Statera Mentorship: Meet the Los Angeles Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in the Los Angeles area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Los Angeles Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Los Angeles Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: Statera Mentorship Los Angeles Chapter
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Los Angeles Regional Coordinators (left to right) Amber Friendly, Anatasha Blakely, and Siobhan Doherty.

Los Angeles Regional Coordinators (left to right) Amber Friendly, Anatasha Blakely, and Siobhan Doherty.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Amber Friendly: I think the greatest need depends on the individual and where they're at in their journey, but generally, I think it's important to have someone you can connect with who is a little farther along in their career and can act as a supportive figure. Sometimes that support is just having someone with experience to bounce ideas off of, sometimes it can be to provide more of a guiding role. And for the person acting as the mentor, it can be easy to take for granted the knowledge that you've accumulated over the years. Sharing what you know is a great way to deepen your own understanding of a concept as well as gain an appreciation for what you've learned along the way. 

Anatasha Blakely: Growth is hard. We all want to get better and sometimes we don't know how. In Tools of Titans Tim Ferris says "What you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well does not make it important... Being busy is a form of laziness. Being busy is often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions." Every great mentor I've had has kept me from wasting a whole lot of time doing the unimportant things. When you're starting out with a new skill or reaching new peaks it's often hard to know which path to take, which action will really help. They have lived it. The good ones guide you away from time wasters and put you on a path to find your own voice.

Siobhan Doherty: Support, and a willingness to understand that it may mean something different to each person. Some people may want someone to support them by pushing them out of their comfort zone, and challenging them, and other people may feel most supported when they're listened to and gently encouraged along their path.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Anatasha: I began as an actor and got a degree from SUU. But lately I've found myself improvising, writing and filmmaking! What a world!

Siobhan: I'm an actor, writer, producer, and teacher. 

Amber: I'm an actress and writer based in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. In Chicago, I worked primarily in theatre. Now, my work is focused primarily on television and voiceover. I've been lucky to work on some great projects, but some of my favorites have been How to Get Away With Murder, Children's Hospital, Shameless, and NCIS: LA.

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Los Angeles area arts scene?

Siobhan: I never thought I'd end up in LA. I grew up doing musical theater, so I always thought I'd end up in New York, but after going to grad school at UC Irvine, I got into writing and producing for film, so I've been in LA ever since. Nowadays I'm mostly writing and directing my own projects, teaching, and looking to get back into the theater scene in LA.

Amber: I grew up around Chicago and first came to the West Coast to attend the MFA Acting program at the University of California, Irvine. That was the first time I had spent more than a week west of the Mississippi. After I graduated, I moved up to Los Angeles and have been lucky enough to connect with some wonderfully creative artists in my time here. LA is a city that is filled with so much culture and ingenuity; I constantly feel like I'm discovering something new.

Anatasha: This question exhausts me. Ha! All I'll say is that LA is exhausting in the best way. And don't knock it ‘til you try it.

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Siobhan: My experience with the first iteration of the Statera Mentorship program - and specifically my mentor, Sylvie Zamora - was instrumental in my current career path. When we started our meeting, I was working a lot of freelance/side-hustle jobs and feeling lost and disconnected from my art, and I'm now on faculty at two colleges in their actor training programs. Meeting with Sylvie and being able to voice what I was looking for in my career and brainstorm ways to move in that direction has changed my life dramatically.

Anatasha: I met the most amazing woman, Jet Eveleth, at the iO West bar. (When iO West was still an improv theatre and not a drug and gun den. She looked me in the eye, made me feel seen and then told me to promise her I would make beautiful art before I died. She then continued to light a fire under my butt for 5 years just by being herself. (If you're ever in Los Angeles you MUST attend her insanely beautiful class: Church Clown.

Amber: I think that mentorship is something that happens at different points in your career because we are always evolving and learning. That said, my most recent show is freshest in my mind. I was in production for about six months and just the collective knowledge on that set was staggering. It really was a group of generous, kind people who were very accomplished. I am truly grateful for every member of the cast and crew who shared their knowledge and vision with me.  

