer Engagement. For the full report, click HERE.

Tomorrow, StateraArts will publish Count Me In, Part 4: Volunteers Are an Essential Part of Doing Business. Here are the links to Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 4.


Meg Friedman Headshot.jpg

Meg Friedman is a Consultant with AMS Planning & Research, where her work includes strategic planning, facility feasibility, and a range of other research and decision-making services. Meg’s work touches arts and entertainment industry trends ranging from consumer preferences to venue design and the arts workforce. She has created dynamic financial models for small planning studies to multi-million-dollar facilities.

Past projects include the inaugural strategic plan for Assets for Artists, a program of MASS MoCA, and a strategic plan for the New England Foundation for the Arts. Meg has researched trends and best practices in arts venue development for the City of Boise, Idaho, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the City of Vaughan, Ontario. She has provided research for a chapter in Routledge’s Performing Arts Center Management and was a contributor to the 11th edition of Stage Management by Lawrence Stern and Jill Gold. Current projects include the planning of a new performing arts center in Sarasota, Florida, and research to define an arts sector investment strategy for The McConnell Foundation in Redding, California.

Meg holds a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College and a BA in Theater Design and Production from UCLA. Prior to joining AMS, Meg was an AEA stage manager and worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as at leading regional theaters. She also served as a moderator for SMNetwork.org, the original free web forum for stage managers.

Meg tweets from @AMSarts and @megf_miles.

Count Me In: Racial Disparity in Theatre Personnel Hurts The Future

Volunteer labor has been a substitute for capital since the start of the regional theater movement. Without this subsidy many theaters would be fundamentally different – and some would close. If we don’t develop new ways to value, welcome, and stay engaged with tomorrow’s volunteers, the not-for-profit theater sector’s most valuable subsidy will dry up. StateraArts is thrilled to publish a 4-part series this week by Meg Friedman based on her research COUNT ME IN: Leveraging Generational Differences to Sustain Volunteer Engagement.

Art by Sarah Greenman

Art by Sarah Greenman

Count Me In, Part 2: Racial Disparity in Theatre Personnel Hurts The Future

By Meg Friedman

Regional American Theaters are viable because of volunteer hours. Counting who volunteers, and the value of their time – and understanding how volunteers identify – is an imperative to continuing relevance.

American communities are changing. Among other expert sources, the Pew Research Center tells us that within just a few decades, the notion of a white majority in the US will be more myth (or memory) than fact. There is no value judgment here about what shifting racial demographics mean, but it is critical that theaters anticipate this in their programming, staffing, and organizational strategy. Neglecting to do so almost certainly consigns theaters to dwindling financial and personnel resources, as their cultural relevance is reduced to a smaller and smaller slice of the population.

Data on audiences, staff, and freelance artists show that, as an industry, American not-for-profit theaters are overwhelmingly white. Yet there is no comprehensive approach to documenting and understanding the demographics of the people who make theater. Audience studies, analyses of staff and freelance workers, and Board studies all get done. Some of them are shared with the public, but where is a comprehensive data collection model? If it exists, it’s behind a pay wall. Simply: we do not have the tools to state with confidence that the people connected, in any fashion, to theaters in the US resemble the general population more or less than they did five, ten, or twenty years ago, or that we as a sector can understand what changes may be needed to stay relevant as demographic changes continue to shape our communities. As stakeholders throughout the arts question representation more thoughtfully and forcefully, we must find a better way to count who is engaged with the field. 

Okay, so what does that look like?

One of the first gaps to address is the big, generous elephant in the room: the volunteers. From ushers to occasional painters, potluck dinner chefs to folks who pour Dixie cups of wine at fundraisers, this unpaid labor force is vital to doing business and virtually invisible in the accounting. It is also highly likely that it is even more white than the Boards, staff, freelancers, and audiences of theaters.

According to national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the volunteer rate has been dropping for all racial and ethnic groups except people identifying as Hispanic since 2011. For all non-white groups, the volunteer rate has remained consistently under 22% – suggesting, that a) volunteer data from organizations of color don’t get counted, or b) that available volunteer opportunities are not as appealing to people of color as they are to white people.

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What should we do about this? Start counting – people, hours, demographics, and the equivalent in dollars that volunteers give through their contributions of time.

While for some theaters it might be risky to reverse-engineer volunteer hours into their cash flow or tax return, it’s also terribly risky to leave this labor force out of the math altogether. Danny Feldman, Producing Artistic Director at the Pasadena Playhouse, shared concerns when we spoke in 2017 that the perceived value (and retention) of volunteers was a strategic challenge for the field; in the time since, the Friends of the Pasadena Playhouse has revamped its website, and now proudly states the dollar value of the hours contributed for the most recent year – a whopping $921,734.02 in 2018, representing over 32,000 hours. (The Friends used the Independent Sector rate for State of California to reach this assessment – more about that here.) 

The existing data on volunteer demographics is vanishingly slim. (For a thoughtful examination of volunteer trends and issues in LA County, see this report. I’d love to see this approach reproduced on a grander scale.) A service organization like TCG, which already gathers extensive theater data, could lead the conversation toward personnel makeup and a broader definition of resources than just financial data. With respect for the TCG Board, staff, and volunteers, this effort may simply not be desirable or feasible. But the opportunity is open for a researcher or organization to start counting. Before falling volunteer availability and interest cause serious pain in the field, we should understand who’s subsidizing the work with their time – so we can plan accordingly.

This blog has been adapted from Count Me In: Leveraging Generational Differences To Sustain Volunteer Engagement. For the full report, click HERE. Here are the links to Part 1 , Part 3, and Part 4.


Meg Friedman Headshot.jpg

Meg Friedman is a Consultant with AMS Planning & Research, where her work includes strategic planning, facility feasibility, and a range of other research and decision-making services. Meg’s work touches arts and entertainment industry trends ranging from consumer preferences to venue design and the arts workforce. She has created dynamic financial models for small planning studies to multi-million-dollar facilities.

Past projects include the inaugural strategic plan for Assets for Artists, a program of MASS MoCA, and a strategic plan for the New England Foundation for the Arts. Meg has researched trends and best practices in arts venue development for the City of Boise, Idaho, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the City of Vaughan, Ontario. She has provided research for a chapter in Routledge’s Performing Arts Center Management and was a contributor to the 11th edition of Stage Management by Lawrence Stern and Jill Gold. Current projects include the planning of a new performing arts center in Sarasota, Florida, and research to define an arts sector investment strategy for The McConnell Foundation in Redding, California.

Meg holds a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College and a BA in Theater Design and Production from UCLA. Prior to joining AMS, Meg was an AEA stage manager and worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as at leading regional theaters. She also served as a moderator for SMNetwork.org, the original free web forum for stage managers.

Meg tweets from @AMSarts and @megf_miles.

Count Me In: If Volunteers Are More Highly Valued, Does Volunteer Work Become More or Less Gendered?

Volunteer labor has been a substitute for capital since the start of the regional theater movement. Without this subsidy many theaters would be fundamentally different – and some would close. If we don’t develop new ways to value, welcome, and stay engaged with tomorrow’s volunteers, the not-for-profit theater sector’s most valuable subsidy will dry up. StateraArts is thrilled to publish a 4-part series this week by Meg Friedman based on her research COUNT ME IN: Leveraging Generational Differences to Sustain Volunteer Engagement.

Art by Sarah Greenman

Art by Sarah Greenman

Count Me In, Part 1: If Volunteers Are More Highly Valued, Does Volunteer Work Become More or Less Gendered?

By Meg Friedman

Most Volunteers Are Women For a Reason – But Does The Reason Still Exist?

Women – particularly cisgender, heterosexual women, actually or presumed to be living in marriage – have been the prototypical volunteer imagined by not-for-profit leaders for decades. As the arts and culture sector exploded in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, a twenty-year long effort to put women back in the kitchen after World War II meant that a corps of energized women had the ability and appetite to do work outside the home – with a decreasing number of outlets for that desire. Volunteering in the not-for-profit space could satisfy at least part of that desire. While it wasn’t (and still isn’t) recognized as participation in the economy, volunteering can closely mirror all the other benefits of working: exercising and expanding one’s skills; participating in a shared effort to reach a common, visible goal; contributing to a purpose larger than oneself; learning; and opportunities to connect meaningfully with new people.

Over the past 50 years, however, women’s economic participation has rightly earned closer attention and become easier to capture in data. Thanks to generations of activism, and the expanding definition of “women” educational and professional opportunities have become more accessible and the legal environment incrementally more supportive of anti-discrimination, anti-sexist practices. Generation X, people born (roughly) between 1960 and 1980 in the US, saw for the first time a critical reversal: more women than men completed college degrees. While the pay gap remains unresolved, any education gap has been closed for over a decade – perhaps an early sign of a major shift in volunteer participation.

