Karena Fiorenza | Breakout Session
About the session: In the 1990s, critical race theorist Mari Matsuda challenged activists and progressives to "ask the other question" when trying to "understand the interconnection of all forms of subordination." For instance, Matsuda writes, "When I see something that looks racist, I ask ‘Where is the patriarchy in this?’ When I see something that looks sexist, I ask ‘Where is the heterosexism in this?’” In our approach to truly equitable theatre leadership, this practice is essential. How are we reinscribing harmful systems of oppression in our hiring and recruitment, org charts, and professional development? Are we recreating the old familiar hierarchical power structures that were present in our first jobs or our academic experience? And how might we move past or transcend this thinking, creating new leadership and organizational models that embrace our field's full spectrum of humanity? This panel of thought leaders will discuss how they're approaching or would approach this charge, and will lead a full group discussion in which we will collectively envision a new truly inclusive future for the American theatre.
Karena Fiorenza brings more than a decade of experience as a leader, fundraiser and producer in the performing arts. She currently serves as the General Manager for the nationally recognized Steppenwolf Theatre. Karena also functions as the General Manager for the multi-disciplinary ensemble company, UNIVERSES. Previous tenures include General Manager for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Associate Managing Director at both Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre, and Executive Director of contemporary dance company Robert Moses’ Kin. She is a 2014 TCG SPARK awardee, Chicago Dancemakers Forum board member, serves on The Actors Fund’s Central Region Advisory Council, and is a member of the anti-racist movement, Enrich Chicago.
Karena holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA in Theater Management from Yale University, where she received the August Coppola Scholarship and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Scholarship.