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Anatasha: Melinda Pfundstein. She's a saint. I could never deny her anything.

Siobhan: I worked with Melinda Pfundstein at Utah Shakespeare Festival back in 2013, before Statera was founded, and heard about the early stages of it through social media. It's been fascinating to watch it grow and connect our theater community across the country, and I knew I wanted to be part of that.

Amber: Siobhan Doherty, who I went to graduate school with and still work with today approached me and let me know about her experience with the program.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Amber: In terms of my leadership style, I like to break things down into clear goals and strategies. Just about anything can be tackled if you take it piece by piece. And helping other people realize their own talents feeds into my own artistry. It's like watching a light turn on and it helps keep me inspired on my own creative journey.  

Anatasha: I've always thought I had lovely taste in people and I'm not afraid to tell them what's wonderful about them. Not sure if that's a leadership style but my buddies always tell me I'm a collector of "shiny rocks" and I adore getting those "rocks" to love and meet each other. Called to do the work... because there is nothing I love more than seeing someone step into their power. Fuck yeah! Sorry, can I swear on here? Eh. Bleep it if you must.

Siobhan: Lead with humility and imperfection. Each time I step into a leadership role, I am reminded that none of us know for sure what we're doing - yes, we may have navigated something similar before, but it's never exactly the same. We're all here on planet earth trying to figure this life thing out. Not being afraid to say "I don't know the answer" but being willing to go figure it out or find someone who knows, is, I think, one of the most useful qualities in a leader.

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Anatasha: I am shooting a short film I wrote. My first time directing a film. I'm super stoked and wildly terrified (in the good storm-chaser-wind-in-my-hair kind of way). God bless us, everyone. I'm also headed to the Shakespeare Project in Anniston, Alabama in August to play Macduff. For future updates about said film and possible pictures of me killing Macbeth (I've been promised a dagger fight, y'all) you can check me out on Instagram @anatashablakely.

Siobhan: I'm one of the creators of Dame Sketch Comedy, which I'm super proud of: Dame Sketch Comedy. I'm also directing Sarah Ruhl's Orlando in the Fall at Studio School.

Amber: I recently wrapped on the Morning Show, which will air on the upcoming show Apple plus service. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell, and many other amazingly talented people. I can't wait for everyone to see it. You can follow me @AmberFriendly on Twitter and Instagra for updates on everything I have coming down the pipeline. 

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentee or mentor for the next class in the Los Angeles Area at www.stateraarts.org/los-angeles-mentorship. And if you have questions, please visit Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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 Mentorship: Meet the DFW Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in the Boston Area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Dallas / Fort Worth Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Dallas / Fort Worth Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: Statera Mentorship Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

DFW Regional Coordinators (left to right): Emily Scott Banks, Alle Mims, Vanessa DeSilvio, Christie Vela, Olivia de Guzman, and Natalie Young.

DFW Regional Coordinators (left to right): Emily Scott Banks, Alle Mims, Vanessa DeSilvio, Christie Vela, Olivia de Guzman, and Natalie Young.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Alle Mims: The greatest need for mentorship relationships is finding a mentor who looks like you, a mentor you can relate to. As amazing as most of my professors were, there were all white and straight. I never had a queer, woman of color to look up to while in university. Having a mentor you know personally, in your area, who is walking a similar path to you is invaluable. Since graduating, I have met many powerful and worthy women of color and queer people to look up to, and it has made a huge difference in how I see my future in Dallas. While in university, I thought, "Why am I doing this when there is no place for someone like me here?" Now that I see people like me succeeding, I know it's possible for me too.

Vanessa DeSilvio: I think the greatest need for mentorship is to feel encouraged. I can't tell you how many artists I have met recently who are incredibly talented and have so much to offer this arts community, but who doubt themselves constantly. I think they get in their own way of artistic growth and of personal ambition. But I get it! Once I became a mother, and had to find a balance between my passion for theater and my passion for my children, there were days where I felt serious fear creep into my mind that maybe I would not be successful in both. That maybe I was just not cut out for being an artist because I decided to have a family and so I wouldn't find time or energy to commit to my love of art. With mentorship, I think artists who feel that they have been out of the game for too long, or feel that they simply aren't booking work, or who just need that boost of encouragement, will find that mentorship can help uplift them and give them a gentle nudge towards their goals. 