When Women Already Have Social Capital, is Volunteering Necessary?

With more formal education – and as a result more professional opportunities and obligations – do women need to volunteer? And can they? Fifty years ago, my grandmother and her peers could not be the sole signatory on a bank account, much less assume they would author their own professional story. Now, women are perceived to be delaying key life milestones in favor of building educational credentials and a stable career. It should go without saying that meeting these goals requires an overwhelming investment of time and energy. So, where does volunteerism fit in? For many women, volunteering at theaters or elsewhere simply may not be relevant. Or, as life milestones and lifespans extend deeper into women’s thirties and forties and fifties, it may be that family and professional priorities always rise to the top. Volunteering just cannot supersede caring for aging parents, or juggling career growth alongside childrearing, for example. The volunteer opportunities either fall to the wayside or have to be designed to accommodate ever-busier, more ambitious women with an increasing share of social capital.

Reconceiving How Theaters Value (Women’s) Labor

Theaters can respond to these forces in a number of ways – and these responses fit into a potential sea change in how performing arts not-for-profits value labor. The “women’s work” of stuffing envelopes, tearing tickets, and cooking potluck welcome dinners no longer aligns with how rising generations of women envision their labor contributions. Leadership and decision-making roles, however, are clear paths forward. Women are still woefully underrepresented in the leadership of not-for-profit theaters, but as the #MeToo movement advances, along with parallel activism for wage parity and transparency, theaters can embrace the opportunity to make room at the table for women to take leadership roles as volunteers – through board service and in other areas. The notion that a woman volunteer is automatically a helper and not a decider must go away.

This points to a larger opportunity facing theaters: developing a new understanding of the cost of doing business, as a function of how we value labor.

This blog has been adapted from Count Me In: Leveraging Generational Differences To Sustain Volunteer Engagement. For the full report, click HERE. Here are the links to Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


Meg Friedman Headshot.jpg

Meg Friedman is a Consultant with AMS Planning & Research, where her work includes strategic planning, facility feasibility, and a range of other research and decision-making services. Meg’s work touches arts and entertainment industry trends ranging from consumer preferences to venue design and the arts workforce. She has created dynamic financial models for small planning studies to multi-million-dollar facilities.

Past projects include the inaugural strategic plan for Assets for Artists, a program of MASS MoCA, and a strategic plan for the New England Foundation for the Arts. Meg has researched trends and best practices in arts venue development for the City of Boise, Idaho, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the City of Vaughan, Ontario. She has provided research for a chapter in Routledge’s Performing Arts Center Management and was a contributor to the 11th edition of Stage Management by Lawrence Stern and Jill Gold. Current projects include the planning of a new performing arts center in Sarasota, Florida, and research to define an arts sector investment strategy for The McConnell Foundation in Redding, California.

Meg holds a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College and a BA in Theater Design and Production from UCLA. Prior to joining AMS, Meg was an AEA stage manager and worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as at leading regional theaters. She also served as a moderator for SMNetwork.org, the original free web forum for stage managers.

Meg tweets from @AMSarts and @megf_miles.

Call for Proposals: Bring Your Whole Self To StateraCon 2019

Speakers at Statera’s 2018 conference: Christine Jugueta, Suzan Fete, and Nataki Garrett. Photos by Malloree Delayne Hill.

Speakers at Statera’s 2018 conference: Christine Jugueta, Suzan Fete, and Nataki Garrett. Photos by Malloree Delayne Hill.

StateraArts is seeking proposals for workshops, breakout sessions, and presentations for our 2019 National Conference in New York City. This year’s theme is Coalition Building.

The Statera conference is all about intersectional gender balance and our goal is to take positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the American Theatre. Statera, deriving its name from the Latin word for balance, works to normalize a humane and holistic creative environment that nourishes innovation. We want you to bring your whole self to StateraConIV.

We invite proposals for breakout sessions that reflect our misison and also deliver practical strategies for theatre-makers and art-activists at all levels of expertise. Here are some quick guidelines:

  • Reflect the diversity of women, trans, and non-binary theatre professionals

  • Stimulate and provoke discussion about intersectional gender parity issues

  • Engage and support allies in the parity movement

  • Target specific sub-groups (students, new to the industry, mid-career, seasoned professionals) as well as specific disciplines (playwrights, technicians, designers, dramaturgs, directors, vocal coaches, stage managers, choreographers, intimacy directors)

  • Inspire new paths of personal and creative expression

  • Explore specific issues important to women* in theatre

  • Engage participants in topics regarding work-life balance, and other issues relating to personal fulfillment

StateraCon is open to everyone. We invite and welcome all gender identities, all races and ethnicities, all religions and creeds, countries of origin, all immigrants and refugees, all abilities and disabilities, and all sexual orientations. Everyone is welcome here.

The overall schedule of events will include a diverse array of presenters and perspectives, including those with different specialties, areas of expertise, levels of experience, and a variety of institutional and organizational types. Looking for ideas? Click HERE for a PDF of last year’s StateraConIII Program.


Submissions are currently open.
Submissions close on May 1, 2019.
Presenters will be notified by email June 1, 2019.

Learn more HERE.

12,000 Voices Inspires Voter Registration and Civic Engagement

The Black is Beautiful Project “12 Angry Men” team: Gabrielle Reid, Kimber Sprawl, Tiffany Evariste, Ashley Alexandra Seldon, Ashley Blanchet, Alex Hairston, Bahiyah Hibah, TyNia Brandon, LaQuet Sharnell Pringle, Housso Semon, Salisha Thomas, Gabrielle Elisabeth, Schele Williams, and Jasmin Walker (Photo by Julia Johanos)

The Black is Beautiful Project “12 Angry Men” team: Gabrielle Reid, Kimber Sprawl, Tiffany Evariste, Ashley Alexandra Seldon, Ashley Blanchet, Alex Hairston, Bahiyah Hibah, TyNia Brandon, LaQuet Sharnell Pringle, Housso Semon, Salisha Thomas, Gabrielle Elisabeth, Schele Williams, and Jasmin Walker (Photo by Julia Johanos)

By Sarah Greenman

Inspired by the successful reading of the classic play, “Twelve Angry Men,” by Reginald Rose featuring 12 extraordinary Broadway actresses, producer Lauren Class Schneider has invited women in law schools, universities, high schools, community and regional theaters, and community centers across the country to raise their voices – with scripts in hand – in readings of the play with all-female casts over the weekend of April 5-8, 2019.

Schneider said she chose the name “12,000 Voices” for the initiative because of its aspirational value. “Over the course of time, imagine the reading being performed in 1000 locations, making 12,000 voices.”

Following each staged reading of “Twelve Angry Men,” audience members, cast, and staff will have the opportunity to update their voter registration. Information will also be shared about how to increase voter registration and voter turnout locally.

“Harnessing the power of storytelling by simultaneously presenting this timeless play around the country, we hope to stimulate community engagement on a local level” said Schneider, who has served as campaign staff on several presidential campaigns along with her experience as a Broadway producer. “Because the play makes a powerful argument for the value of civic involvement, it’s a great platform for a voter registration event” she said.

“Rose wrote the original courtroom drama as a teleplay in 1954, some 19 years before women could serve on juries in all 50 states. An all-female cast of this play, at this time, is relevant on so many levels,” Schneider said.

“Right now, we are working with different groups across the country on their April 5-8th readings,” adds Schneider. “I am excited to see how organizations across the country embrace, participate, and lend their voice with their own presentations!”

“When we created the event in September, many of Broadway’s brightest female stars lent their talent, showing their desire to strengthen public service. With the help of League of Women Voters, we saw voter registration and involvement increase.”

Diane Lees, a League of Women Voters volunteer recalled“After the reading in September, I saw a change in the audience. An all-female reading of ‘Twelve Angry Men’ was such a strong motivator to transform spectators into engaged citizens. Watching the audience get in line to register or update their voter information was really gratifying.”

Today, The Black Is Beautiful Project (pictured above), comprised of cast members from Broadway’s “Beautiful” kick-off this nationwide initiative with their own staged reading at 3:30 PM at the Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day School.

The Black is Beautiful Project was first created by cast members of “Beautiful, the Carole King Musical" as a celebration of Black History Month. Noting the greater impact this initiative could have, TBIBP began to explore ways to advocate for artists of color year round. Our mission is to show the importance of representation and opportunity, to celebrate the contributions and achievements of black artists, and perform community outreach for young artists in need of mentorship and inspiration. 