Natalie Young: Navigating the lack of opportunity for our gender, as well as equal pay for women. 

Emily Scott Banks: In my own experience, anyway, it is a harder thing for a mid-career woman to find a mentor than for an artist who is still very young. I'm not sure why this is, but it does seem to leave a lot of ladies in their late 20's through their 30's who may have had pauses for families or other reasons, and who have therefore not progressed quite as far or as fast in their careers. When I was going through this period, I experienced a LOT of judgment from men in leadership positions (though not the person who became my own mentor) who simply had no time for artists who were also mothers. Even many women at the time were less interested in supporting the careers of other women artists who were not significantly younger than themselves, so I think that together leaves this gap. Off the top of my head, I can easily name maybe 20 local artists who are very talented and have a lot of potential, but who are struggling to find traction in their careers after becoming moms.

Olivia de Guzman: A sharing of perspective between two artists that remind them both of their passion and drive, and why the arts are a noble and necessary pursuit.  An outlet to celebrate personal process.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Olivia: I'm an actor, musician, and arts educator. 

Vanessa: I received my MFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University and have worked with numerous theatre companies in DFW. I’m also a voice over artist and speak fluent Spanish so I’m often recording audiobooks, commercial radio spots, or educational programs in both English and Spanish. I’ve also taught at Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, and KD Conservatory. I’m represented by The Mary Collins Agency, which has helped me book commercial spots and television roles. 

Alle: I work mostly as an actor but I recently had my first short play produced in Dallas since college!

Emily: I am an actor-director and have been working professionally in the DFW area for 20 years now. Before that, I worked and studied in New Orleans, Austin and the Berkshires. Since moving back to Fort Worth in 2000, I have been in maybe 50/60 plays as an actor, and directed about 20 others. I have a BFA in Acting from UT Austin, and I've been a member of Actors Equity for 12+ years.

Natalie: I work primarily as an actor, though I am also a founder of Choreo Records Tap Company and I sing with the Polyphonic Spree

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the DFW area arts scene?

Emily: I grew up in Fort Worth, so was involved in both experimental theater at the Hip Pocket Theatre at the same time as very traditional Casa Mañana Theatre when it was in the round and doing full musical summer stock. I studied dance first, then moved over to acting later. At that time, I couldn't wait to get out of the area so went away to study/work for about 12 years, then came back as a new mom with an infant, to find the theater scene hopping. I never looked back. I love how artists can live a balanced life here. Although I had directed outside of DFW, I primarily identified as an actor for the first 9 years I was back, but was offered (by a mentor!) to direct a professional show in 2009, and since then have been an artist hyphenate. 

Olivia: I was born and raised in Texas and I got my BFA in theatre here too. But after graduating, I had some entrepreneurial opportunities come up. It’s crazy how a theatre skill set lends itself to so many other jobs. So I did small theatre and music projects on the side, mostly for free, and I didn’t start actually working professionally in the Dallas theatre scene (and some projects in New York) until 6 years ago. Sometimes I wonder where’d I be if I started grinding and auditioning right after college, but mostly I’m proud of the time I took to explore other things and I believe those experiences made me a better artist. 

Natalie: I got cast pretty much directly out of college and have continued working regularly ever since. 

Vanessa: I moved from New York City to Dallas to pursue my MFA and the plan was to move to Chicago afterwards. But upon graduation I had built up a strong connection with theaters in the DFW area, including Shakespeare Dallas, Cara Mia Theatre Co., Kitchen Dog Theater, and the Dallas Theater Center. I love the close-knit theater community here, I was inspired by the work I was seeing, and felt like I could find my place here. One of the things I enjoy about being in this town is that I can see work and think to myself, “I really hope to get to work with this actor or with that director” and chances are that I will! 

Alle: was raised in California and moved to DFW when I was 18. I went to Collin College for a few years before transferring to Texas Woman's University where I got my BA in Drama in 2016. From there, I joined the professional theatre world and eventually signed with Kim Dawson and started commercial and film work as well. 