Co-producers of The Black in Beautiful Project’s reading, Daniel Torres and TyNia Brandon said, “We’re thrilled to join forces with 12,000 Voices as the kick-off to this amazing national initiative. Presenting their first and only all African-American Female reading of "12 Angry Men" by 12 Impassioned Women fits our mission. We strongly believe having an all black female cast for "12 Angry Men" will give our audience a new perspective to comprehend and connect with this classic play as well as inspire voter participation and civic engagement."

You can learn more about 12,000 Voices on the SWAN Day Calendar. Readings are happening all over the country today through April 8th. To find a reading near you, please visit the 12,000 Voices website at www.12000voices.com.

An Actress Prepares: Tiffany Hobbs Talks About Opening Night

In this episode of “An Actress Prepares”, Tiffany Denise Hobbs talks about what happens for an actor on opening night of a show. Tiffany’s series offers mentorship for early career theatre artists as well as valuable insight for anyone wanting to know more about what it means to be a working actor. Click HERE to view last week’s episode on auditioning.

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AN ACTRESS PREPARES: OPENING NIGHT

by Tiffany Denise Hobbs

Hey Statera! In this episode, I share my opening night preparations with you. I'll briefly touch on the days leading up to the big day, and then share with you the details of how I specifically prepare for my opening night performance (as well as every other performance).


Tiffany Hobbs was born and raised in Augusta, GA. Tiffany began dancing at the age of three. In the years following, she discovered a love for theater and music that augmented her passion to be a performing artist. She has trained for over two decades at prestigious liberal and performing arts institutions (UGA, SMU, Yale) and loves every minute of imitating life onstage, on set or in a rehearsal room. A former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Theater Center and featured actress at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, some of her favorite roles include Juanita in James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie, Beatrice in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Tonya in August Wilson's King Hedley II.

Tiffany appeared as Shenzi in the National Tour of The Lion King for two years (2015-2017). On TV, she can be found co-starring in Donald Glover's FX hit, "Atlanta"; Netflix's "Ozark" and "The Haunting of Hill House"; the OWN Network's "Love Is ___"; CBS's "MacGyver," "Bull" and "Code Black"; and in SyFy's "Happy." In 2018, Tiffany joined the Broadway musical, Waitress, spear-headed by Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson and Diane Paulus.

More at www.tiffanydenisehobbs.com

Tony-Winner Joanna Gleason Joins Statera's 4th National Conference

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Exciting news today! (And no, it is not an April Fool’s Joke.) StateraArts is thrilled to announce that Joanna Gleason will be delivering one of the keynote address at Statera's 4th National Conference on gender equity in the theatre. The conference, which is to take place at City College of New York in NYC, is scheduled for October 25-27, 2019.

Joanna Gleason is revered by Broadway audiences for her unforgettable portrayal of The Baker’s Wife in the original company of Into the Woods. Other Broadway credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Nick and Nora, Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and Sons of The Prophet among others. Her extensive film and TV work includes Boogie Nights, Crimes & Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Wedding Planner, The West Wing, ER, The Good Wife, and a host of other projects. Joanna has been teaching in high schools and colleges around the country for thirty years, and has directed Off-Broadway as well as for television.

Interested in attending? Early bird registration is now open through April 30th. General registration begins on May 1st. This is an incredible opportunity to meet with theatre professionals from all over the country for three days of networking, socializing, experience-sharing, theatre-going and more! The Statera National Conference is all about intersectional gender balance and our goal is to take positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the American Theatre. 

Learn more about StateraConIV at www.stateraarts.org/conference.


*Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Happy Support Women Artists Now Day!

Support Women Artists Now. 
Simple idea. Big Impact.


SWAN Day, now in its 12th year, is an annual international celebration of women’s creativity and gender parity activism. Last year, StateraArts was chosen to lead SWAN Day 2019. And this year we are thrilled to announce that there are over 200 SWAN events on the 2019 calendar

Can't catch a SWAN Day event in your area? Then join StateraArts for a Virtual SWAN Day Party on Facebook today! It's happening all day long - SWAN Day interviews, photos from SWAN events all over the globe, live feeds from events, video trailers from SWAN Day projects, and more! Join us HERE and invite your friends.
 

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Follow SWAN Day on social media:
 

SWAN Day Instagram

StateraArts Instagram

SWAN Day Facebook

StateraArts Facebook


Today, we celebrate women artists all over the world. 
JOIN US!

An Actress Prepares: Tiffany Hobbs Talks About Auditioning

In this episode of “An Actress Prepares”, Tiffany Denise Hobbs talks about preparing for a successful audition. Tiffany’s series offers mentorship for early career theatre artists as well as valuable insight for anyone wanting to know more about what it means to be a working actor. Click HERE to view last week’s episode.

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AN ACTRESS PREPARES: SELF-PRODUCING

by Tiffany Denise Hobbs

Hey Statera! In this week’s episode, I talk about some tasks you’ll need to accomplish before audition day. If you’ve ever desired an easy check-list for audition prep, this one’s for you. This little acronym I’ve concocted is surely a recipe for SUCCESS.


Tiffany Hobbs was born and raised in Augusta, GA. Tiffany began dancing at the age of three. In the years following, she discovered a love for theater and music that augmented her passion to be a performing artist. She has trained for over two decades at prestigious liberal and performing arts institutions (UGA, SMU, Yale) and loves every minute of imitating life onstage, on set or in a rehearsal room. A former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Theater Center and featured actress at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, some of her favorite roles include Juanita in James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie, Beatrice in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Tonya in August Wilson's King Hedley II.

Tiffany appeared as Shenzi in the National Tour of The Lion King for two years (2015-2017). On TV, she can be found co-starring in Donald Glover's FX hit, "Atlanta"; Netflix's "Ozark" and "The Haunting of Hill House"; the OWN Network's "Love Is ___"; CBS's "MacGyver," "Bull" and "Code Black"; and in SyFy's "Happy." In 2018, Tiffany joined the Broadway musical, Waitress, spear-headed by Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson and Diane Paulus.

More at www.tiffanydenisehobbs.com

SWAN Day Pensacola: Artist Profiles

International Support Women Artists Now Day has seen enormous growth during its 12-year history and this year is no different. StateraArts is thrilled to welcome SWAN Day Pensacola to the family as they launch their inaugural art festival organized by Christine Kellogg, Victoria Grace O'Dell, and PenArts Inc.

From the organizers: “SWAN Day is about women supporting women, about artists supporting artists, about showcasing brilliant local talent, and uplifting others in our community. Artists often forget to celebrate themselves and to open our hearts and minds and share what we feel passionate about with each other.”

Join SWAN Day Pensacola in celebrating Women’s History Month on March 30th from 1:00pm - 11:00pm at Live! Juice Bar on Garden Street in Pensacola. Admission is only $10 for the whole day and can be purchased at the door.

SWAN DAY PENSACOLA SCHEDULE | MARCH 30th

1:15 PM - 1:45 PM: Morokeen - Local Singer & Musician

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM: Dominique & Maria Baroco - Mother/Daughter Duo, piano & poetry

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM: PenArts Inc - The Women of PenArts will perform songs from 3 shows

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM: Improvable Cause - The Women of Pensacola's Top Improv Troupe

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM: Shelby Tudor - University of West Florida Student Singer/Songwriter

3:45 PM - 4:15 PM: Arrant Knavery Inc - Scenes from Lysistrata - See full play at FemFest 4/27

4:20 PM - 4:35 PM: Dani Barrie - Poetry readings

4:45 PM - 5:15 PM: Visual Artists of SWAN Day Q&A

5:20 PM - 5:50 PM: Emily Bishop - Salsa/Bachata demo and class for the public. Come kick of SWAN Day AFTER DARK with some MOOOOOVES!

6:00 PM - 6:30 PM: Victoria Grace - Scenes from Antigone

6:30 PM - 6:45 PM: Lena Sakalla & Gracie Wallace - Scene from Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler.

7:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Tris Weeks - Touring local Pensacola singer/songwriter

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM: Kayla May & Kerry Sandell - COLLECTED STORIES by Donald Marguiles

9:45 PM - 11:00 PM: Mixer with the Artists of SWAN Day - mingle, enjoy the art exhibit, and have a glass of wine!

10:15 PM: Raffle Drawing - Opportunity to win a SWAN Day goodie bag! Includes SWAN Day T-Shrit, StateraArts Bag, & memorabilia!


MEET SOME OF THE 2019 SWAN DAY PENSACOLA ARTISTS

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Kerry Sandell (left) and Kayla May (right) will perform Collected Stories by Donald Margulies this Saturday at SWAN Day Pensacola 2019. The performance starts at 7:45pm.

Kayla May (LISA) is a native to the Gulf Coast and holds a BA in Theatre Performance from the University of West Florida. She has performed professionally along the Gulf Coast and in New England. Favorite productions include Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Secret Garden, On the Verge, A Christmas Carol, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Annie Get Your Gun, The 39 Steps, Guys and Dolls, and WebCamelot: The Series. Kayla serves on the Board of Directors for Arrant Knavery, Inc, is a member of EdTA (Educational Theatre Association) and an Equity Membership Candidate.


Kerry Sandell (RUTH) has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance and a Master’s degree in Communication. She is delighted to be participating in the SWAN Festival in a role that explores female relationships, mentoring, and boundaries. Some of Kerry’s past credits include the titular role in Medea, Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa, Meg in Crimes of the Heart and Mary in On The Verge, in which she shared the stage with Kayla May.


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Karin Gudmundson is a self-taught contemporary abstract painter whose work will be on display at SWAN Day Pensacola. She creates mixed media acrylic and oil pieces. The paintings emerge through layers and layers of content using vivid color, words and bold strokes of paint with more detailed figures and images arising towards the finish. She mixes neo-expressionism and expressionistic art combining the two styles with a modern twist. Karin says, "My goal is to lure you into a place that produces happy feelings yet conveys political, social and cultural significance."

You can find Karin’s work on Facebook or at www.gudmundsonart.com.


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Lena Sakalla and Gracie Wallace will perform a scene from Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler at SWAN Day Pensacola.

Sakalla and Wallace are both Junior Musical Theatre majors at the University of West Florida. Passionate about sharing art with meaningful messages, they think this story is one that needs to be told. Given today’s society, Lena and Gracie want women to feel empowered and speak their truth unapologetically. Hope you are as moved by this piece as they are.

They’ll take the stage at 6:30pm.


Ember Looten is a mixed media artist whose work will be on display at SWAN Day Pensacola.

Legally blind. Fine art. Mixed media. Ember Looten is a professional artist with a developed methodology for visually articulating detail. Her limited sight spectrum is fueled by imaginative arrays of spectacular color and curious movement. Non-profit charities, commission seekers, and devout followers cherish her ability to accomplish the utmost emotional projects demanding personal meaning. Additionally, Ember produces playful and whimsical art to create visually pleasing focal points.

Learn more about Ember’s work at www.artistemberlooten.wixsite.com.

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Dani Barrie is a poet, singer, musician, and actor. Originally from Green Cove Springs FL, Dani is a BFA Musical Theatre major at the University of West Florida. She has appeared in several shows at UWF Department of Theatre including: The Skin of Our Teeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Evita. She has worked with PenArts, Inc. in Woodie Guthrie’s An American Song and See What I Wanna See.

Here’s a taste of Dani’s work:

“and when we are close enough that our eyes meet / I wonder / why such an attractive force has chosen to focus upon a lump cobalt and Nickel / rough around the edges / dull and saddening / but you / you are the sunset painted by God's own hand / you coax the sunshine to peek through the rumbling storm clouds overhead”

Dani takes the stage at 4:20pm.


Valerie Aune is a contemporary painter who embraces many styles and subjects. Her work will be on display at SWAN Day Pensacola.

"Color rules my mind, my heart and my paintings. My compositions are decided by what colors I want to juxtapose. I apply paint to canvas in the old masters tradition of layering paint, directly contrasting contemporary design. The place I most love to be is at my easel in my studio. Images clutter my head and I paint because I have to."
- Valerie Aune

You can find Valerie’s work on Facebook.

All of the visual artists of SWAN Day Pensacola will be part of a Q&A Panel starting at 4:45pm.

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For more information and tickets to SWAN Day Pensacola please visit them on Facebook. For more information about PenArts Inc., please visit them at www.penarts.org.

An Interview with Storyteller Lenelle Moïse

As part of our ongoing efforts to increase visibility of women* artists, StateraArts is coordinating International Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Day 2019, and the SWAN Day Calendar is jam packed with incredible events.  One such event is Haiti Glass: A Concert Reading by poet, performer, playwright Lenelle Moïse.  In a synthesis of original musical compositions and poems from her book, Haiti Glass, Lenelle moves deftly between memories of growing up as a Haitian immigrant in the suburbs of Boston to intellectual, playful explorations of pop culture enigmas.  Haiti Glass lays bare a world of resistance and survival, beauty, and queer grace.  Statera Ambassador, Sabrina Cofield, reached out to Lenelle to find out what inspires this powerhouse of an artist, the importance of feminism and body image, and how she uses her storytelling to open hearts, including her own. 

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Sabrina Cofield: How did you discover poetry/writing?  
Lenelle Moïse: I started writing and drawing in spiral notebooks at age five. I grew up in a tough neighborhood and I wasn’t allowed to play outside. I wrote to entertain myself. I also have a vivid memory of finding my mother’s handheld mini-cassette tape recorder. I spent hours in my room, voicing all the parts of a made up radio show. I played the male and female hosts, the special guests, the musical acts. I even included commercial breaks.

SC: What is your writing process? Do you schedule time to write or do you stop what you’re doing or wake up in the middle of the night when inspired?
LM: Poetry does yank me out of sleep sometimes! Or, out of nowhere, a line stops me in my tracks. I carry a journal everywhere, ready to record observations, epiphanies, or the unexpected things I overhear. I don’t need a specific space or time of day to work but I feel happiest when I write every day. I love those moments of urgent flow but editing is more important. 

SC: You write both poetry and plays.  Do they manifest in different ways or serve a different creative outlet for you? 
LM: I’m a storyteller. My stories come in many forms—verse, dialogue, prose, collages, movement, music. I want to communicate with all the tools in my toolbox. Sometimes I start with what I think is a poem and then—in the middle of memorizing the text—a melody appears. This happened with the title poem of my book, Haiti Glass. On the page, it’s a short, sharp poem—thirty-four words in twelve lines. But when I started rehearsing it, the poem became a two-minute song! On paper, the line “pronouncing the distance” is six syllables. When I sing it, the word “distance” extends for twelve seconds. That way the audience can feel how far I really mean! I think a lot about how to translate my line breaks in performance. Sometimes that means a dramatic pause, or holding a note, or repeating a word, or transforming into another character. Generally, poetry is how I organize and convey my own point of view. Whereas, playwriting, is an exercise in empathy. Sometimes I create characters I disagree with—people who make choices I might not make. I want to understand those choices.

SC: Your writing is so bold, covering some very provocative topics, why do you feel that’s so important to explore?
LM:
I’m always a little surprised when my work is called “provocative.” Is it because I write about black girls, poor folks, and queer desire? For me, these topics are central and universal. We all have race, class, and yearning. I write about the people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the moments that haunt me, the world I refuse to unsee. This is how I keep my heart open. I want my readers and audience members to feel open-hearted, too.

SC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?  If so, what does that mean to you?
LM: I consider myself a feminist because I question authority, insist on freedom, strive for equality, and imagine peace. I also really care about bodies. Do we feel safe in our bodies? Do we feel seen? Are people denying or disrespecting us because of the labels they tag onto our bodies? Are we healthy? Have we eaten? Do we have shelter? Do we feel included? Satisfied? Celebrated? Free? These are my feminist concerns. 

SC: You’re also a composer and have released several CDs, is there anything you can’t do! Talk to me about your music.
LM: Thanks for listening! Music is a very visceral and organic process for me. I use a loop machine to layer sounds—rolling trills, mouth-made clicks, high-pitched squeaks, melody, harmony, and breath. I think of my hands, feet, and voice as instruments. I want to sound like earth, fire, flowers, and guts.

SC: You’re performing a concert reading on April 5th in West Palm Beach, Florida what can audiences expect?
LM: Yes! I’m thrilled to bring my work to the Norton Museum of Art. My event is part of their Art After Dark series on Friday, April 5th. It’s free. I’ll offer a set of original poetry and all-vocal music. Audiences can expect to sigh, laugh, lean in, and nod along to mouth-made beats. I’m also leading two workshops at the Norton: “All Together: Self-Expression and Social Change” on April 6th, and “Embody Language: Voice and Movement for Poets” on April 7th. https://www.norton.org/search?q=lenelle+moise

SC: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given about being an artist or writer?
LM: Keep going.

Haiti Glass - A Concert Reading is on April 5th at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Learn more on the SWAN Day Calendar.  