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Vanessa: Upon graduation, I reached out to David Lozano at Cara Mia Theatre Co. He was so gracious in allowing me to join them for weekly sessions that focused on physical theater, devised work, clown and mask work. It was exactly what I needed to feel connected to a theater in town and to continue building on my training from SMU. I got quite busy working with other theaters in town but I am always grateful to him for his mentorship and guidance. 

Emily: Probably the unexpected and surprising offer to direct I mention above. I actually came to my first true experience of having a mentor rather late, though I'd always hungered for such support. This person was both my Meisner teacher of 5 years (at that time) as well as my director on many shows. The offer to direct was purely out of the blue, because he recognized that in me, and was generous enough to take a risk. Luckily it paid off! 

Alle: My most memorable and impactful mentorship happened at Collin College under Gail Cronauer. I am happy to say we continued our relationship past my graduation. Out of all my instructors, I think she has been the most honest with me. I will never forget when I asked her if I should straighten my hair for my head shots, she said, "Why?" After I spent a few moments trying, and failing, to come up with a good reason, she said, "Your hair makes you who you are. There will be hundreds of girls with straight hair auditioning. You're going to be different." It seems like a small thing, but that really made me reevaluate how I present myself as a black woman in the professional world. After she saw my first ten-minute play, she told me, "Keep writing." I have that small quote written down and pinned on my bulletin board. 

Natalie: Dressing room chats with more seasoned actresses than myself.

Olivia: That’s the thing - I have had truly excellent teachers and my family is very supportive of my work in the arts, but I’ve never had a mentor-mentee relationship with another artist. It’s absolutely a void I’ve always felt, especially when I was a younger woman, flying by the seat of my pants around my career. So, the chance to help others find mentorship is a way to feel better about not having had that myself. 

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Vanessa: Sarah Greenman, the StateraArts Director of Operations, reached out to me at the start of this year about becoming an ambassador for StateraArts. I didn't know much about Statera until Sarah reached out to me and I am so glad she did. The mission of empowering women artists speaks to me in a visceral way, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to be a part of such an uplifting organization. I am proud of being an artist, of being Latinx, of being a mother to two, and now, of being a part of a movement to UPLIFT, AMPLIFY, and ADVANCE women artists in this DFW community. Just a few weeks after taking on the role of ambassador, I was contacted about leading the Regional Coordinator team for the very first DFW Mentorship Chapter. Again, I couldn't resist this active mission of encouraging women artists and helping them to find a community. So here I am!

Natalie: Christie Vela and Vanessa DeSilvio.

Olivia: The very fierce Vanessa DeSilvio reached out to me and I said yes. We know each other through mutual friends, teaching at the same school, and before that I was a fan of her work onstage!

Emily: Vanessa DeSilvio, our lovely regional coordinator, and I were in The Moors together this past fall, and became friends there. 

Alle: I was introduced to Statera Mentorship by Vanessa DeSilvio. Vanessa was actually part of the cast in my first ever professional show in Dallas. Since then, we have supported each other's work and stayed in touch. I saw her posting about Statera and the possibility of starting a DFW chapter and before I knew it, she was reaching out to me to become a part of it. I was blown away because I look up to her as an actress and a strong voice for women of color in the industry. I hope that others will see me that way, too. 


STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Vanessa: My leadership style... I am super organized, so organizing teams, planning tasks that are geared towards goals, those are the things I like to do. I love a challenge! I'm called to mentorship in DFW because I feel so many artists will benefit from this uplifting mission.  

Natalie: I suppose it's important to me that we find ways to raise our worth in this business. We all need expanders along the way, especially as young artists, to feel safe asking for what you deserve. Hopefully our mentorship will provide that for young women. I don't consider myself someone who has conquered everything, but I've never been afraid of an uncomfortable conversation and I've never been satisfied with "that's just the way it is." 