Lenelle Moïse has been called “a Renaissance woman in the arts,” “an electrifying performer,” and “a powerhouse.” She is a poet, a playwright, and a songwriter. She is an immigrant and a feminist. Moïse wrote the book Haiti Glass, a winner of the 2015 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for excellence in literature. The Lambda Literary Review hailed it “poetry to be savored, then devoured, then shared.” Moïse was the 2017 Lucille Geier Lakes Writer-in-Residence at Smith College as well as a 2017 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Dramatic Writing. Her Ruby Prize-winning play Merit, was featured on the 2016 Kilroys List. She wrote, composed, and co-starred in the Off-Broadway drama Expatriate. She was a Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow and a Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. She has performed across the USA and Canada—at theatres, colleges, high schools, bookstores, arts festivals, cafes, a barbershop in Texas, a sports stadium in New Orleans, Central Park in New York, and at the United Nations. For more information, please visit lenellemoise.com

SWAN Day Connecticut: Artist Profiles

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Now in its 12th year, SWAN Day Connecticut brings trailblazing women artists together for a multi-genre music and arts festival. This one-of-a-kind event attracts people from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. SWAN Day CT founder and organizer, Jennifer Hill, says, “This is really about women’s empowerment in the arts. We are giving them promotion, we are sending them to radio stations, we’ll play their music on air. It’s really a big effort to push everyone who’s involved for that year to help them gain recognition for their art work and their music.”

Hill, who attended Statera’s National Conference as part of the SWAN Day Convening in 2018, is a staple in the Connecticut music scene. Her work as The Murderous Chanteuse is a vehicle for self discovery and Hill hopes that SWAN Day CT inspires other women artists to be themselves and take space.

Besides the musical acts, SWAN Day CT features burlesque artists, live body painting, fashion collections, and arts vendors. At the end of the event, participants are invited for an onstage dance party led by DJ Breakadawn. Kiersten Sieser, front-woman of the psychedelic folk-rock band Tiny Ocean, says, “SWAN Day is more than just an event—I feel like it’s a philosophy,”

SWAN Day CT is happening on March 30th at Trinity on Main in New Britain. Doors open at 5pm. For more information and tickets, please visit www.swandayct.com.


MEET SOME OF THE 2019 SWAN DAY CT ARTISTS

Scarlett (Photo by Mandi Martini)

Scarlett (Photo by Mandi Martini)

Introducing Swan Scarlett of Sarajuana.

Scarlett 17 years old and this is her third time playing the Swan Day CT Music/Arts Fest.

Sunny days, break ups and life choices. Sarajuana brings nostalgic vibes and relatable poetry to whoever needs it. Her songs are all uniquely put together for you as the listener to understand the raw emotions conveyed  - resulting in a better understanding of what it’s like growing up as a young adult in today’s society.

Listen here:
www.soundcloud.com/sarajuanahoney


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HannaH’s Field brings love, spirit, and organic fresh flavor to the people with their "modern hippie Rasta folk". In a time where connections are made with clicks and tweets, their songs encourage people to lead with their hearts and love their brothers. Nominated best female vocalist in the Hartford Advocate for many years, this powerful songstress, HannaH, has shared the stage with such great acts as the Average White Band, the Brothers Johnson, Gov’t Mule (members of the Allman Brothers Band), Derek Trucks, Donna Jean (from the Grateful Dead), the Samples, Percy Hill, Spiritual Rez and Sound Tribe Sector Nine. They have performed at such venues as Toad’s Place, The North West Organic Brewers Festival, Pearl Street Nightclub, Woodstock Reunion at Yasgurs Farm, Unifier,  the Bite of Oregon, and Ziontific Music Festival. 

Listen here: www.hannahsfield.com


Jennifer Hill (Photo by Mandi Martini and Dress by Kristin Costa

Jennifer Hill (Photo by Mandi Martini and Dress by Kristin Costa

Murderous Chanteuse (Jennifer Hill) mends broken hearts with glitter glue, rage, and a dance beat. She gives a compelling musical voice to the urge for justice and healing that fuels her activism as organizer of SWAN Day CT.

“Killing songs since the day she was born” is the motto of Murderous Chanteuse. She is not a femme fatale but a femme vitale, distilling hope and energy out of the darkness. Hill’s  point of view includes her own experience as a domestic abuse survivor, as well as with PTSD from earlier traumas, so what she’s sharing through music is heady, honest, and intimate. Turning struggle into something beautiful is the impetus behind SWAN Day CT.

Listen here:  www.murderouschanteuse.com


That Virginia (Photo by Mandi Martini)

That Virginia (Photo by Mandi Martini)

That Virginia is a reminder of what it means to be fearless - an invitation to follow your bliss. The songs are a discussion on the urgency of experiencing life, with a hint of infectious empowerment.

Virginia offers thought provoking lyrics and peculiar melodies, while delivering a rich performance that hits softly in the audience's emotional gut, bringing tears, joy, happiness, and sorrow, quite often in one punch. Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she brings the tropical warmth of her roots to her genre-bending performance, while singing about the truth of emotions, humanity, and other oddities.

Listen here: www.thatvirginia.com


Kierstin Sieser   (Photo by Mandi Martini)

Kierstin Sieser (Photo by Mandi Martini)

Kierstin Sieser is the lead singer-songwriter of the band Tiny Ocean, which has a dreamy, noir Americana sound. Sieser is joined by Jeremy Coster on guitar, Keith Newman on bass and Jon Morse on drums.

Their debut album “Sometimes You’re Right” was chosen by the Hartford Courant as one of the top 20 albums by Connecticut artists in 2018 by the Hartford Courant. The New Haven Independent says the songs “feel lived in, pared down to their essence, no words wasted. Every song has a line to bring you up short...like a hook in the skin.”

Listen here: www.tinyoceanband.com


DJ Breakadawn (Photo by Mandi Martini)

DJ Breakadawn (Photo by Mandi Martini)

DJ Breakadawn (Dawn Melesko) has been heating up the turntables at Swan Day CT Music and Arts fest for the past 5 years!! A staple in the dance music community since the early 2000’s, Breaka Dawn has been representing the female DJs with style and grace in New England and beyond. She has held several club residencies in Connecticut, and has DJ’d at a variety of night clubs, art shows and festivals around the country. Her captivating sounds span from infectious dance grooves to body rocking breaks with hip hop influences.

Listen here: www.soundcloud.com/breakadawn


Nicole Ma Guerrero (Photo by Katrina Kelly)

Nicole Ma Guerrero (Photo by Katrina Kelly)

Nicole Ma Guerrero is the artist behind the SWAN Day CT poster. Known as Nixie Pixie, Nicole has been drawing since she could hold a paintbrush. Nicole says, “My sister Claudine was the one who taught me how to draw the shapes and curves of a woman and I never stopped drawing women ever since. I love drawing the flow of the hair and the shape of the eyes and the lips and putting life and color into what I do. I, of course, also draw men but I find women more challenging and fun to play around with in terms of color and design. My art is a huge representation of who I am as a person and it will definitely be growing and improving as I do.”

Learn more about Nicole’s artwork on Instagram.


Mandi Martini (Photo by Luke Haugwout)

Mandi Martini (Photo by Luke Haugwout)

Mandi Martini is the official photographer for SWAN Day CT. When she is not out making Swans look  gorgeous she is shooting bands, celebs, the Air Force Academy (she does their graduation photos), and all kinds of events from the mundane to the insane - doing it all while driving her bad ass car and wearing cheetah print.

Learn more here: www.facebook.com/mandimartiniphotog


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Kaylee Doll is a body paint specialist, and she will be painting live at Swan Day CT. She specializes in a wide range of themes; anywhere from fantasy to horror. She has brought to life many body paints for special events, competitions, and photo-shoots. Kaylee is sought after for music video special effects makeup. She runs her own business, Kaylee Doll's Extreme Makeup, and also manages the makeup department at one of New England’s largest haunted attractions, The Haunted Graveyard. Kaylee travels across the U.S. for various artistic opportunities.

Learn more here: www.facebook.com/Kayleesextrememakeup

An Actress Prepares: Tiffany Hobbs Talks About Self-Producing

In this episode of “An Actress Prepares”, Tiffany Denise Hobbs talks about self-producing. Tiffany’s series offers mentorship for early career theatre artists as well as valuable insight for anyone wanting to know more about what it means to be a working actor. Click HERE to view last week’s episode.

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AN ACTRESS PREPARES: SELF-PRODUCING

by Tiffany Denise Hobbs

Hey, Statera! I began my journey in producing my own work a few years ago and it has made a significant difference in my artistic well-being and success. Today I’ll talk about why it is always a good time to self-produce. Be sure to also check out the clip at the end, where I share one of my favorite projects to self-produce.