Emily: I am a staunch believer in the power of so-called "soft leadership" or "leading from behind" (thank you, Nelson Mandela) which is 100% counter to the stereotypical male and mainstream-rewarded forms of leadership that scream an ego-driven "Look at me!". I firmly believe in shining a light on every member of my collaborative team in a way that brings their best efforts to the fore, and encourages them to soar past their own perceived limitations. However this does not mean I am afraid of making the final decisions or the hard calls. I believe that long as I, as director/leader, have done my research, collected the best team, and stay true to my vision to honor the story, then all the team member's contributions can then feel valued enough to bring their best work with a good heart. At first, I struggled with some perceptions that this approach signaled weakness on my part, as it wasn't the classic macho style of leadership, but I think the "products" (for lack of a better word) that I have delivered repeatedly have led to being hired over and over again, and to having my shows recognized in end-of-year lists/awards and more importantly by audiences as important experiences. I think this combination of bringing quality stories where all members of the team feel a sense of esprit d'corps is why I am called to work.

Olivia: Theatre is a collaborative art form and I think my strength lies in collaboration.  Whether my role in the collaboration is a leadership role or not, I'm up for the task and I give my full effort, along with my trust in and respect for what my fellow artists bring.

Alle: I am still trying to find my leadership style. Often times, I feel as though I am thrown into leadership positions because I am outspoken and unapologetic. I carry both of those things into my leadership, but I am still refining that. I know I have crossed lines and stepped on toes in the past. I hope to grow and learn from my mistakes and use them to become a better leader.

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Olivia: I just closed Office Hour by Julia Cho at Circle Theatre.  It has been an important project for me because I'm one of two Asian Pacific Islander - American leads, and Julia Cho is an amazing Asian American playwright.  Representative opportunities such as this are a rarity in DFW and it has been a wonderful experience.  In the fall, I am going back to school (!!) for a Masters in Acting, so I'm looking forward to immersing myself in that training.

Alle: I just closed Raptured! at Theatre Three. After that, I will be in As You Like It with Shakespeare Dallas in the summer. I hope to continue to get short works produced in the area and am currently working on a staged reading of a full-length play. You can follow my work on Instagram @alleisthebest

Natalie: Lots of exciting things around the bend! My Instagram is @pepinochick where I painfully overshare, so its unlikely you'll miss whats happening with me, if that's something you're interested in. 

Emily: I’m directing "Summer and Smoke" for The Classics Theatre Project at the Margo Jones Theater at Fair Park - where it had its world premiere in 1947 (the year before going to Broadway) and where it has not been done since. Bringing this challenging piece home, where the ghosts of Margo and Tennessee birthed it 71 years ago seems like some juicy theater juju.

Vanessa: Oh yay! I just closed the Dallas Theater Center's production of REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES by Josefina Lopez (directed by a fellow regional coordinator, Christie Vela!). The play features an all-female, all-Latinx cast and it is a feel-good play that deals with owning your roots, body image, friendships, the roles of wives, sisters, mothers... it's just a fabulous play that I was so blessed to be a part of.

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentee or mentor for the next class in the DFW Area at www.stateraarts.org/dfw-mentorship. And if you have questions, please visit Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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 Mentorship: Meet the Bay Area Regional Coordinator

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in California’s Bay Area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Bay Area Regional Coordinator, Sheila Devit. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Bay Area Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: www.stateraarts.org/bay-area-mentorship
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Bay Area Regional Coordinator Shelia Devitt.

Bay Area Regional Coordinator Shelia Devitt.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Sheila Devitt: I work primarily as an actress; although my work over the past 30 years has included almost every aspect of theatre-making. That includes directing, dramaturgy, stage management, house management, set design, costume design, props; producing, grant writing, fund-raising, publicity; serving on a Board of Directors; teaching drama, from pre-K through college. 

I’m primarily a Western, classically- trained actress, with a strong background in Stanislavsky (trained with the Moscow Art Theatre School at Harvard) and Shakespeare (spent a year studying in England). I have also had the good fortune to study classical Eastern performance, specifically Japanese Noh & Kyogen (apprenticed with Theatre of Yugen, and Master Teacher Fujii-Sensei, of the Hosho Noh School in Tokyo). That has also included mask and puppetry work. I love working with heightened language, and a variety of physical movement styles. I also have a love of new plays, and the developmental process, working with the playwright.