Tiffany Hobbs was born and raised in Augusta, GA. Tiffany began dancing at the age of three. In the years following, she discovered a love for theater and music that augmented her passion to be a performing artist. She has trained for over two decades at prestigious liberal and performing arts institutions (UGA, SMU, Yale) and loves every minute of imitating life onstage, on set or in a rehearsal room. A former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Theater Center and featured actress at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, some of her favorite roles include Juanita in James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie, Beatrice in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Tonya in August Wilson's King Hedley II.

Tiffany appeared as Shenzi in the National Tour of The Lion King for two years (2015-2017). On TV, she can be found co-starring in Donald Glover's FX hit, "Atlanta"; Netflix's "Ozark" and "The Haunting of Hill House"; the OWN Network's "Love Is ___"; CBS's "MacGyver," "Bull" and "Code Black"; and in SyFy's "Happy." In 2018, Tiffany joined the Broadway musical, Waitress, spear-headed by Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson and Diane Paulus.

More at www.tiffanydenisehobbs.com

An Interview with Playwright Morgan Gould

International Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Day is fast approaching and the SWAN Day Calendar is filling up with some incredible events. One of these is I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART by Morgan Gould, currently playing at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in Chicago, IL. This week, Statera Ambassador Vanessa DeSilvio caught up with Morgan to learn more about her writing process, her mentors, creative experimentation, and the origins of I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART.

Morgan Gould

Morgan Gould

VANESSA DESILVIO: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you discover your talent for playwriting?

MORGAN GOULD: I'm originally from Cape Cod, MA (year round...not like the fun vacation version). I actually didn't start writing plays til like 2012, and I didn't write like SERIOUS full-length plays til I wrote this one in 2015. So in a weird way, this is sort of the first play I ever wrote. I can at least say it's the first time I wrote a play I ever thought might be produced by an actual theater, and not by me. But I've done theater all my life and went to school for directing. I've been doing that for like 15 years. I started writing plays because I ran out of fun things I was excited to direct. So I started writing my own things to work on with my actors. For me the entire point of theater is working with other people, especially actors, whom I adore. Honestly, if you don't like actors, I'm not sure I want to know you? 


VD: Do you find that playwriting and directing go hand in hand? Or do you try to keep the disciplines separate?

MG: To me they go hand in hand. When I'm writing a play, I'm imagining its execution. The script is only a blue print, always. If I wanted to have it all be done after it was written, I would have been a novelist. Theater depends on the actual SEEING of it. A script is not a finished thing, ever. Being a director makes me a stronger writer for the theater, and being a playwright makes me a stronger director. 


VD: How did you begin writing I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART? How long did it take you to complete?

MG: It was actually my thesis for my MFA at Brooklyn College. I'd been writing all this cheeky farces and Mac Wellman (who is the KING of cheeky) gave me a dare to write "a real play." He said, "Hm, what would a really sincere play look like. What if you wrote a real play? There has to be a couch in it, though, for it to be real." (Told you. Very cheeky). I laughed and accepted the challenge. Then I got busy directing and doing other projects. I opened a huge off-Broadway show, and when it was done, I realized my thesis was due in 38 hours.  I hadn't written a word of it. So I sat down and was like, "AHHH WHAT ARE REAL PLAYS ABOUT"  - and I thought, okay, they're about characters in conflict, right? So I was like, who are the characters of my life. And OBVIOUSLY I was like, "Me." And then I thought of my two best friends, both gay men, and I thought, "what would break us apart?" So I sat down to write, but then my roommate came home and was like "Wanna watch the premiere of American Horror Story?" DESPERATE to procrastinate, I  said yes. One of the first shots of season 4 (Hotel) is Lady Gaga and Matt Boomer walking down a long hallway in high vampiric drag to the song "I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart" - which I had never heard. I was obsessed. And I looked at them and I watched them savagely eat all the normal people in the park (that happens) and I thought, "That's what I want to do with my best friend...look fucking fabulous and eat the entire world alive while this song plays." So when the episode ended I had 37 hours to write it. I sat down, with that song on repeat, and I wrote 93 pages. They just shot out of me. And the first 70 pages are basically pretty close to that first draft.


VD: Wow. That is incredible. Now, has that continued to work for you as a writer - writing by the seat of your pants in very little time? Or do you typically write over a longer period of time?

Teressa LaGamba as Sam (right) and Robert Quintanilla as Leo (left) in Morgan Gould’s I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.

Teressa LaGamba as Sam (right) and Robert Quintanilla as Leo (left) in Morgan Gould’s I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.

MG: Yes! I am always flying by the seat of my pants, always. I've never taken more than about a week for a first draft. I tend to push those out quickly. Then the hard part begins. 


VD: How is this play deeply personal to you?

MG: It's a love letter to my gay best friends. It's a love letter to my younger self. The events are completely imagined, but the relationship is very real to me. It's my Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, honestly, haha. There is truly nothing that is more authentic to me than this relationship.

VD: What was the most challenging thing about writing this play?

MG: Writing the play was easy. Rewriting has been very hard. The impulse came so quickly. But crafting that is always the harder thing for me. I also think that this is really my only play that's had multiple productions over years. So now, when I return to it, it's like returning to a younger version of myself. It would be like getting in a time machine and going to therapy from 5 years ago. It's hard to channel and remember the feelings of isolation and sadness, but also love, that I had for this play and these characters when I was writing it. I also find this one of my most painful plays, so revisiting is always so bittersweet. I love Sam and Leo and I hope they're okay, I really do.  


VD: This play had a run at DC's Studio Theatre. How was that experience for you? How did audiences respond?

MG: It was a dream. I loved every second and I am so lucky to have worked with Nicole Spiezio, Tommy Heleringer, Anna O'Donoghue and the rest of the designers and crew and staff at Studio. Audiences in DC are similar to NY audiences, but even more diverse, so it was really fun. They got a ton of people who really got to see themselves reflected on stage for the first time. It was a big turning point for me as an artist and in my career. I'm so grateful for that experience.  


VD: Mentorship is at the core of StateraArts’ mission. Can you tell us about your mentors and how they have guided you through your journey as an artist?

MG: Well, I've mentioned Mac Wellman... but I remember that first class day where I shared it at Brooklyn, it was actually Erin Courtney who was teaching seminar and she is the BEST. She is such a wonderful and supportive playwright herself, and I'm such a huge fan. She's taught me to be unafraid of the weird AND of the sincere AND of the scary. I'm currently at Juilliard, and both Marsha Norman and David Lindsay-Abaire are such wonderful mentors. They're SO different in their approaches, but I like both perspectives on my work. My first directing teacher Elizabeth Margid. She is with me in the back of my head every single day in rehearsal when I'm directing, more than anyone. Emily Morse at New Dramatists is such a force, and truly loves playwrights. Whenever we chat, I feel so hopeful about the future of the field. She's a theater angel to so many playwrights, I'm lucky to benefit from her care and generosity. I think some of my greatest mentors are peer playwrights who lift me up every day by making me laugh at the ridiculous of our business, and whose work blows my mind and makes me see theater in a new way - there are so many I couldn't even name them all. 


VD: What are you currently writing?

MG: This email. But also. I'm currently working on a half hour comedy pilot sort of like fat sex in the city and I literally just wrote 5 pages of a new play due March 20th and I have no idea what it's about.

Teressa LaGamba as Sam (right) and Robert Quintanilla as Leo (left) in Morgan Gould’s I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.

Teressa LaGamba as Sam (right) and Robert Quintanilla as Leo (left) in Morgan Gould’s I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.

VD: What do you hope audiences in Chicago will gain from seeing this play?

MG: I didn't actually write it for all audiences, for better or worse. I wrote it for the fats and the gays, and I hope people who aren't fat or gay also relate, but they might not and that's ok. I think it's a positive thing, for people to have to watch things that aren't about them. I've had to do that my whole life. I've had to watch plays about straight white men. Or "women" plays that do not speak to my experience as a fat woman. Or plays about mostly rich people. And I've liked plays in all of those categories. I think it's interesting when old white (men, mostly) don't like the play, or don't get it, or get annoyed they don't understand the references. Or call it trite or light (to me, it's a deep tragedy, not a fluffy comedy). That tells me they need more training in seeing things that are not their own experience. Many of us have had that training our whole lives. They're just learning that the world doesn't revolve around them. So I try to have patience, even though it can be frustrating they aren't better and trying to see things beyond their own lens. Honestly, in my view, play is utter sincere realistic tragedy. To them it's a blur of millennial references. They seem to watch Shakespeare plays and Mamet plays just fine. Maybe the more they are exposed to language and feeling and circumstance that isn't their own, the more they'll begin to see humanity that isn't their own. I'm crossing my fat-millennial fingers.