In recent years, I have become more active as an advocate for theatre, and specifically for women in theatre. I’m an avid new-play script reader, and created the Reading the Kilroys List group, an informal living-room gathering to read scripts from The Kilroys List and the New Play Exchange.

I currently serve on staff as the Lead House Manager at the San Francisco Playhouse, the highest-producing company in the Bay Area (six main-stage shows, three second-stage shows, a monthly staged reading series per year).

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Bay Area arts scene?

Sheila: Sure! I started acting when I was living in Santa Fe, NM, and got my BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of New Mexico. That state has no professional acting, no Equity or LORT houses. So, after a few years of running community theatres, I started looking for room to grow. A combination of factors brought me to San Francisco, including the presence of theatre companies like American Conservatory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It’s a major regional hub, with milder winters than New York or Chicago! (I spent early childhood in Boston, and elementary school in Chicago, so I know those winters well.) 

As soon as I arrived in San Francisco, I joined Theatre Bay Area, our fabulous service organization, and began to connect with a variety of companies here. We have a strong & supportive theatre community. I have felt empowered, as part of  projects and organizations like TBA’s ATLAS Actors program (I was in their inaugural class!); Velina Brown’s Business of Show Biz; Valerie Weak’s Counting Actors statistical survey; “Yeah, I Said Feminist!” a theatre salon founded by Fontana Butterfield Guzman; Works by Women SF, a meet-up group co-hosted by Christine & Valerie, that attends plays by women, to boost ticket sales & box office revenue; and my small Affinity group, originally coordinated by our esteemed regional theatre critic, Lily Janiak.

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Sheila: I think it must be working with Jubilith Moore, who invited me to apprentice with her at Theatre of Yugen, where she was Artistic Director. The training, although a highly-specific classical form, has carried over into other work that I do: the physical and vocal work has expanded my skill set. During my time with Theatre of Yugen, Jubilith invited me to take on a variety of challenges, and offered me opportunities to teach & direct. She pushed me, gently, to the edges of my comfort zone, helping to expand what I thought I was capable of. 

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Sheila: Martha Richards invited me to attend the Statera Conference III, in October 2018 - which was an amazing conference!!! One of the break-out sessions I attended was offered by Erika Haaland, about Statera’s Regional Mentorship program. It sounded like a very smart program, and I could easily see how useful it would be to bring this to the Bay Area. With the support and encouragement from Martha, and Christine Young, I signed up to be a Regional Coordinator.

STAETRA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Sheila: Greatest need: Community networking and encouragement.

Most Common need: Careers in theatre are often very individual: unlike some other professions, there isn’t always a clear path of steps to follow or take, to advance your work. Mentorship is one way to provide a structure for individual growth. Simply by spending time with someone who is a few steps further along the path can be of tremendous value. The mentee is often able to specify and focus their scope of work interests, through the process of dialogue with the mentor, and through introductions to other theatre-makers with similar interests. The mentor is encouraging the next generation of theatre makers (regardless of age), thereby keeping our industry vital. The ripple effects extend throughout the theatre community, and also into our broader society. Theatre is one of the most collaborative art forms. We need each other. We are stronger together.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Sheila: Building community relationships is fundamental. As a leader, on the one hand I am interested in organizational structure and efficiency: how can we work smarter, rather than working harder? On the other hand, I am interested in connecting people, making introductions, finding & sharing common interests, for the greater good. I have a very strong desire to make our collective work in theatre a little easier for the folks coming up behind me, to hold the door open.

(I also have a parallel career, working in herbal medicine. This interest grew out of the idea that the actor’s body is the instrument, and the instrument must be kept in tune if it is to perform well, and last over time. With a foundation in Western, Ayurvedic, and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine, I am interested in using herbs to support ourselves, in a field that is known for low pay, burn-out and stress. So many performers are highly-sensitive individuals, working with heightened emotions, and I have found that herbal medicine offers gentle, safe & effective remedies for just about every ailment or stressor we encounter in our work. As a leader, I encourage practices within the field that nourish the individual artist, for healthy longevity.)