VD: What words of advice do you have for other aspiring playwrights out there?

MG: You never know what the thing is that will be the thing. When I sat down to write this, I thought it was just an experiment. It turned out to be something that has cracked me open as a writer and in my career. It's opened a lot of doors. And I could never have done that if I sat down to do that. Just keep writing. Keep going. People will always, always CONSTANTLY and FOREVER tell you to stop. If you have something to say, and you can't not say it, then keep going. It will be very exhausting and hard. But you are lucky, because it is better than lots of other jobs, even though it does not pay very well. If you have a trust fund, honestly, why AREN'T you a writer? I mean, why not, really? 

I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART runs at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in Chicago through March 23rd. Learn more on the SWAN Day Calendar. There are five performances left and you can get you tickets HERE.


Morgan Gould is a writer/ director who is a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists and Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at Juilliard. Morgan's play I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART, is a Beatrice Terry/ Drama League Award Winner, and had its world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC in February 2017 (with Morgan directing). It was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, and DC Metro Arts said that Morgan's work "shows every bit as much promise as Edward Albee’s early work, arguably more." Morgan is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and an alumnus of the Dramatists Guild Fund Playwriting Fellowship, The Women's Project Lab, the Civilians R+D Group, Target Margin Lab, Lincoln Center Director's Lab, SDC Observership Program, the BAX AIR Residency, Playwrights Horizons Directing Residency and New Georges Writer/ Director Lab. She has previously held staff positions at Playscripts, Inc., Lark Play Development Center, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and was the Associate Artistic Director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, where she co-created UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW (BAC/PS 122) and worked alongside Young Jean on the premieres of LEAR (Soho Rep) and WE'RE GONNA DIE (Joe's Pub/ LCT3) and tours of PULLMAN WA and THE SHIPMENT. Morgan is also the Artistic Director of Morgan Gould & Friends – her theater company with 9 actors, 3 designers, and a filmmaker (www.morgangouldandfriends.com). 

As a director, Morgan is a frequent collaborator with playwright Leah Nanako Winkler, and has directed Winkler’s plays KENTUCKY in a 2016 co-production with Radio Drama Network, Ensemble Studio Theater and P73, TWO MILE HOLLOW at the 2018 Women’s Project Pipeline Festival, and GOD SAID THIS at the 2018 Humana Festival and at Primary Stages in NYC in 2019. Morgan also recently directed the Bay Area Premiere of STRAIGHT WHITE MEN by Young Jean Lee at Marin Theatre Company. Morgan holds a B.A. in Directing from Fordham College at Lincoln Center, and a M.F.A. in Playwriting from Brooklyn College. She is currently working on her new plays ALL THE STUPID BITCHES, THREE FAT SISTERS, and NICOLE CLARK IS HAVING A BABY and developing a half hour original series with Amazon Studios and Will Graham/Field Trip Productions.

Nataki Garrett Takes the Helm as Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Nataki Garrett. (Photo by Bill Geenen)

Nataki Garrett. (Photo by Bill Geenen)

by Sarah Greenman

Today, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) announced Nataki Garrett as their sixth artistic director. Garrett, who is directing How to Catch Creation in the current season, will succeed Bill Rauch in August 2019.

Just five months ago, Nataki Garrett delivered an urgent call to action at Statera’s National Conference, “We women have a responsibility to use our leadership opportunities to evolve this industry and to evolve the theater into what it was created for. One that is inclusive, tolerant, and equal. One where equity, diversity, and inclusion are not buzzwords we toss around to prove our level of wokeness but a commitment to our highest level of engagement to save our field, our communities, and the world.”

Founded in 1935, OSF is among the oldest and largest professional non-profit theatres in the nation. Operating on a budget exceeding $44 million, OSF presents more than 780 performances annually with attendance of approximately 400,000. Garrett takes the helm at a crucial moment in the theatre’s history. This year alone, OSF experienced a $2 million loss due to wild fires and is also contending with extensive staff turnover. Now, more than ever, the national arts community must lean in and support Garrett’s transition.

Garrett said it best during her keynote address at StateraCon, “There is no doubt that this rising force of Women will need our support and guidance to succeed in these tumultuous times. It’s not enough to say on social media that you are happy for them. WE, in this room must pledge active support for them. They will need it if they are going to shelter our beloved field through this crazy time.”

Nataki Garrett speaking at Statera’s National Conference in Milwaukee. (Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill.)

Nataki Garrett speaking at Statera’s National Conference in Milwaukee. (Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill.)

StateraArts is dedicated to bringing women* into full and equal participation in the arts. And we pledge the full weight of our resources and collective energy in support of Nataki Garret at OSF. We celebrate the rising tide of new leadership in the American Theatre and will continue to work every day to ensure their success. Among them are Hana Sharif at St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Stephanie Ybarra at Baltimore Center Stage, Maria Manuela Goyanes at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Robert Barry Flemming at the Humana Festival, Pam McKinnon at American Conservatory Theatre, Johanna Pfaelzer at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marissa Wolf at Portland Center Stage, and Weyni Mengesha at Soulpepper in Toronto.

In a statement released by OSF, Garrett said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be named incoming artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival and it is an honor and privilege to inherit such a wonderfully rich and dynamic legacy of artistic excellence in partnership with a dedicated board, staff, company and local community. I am equally excited and inspired by OSF’s dedication to expanding our worldview and look forward to maintaining our commitment to the revolutionary spirit of Shakespeare and classical text, while continuing to explore and expand opportunities for new voices and narratives through new play development.” 

Today, StateraArts celebrates this incredible moment in American Theatre history, but we are also deeply aware that it did not come easy. Statera’s Executive Director and co-founder Melinda Pfundstein says, “Doors did not merely swing open. This is a result of breaking down outdated habits and systems, changing minds and hearts, crashing through broken entryways and prohibitive glass ceilings, and forging new pathways. We are celebrating today and getting back to work.”

Want to know more about Nataki Garrett? Read her April 2018 interview with StateraArts and the transcript of her keynote address at Statera’s 2018 National Conference in Milwaukee.


*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all. 

Statera Member Spotlight: Chrissy Collins

StateraArts Membership is growing fast! Since our official launch on January 1st, over 80 artist-activists have joined the StateraArts community! Our members come from all over the USA and all genres of art-making. They are educators, arts leaders, activists, content-creators, professional artists, early career, mid-career, patrons, and community organizers. The Statera Member Spotlight is just one way StateraArts uplifts and amplifies the voices of our members. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Stage Manager and Yoga Instructor, Chrissy Collins.

Statera Mentorship: Central Coast  regional coordinators during a recent meeting. Chrissy Collins (standing top-left) with (left to right) Z Jennifer Zornow, Kitty Balay, Karin Hendricks, Amani Dorn, and Emily Trask.

Statera Mentorship: Central Coast regional coordinators during a recent meeting. Chrissy Collins (standing top-left) with (left to right) Z Jennifer Zornow, Kitty Balay, Karin Hendricks, Amani Dorn, and Emily Trask.

STATERAARTS: What is your occupation or calling in the arts?
CHRISSY COLLINS:
Stage Manager and Teacher

SA: What moved you to become a member of StateraArts? 
CC:
I really wanted to get more involved in the arts community and to widen my circle of colleagues. When I found out about Statera, the mission just clicked with my own!

SA: Any other organizations you are affiliated with?
CC:
Actors' Equity Association, Yoga Alliance

SA: What do you love most about your artistic community?
CC:
The tremendous support, strength, and love that I feel from my theater family is something I truly can't live without.  Honestly, they are some of the most dedicated, hard-working individuals out there who consistently go above and beyond for their students, their work, and their colleagues.  

SA: Tell us about some of your favorite projects.
C:
Definitely a three way tie Ragtime, Les Mis, and 39 Steps.  I've been so very lucky to work on many, many amazing and challenging projects that have helped me grow as an artist.  

SA: Any upcoming projects you'd like to share with us?  
CC:
I recently returned to my artistic home, PCPA Pacific Conservatory Theatre, after a five year hiatus. I'm so very happy and grateful to be part of that community again and support their upcoming productions. We just opened a production of The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe and it's been thrilling to have so many strong, fierce women on stage!

SA: Mentorship is at the core of the StateraArts mission. Tell us about one of your mentors. How did they shape you or provide pathways for opportunity? 
CC:
Patricia Troxel has been one of my dear friends and mentors for years now and will always be even though she's no longer with us.  Her infectious smile, laugh, and positive energy made us all believe anything was possible.   Patricia was a true example of unconditional love, friendship, and passion, and I carry her lessons with me still today.