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Recent: in March 2019, I performed in “Brooklyn Bridge” by Melissa James Gibson, directed by M. Graham Smith with Dana Nelson-Isaacs, at the Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, CA, Susan Evans, Artistic Director. It was such a fabulous experience! I’ve loved Gibson’s writing, since I first read her scripts in American Theatre magazine, years ago. Graham is an incredibly astute director who built a loving ensemble cast. Susan runs a vibrant theatre company, offering a whole range of classes, readings and full productions. https://www.townhalltheatre.com/brooklyn-bridge

Upcoming: I’m currently collaborating as a performer with Jubilith Moore, on a new-play development project. She has commissioned three playwrights (Erik Ehn, Ryan Hill, Katie Pearl) to write a trilogy, about three generations of women in a family. Using the stylistic techniques of classical Noh drama, and exploring durational theatre, Jubilith is creating a story of a contemporary American family and their private tragedies. Current working title: The Stations Project. Scheduled for performance: spring/summer 2020.

Upcoming: I’m currently co-producing the Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival, which will take place across all nine Bay Area counties, in March/April/May 2020. Scheduled to coincide with SWAN Day, Women’s History Month, 50/50 in 2020, and the Jubilee, this festival will include female-written, female-directed full-length productions at theatres across the region; a 24-hour Occupy the Stage festival of solo work, one-acts, stand-up, improv, works-in-progress, etc.; as well as workshops, panel discussions, and of course, parties! https://bayareawomenstheatrefestival.com

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentee or mentor for the next class in the Bay Area at www.stateraarts.org/bay-area-mentorship.
And if you have questions, please visit
Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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 Mentorship: Meet the South Texas Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in the larger Houston Area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the South Texas Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

South Texas Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: www.stateraarts.org/south-texas-mentorship
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

South Texas Regional Coordinators (left to right): Amariee Collins-Lawrence, Christine Arranz Jugueta, Mara McGhee, and Julie Ann Arbiter.

South Texas Regional Coordinators (left to right): Amariee Collins-Lawrence, Christine Arranz Jugueta, Mara McGhee, and Julie Ann Arbiter.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Christine Arranz Jugueta: The business can often be so touch and go, especially in the theatre, when most gigs only last a few months. There is a need to engage in deeper conversations about the field, to pass on and gain knowledge about navigating the course, to continue to have/hold guidance around work that can be very inconsistent and to develop a wider view on all that is necessary for success.  It is important that women help give each other strength, provide empowering support in following their dreams, explore possibilities and inspire one another to cultivate wisdom.

Mara McGhee: I wish that I had a mentor who could connect me with the right people and show me where I could find the right opportunities. Now that I'm older and have lived in the theatre world for a while, I know the ropes a little bit better. I had no idea what I didn't know when I was fresh out of college.

Amariee Collins-Lawrence: Good pairing is the most important.

Julie Ann Arbiter: Willingness to listen. 


STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Julie Ann:  I'm a Production Manager by way of Stage Management. After a particularly nasty breakup here in Houston, I gave myself some time and then moved to New York because, as I told my mom, I'd always wonder if I didn't try. I spent 5 years in New York. I started freelance stage managing but quickly aligned myself with The Public Theater and rose from an over-hire Production Assistant to an over-hire Assistant Production Manager to a full time Assistant Production Manager to an Associate Production Manager and finally, to a full blown Production Manager! My work covered all manner of things. I did readings and workshops, festivals, events, Shakespeare in the Park, new works, and musicals (most notably, Hamilton). I spent the most time working on my favorite program, The Mobile Unit. This program tours 90-minute versions of Shakespeare plays to all the boroughs of New York to perform in community centers, libraries, shelters, and secure facilities. I did 8 tours in New York City and the maiden voyage of Mobile National's production of Sweat. I learned so much and worked with inspiring people doing work that felt deeply important and urgent - making art accessible to everyone, no matter their circumstance. Not surprisingly, this sparked a deeper understanding and interest into anti-racism work.