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ABOUT CHRISTINE COLLINS

Christine Collins is a proud California native from the Bay Area who holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Stage Management has been her artistic calling since early on and she enjoys sharing her love of theater and stage management with the next generation. She has stage managed over 60 productions with PCPA's Pacific Conservatory Theatre and is so grateful to be in residence there, where she considers it her true artistic home. She was recently on a five year hiatus before returning to PCPA, during which she became a certified yoga instructor and yoga studio manager. Chrissy is the proud pet parent of Katie and Dancer, and a friend to all!

Spoken Soul Festival 2019 Features Phenomenal Artist Line-Up

Spoken Soul Festival, the flagship event for SWAN Day Miami, boasts a powerhouse line up of women artists this year. Now in its twelfth year, Deborah Magdalena has built an ambitious three-day spoken word festival in celebration of women artists in Florida. The theme this year is #WordIsBond. Magdalena says, “#WordIsBond explores how in the digital age words have no boundaries and comments on how, because of this, words are more powerful than ever before in our history.”


DAY ONE | MARCH 22
Spoken Soul Festival kicks off on March 22 from 10 am - 1 pm,  with a SWAN Community Program. The SWAN team, made up of SSF alumni and organizers, is hosting a cash prize Youth Poetry Slam competition with VIP judges, in conjunction with and held at the Miami Dade Public Library Main Branch. There will also be a mystery poetry scavenger hunt with prizes sponsored by ICA, MOCA, and YoungArts. This free event is open to the public and features SSF alum 13-year-old DJ Slaya spinning classic hip-hop.

DAY TWO | MARCH 23
On March 23, join SWAN Day Miami for the Spoken Soul Festival 2019 main event! The open admission showcase will experience the rich cultural diaspora that they have come to expect from the SSF’s signature event: women dancers, poets, visual artists, vocalists, and a female DJ, all representing different cultures and unique voices. 

DAY THREE | MARCH 24
Join the Miami community for the Annual Vanessa Baez Memorial Women’s Brunch starting at 11am. Thie brunch provides a moment to remember the short life of Vanessa Baez, a mother, daughter, and sister who demonstrated extraordinary courage while battling sarcoidosis. Each year this brunch fosters a growing sisterhood of creative and inspiring women in Miami joined together while “Celebrating Everyday Women With Extraordinary Courage.” 

Spoken Soul Festival 2019 Featured Artists from left to right: Munirah Rimer, Ronavia Williams, Angie Lopez, Habian, Perla Gonzalez, Esther Rose McCant, Jarbath Art, Cheri Vice, Alana Da Costa, and Reshma Anwar. Not pictured: Beláxis Buil, Jacquea Mae, Dynasty Steppers, Sharonda ECCentrich Richardson, and Alejandra Romero aka DJ Musicat. (Photo by Moment 77)

Spoken Soul Festival 2019 Featured Artists from left to right: Munirah Rimer, Ronavia Williams, Angie Lopez, Habian, Perla Gonzalez, Esther Rose McCant, Jarbath Art, Cheri Vice, Alana Da Costa, and Reshma Anwar. Not pictured: Beláxis Buil, Jacquea Mae, Dynasty Steppers, Sharonda ECCentrich Richardson, and Alejandra Romero aka DJ Musicat. (Photo by Moment 77)

ARTIST PROFILES FROM SPOKEN SOUL FESTIVAL 2019:

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Perla Gonzalez, a Miami-based poet, was born in Cuba as the daughter of a singer and guitarist. She will be performing at Spoken Soul Festival with her grand daughter Angie Lopez. When asked about her intention for performing at Spoken Soul Festival 2019, she says she wants to inspire young women. She says, "There is no age to love, to laugh, to create, to write or to be an artist! Just do it!” Read more about Gonzalez’ journey on the Spoken Soul Festival website.

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Sharonda ECCentrich Richardson was born and raised in Pompano Beach Fl. Where she founded and hosted Cuisines & Poetry, in Pompano Beach, FL. She proudly hosts shows from poetry, to fashion shoes, workshops more throughout the Broward County. As a poet, she has graced the stages of over 45 venues from Florida to California and is currently the 14th ranked female poet in the world according to her placement during the Women of the World Poetry Slam. More about her work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Munirah Rimer is a Batik artists and educator. Her business, Teratai Malaysia was born out of Rimer’s desire to share her Malaysian culture and explore the world of batik. Rimer teaches batik painting to students in her home studio as well as various venues (art studios, retirement communities, offices, private homes) primarily in South Florida – including Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach. Learn more about her work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Alana DaCosta is an interdisciplinary artist who uses various mediums as a creative community builder, artist activist, singer/songwriter, musician, and poet. Alana’s eclectic music blends neo-soul with jazz, reggae, hip hop and a drop of funk. She says, “My music and expressive art initiatives will inspire the minds, hearts and souls of people across the world, and will ignite change, social responsibility, awareness, and our purpose to live life freely, without regrets and without bounds.” More about DaCosta’s work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Ronavia Williams is a poet and a mother. Her work is focused on the art of becoming whole. Through her spoken word poetry she encourages her audience to believe that they have the power and ability to rediscover themselves in a new light. This year at Spoken Soul Festival, she’ll be sharing her work “Come Forth: An Untold Story”. Learn more about Ronavia Williams on the Spoken Soul website.

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Reshma Anwar was born and raised in Leipzig, Germany. She graduated from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons.) in Dance and a minor in Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology in Music. At UArts she worked with various choreographers including Kim Bears-Bailey, Roni Koresh, Iquail Shaheed, Douglas Becker and Sidra Bell. During the Summer, she volunteered to teach dance in Jamaica and Haiti. More about her work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Cheri Vice is a visual artist and muralist who recently created a 210 x 5-foot mural for Briar Bay Park in Miami. Aided by local teacher, Jovany Corzo, and several local middle and high school students, Vice’s tireless work to beautify the park has had a deep impact in the community. A local, whose house neighbors the park said, “The mural really brings the area to life. It’s just so beautiful!” To read more about Vice’s Briar Bay Park mural, visit the Spoken Soul website.

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Jacquea Mae is a singer, actress & creative artist. She is known for her powerful, soulful & from the gut performances. Jacquea has also starred as Alberta ‘Pearl’ Johnson with actress Julie Beroes in Black Pearl Sings, under the direction of New Horizons Theater in 2013 and once again, as Bessie Smith in Queens Of The Blues last year. In 2016 Jacquea Mae released her first EP, ‘The Makings Of Me’. She also teaches young artists with 1Hood Media. More about her work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Angie Lopez is an 18-year old spoken word artist. Her writing deals with themes of heritage, identity, gender, and social issues affecting minority and youth voices. She believes spoken word more than any other medium serves as a bridge connecting people both to their own voices and to the narratives of others due to the medium’s intrinsic vulnerability. Learn more about Lopez’ work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Haibian is a poet and author. Performing since the age of 18, Haibian’s interest has always been in the captivation of her listener’s attention with topics that are for the everyday person. She also focuses on staying true to her LGBT community. Learn more about Haibian’s work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Beláxis Buil is a performance artist. Her creative practice integrates looming topics needing urgent discussion in human rights advocacy, women and gender issues, identity politics, and the crisis of human conditioning, weaving poetic and absurd arrangements of sculpture, installation, video, photography and choreography into provocatively bold and challenging environments where the public and objects become a part of the narrative. More about her work on the Spoken Soul website.

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Esther McCant is a poet from Miami, Florida. Her family emigrated from Port-au-Prince, Haiti over 30 years ago. When she is not creating, “journaling”, or snapping pictures from her life, she lives her life’s dream of helping families thrive as a doula and certified lactation counselor. She says, “Doing birth work is an art because I am helping mothers have their babies in a way that is visually beautiful and emotionally empowering.” Learn more about her journey on the Spoken Soul website.

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Katiana “Jarbath Art” Smith is painter based in Palm Beach County. Using bold colors, Smith paints the African Diaspora, more specifically, people of Haitian descent. Her artwork focuses on facial expressions and the stories that people tell through their eyes, poise, and features. Smiths desire to paint people of color stems from her upbringing but now serves as a political statement, a reminder that the African Diaspora has a place in the American story. Learn more about Jarbath Art on the Spoken Soul website.

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Alejandra Romero AKA DJ MUSICAT was born in Venezuela and lives in Miami. Her DJ style is a result of blending old school with new school, with large and varied influences from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s dance music and Latin beats, bringing decades of joy to her crowd. She says, “Music inspired me to work in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years. MUSICAT is a tribute to my loves: Music, My Cats, My Country and ALL those who have dared to pursue their dreams.” More about her work on the Spoken Soul website.

VISIT spokensoulfestival.com for more information!