Mara: I have been doing theatre on various levels of professionalism since I graduated college. I enjoy all aspects of theatre, and have experience in all forms. I have done both musical and non-musical theatre, improvised and rehearsed theatre, in front of and behind the curtain, for adults and children, and every combination therein. 

Amariee: I started at 5yo in children's theater and did theater until the 8th grade. In middle school, we traveled to other schools putting on performances. Currently, I just act with church plays and mime. 

Christine: I'm an actor, writer, singer, songwriter, director, music arranger/producer.  These days I am most interested in experimental and devised work, non-traditional casting and mixing genres.  I'm also in the midst of artist development as a singer/songwriter/producer and am experimenting with a fusion sound around jazz, folk, blues, world and sacred music.   


STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Houston area arts scene?

Mara: I'm getting my feet wet again after tepidly dipping my toes in the scene for the past 3 years. I work in theatre education, and enjoy performing. My first connection was through Comedy Sportz Houston. I did Sportz up in Milwaukee when I lived there, and it was wonderful to find out that they had a chapter down here. I then did the Alliance auditions and introduced myself to several theatre companies. I found work and started meeting people. From then, I've auditioned for several other companies and have been slowly wading back into the scene. 

The South Texas Regional Coordinators at a recent meet-up in Houston.

The South Texas Regional Coordinators at a recent meet-up in Houston.

Amariee: I attend many plays and events. 

Christine: I've been visiting Houston on/off since I was about 5 years old.  Many of my relatives on my father's side of the family have settled in the Houston area.  I moved here for my longest stretch in December 2017 and have been exploring the theatre/arts scene slowly.  I've made connections in the visual arts, dance, music and theatre scenes and am enjoying learning more about this diverse and thriving community.

Julie Ann: I've been, in some way, part of the Houston arts scene my whole life! I took classes at HITS Theatre and was fortunate enough to attend the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts here. It was there that I was exposed to technical theater and really wrapped my mind around what those jobs entailed. When I was asked to Stage Manage, things fell into place for me. The job used all my organizational and "mom" skills (caring for people, being prepared, etc.) and I was intrigued! I went to college at the University of Evansville in Southern Indiana where I got a degree in Stage Management. After graduating, I came back to Houston to get my sea legs as an adult. I freelanced around town as well as juggling a few day jobs to make ends meet. The work was hard but rewarding and I met a lot of really wonderful people. During the 5 years I spent in New York, I met my awesome husband, got married, and got tired of the city. As exciting as the city was, it was also exhausting and we missed our family. So we started looking for jobs. It felt like a sign when the Associate Production Management position became available at The Alley Theatre, where I'd spent a little time before moving to the city. I've only been back at The Alley for about 4 months but it feels like home! The staff is amazing, we're building community, and it feels like we can make some real change. I'm also thrilled to spend more time with family, including my new niece! 

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Julie Ann: I'm a person that thrives with feedback, particularly tangible feedback. I have this very vivid memory of getting assigned my first mainstage show at The Public and being nervous to lead a room of older, more experienced, Broadway-veteran men. I set up a meeting with Stephanie Ybarra, who was then the Director of Special Artistic Projects at The Public and oversaw the Mobile Unit program (she is now the Artistic Director at Baltimore Center Stage).  We talked about many things and put together strategies, but the take-away that sticks with me most is this - She said that when she felt like I was feeling she did everything she could to feel powerful. She would put on her favorite boots, bright red lipstick, and hoops and walk into that conference room full of confidence. Sometimes the outside gesture can trick them and us. 

Amariee: Meeting with my mentor and understanding what we both needed to make things work. 

Christine: A woman named Letecia Layson has been mentoring me for a few years as I have been seeking ways to teach about spirituality in the theatre.  It has been very amazing to learn about her viewpoints on leadership, her experiences of theatre as it relates to ritual and spirituality and to experience her amazing energy.  She has challenged me, provided loving support and imparted very precious knowledge.    

Mara: I remember my high school theatre teacher chasing me down to work on monologues. As an air-headed teen, it wasn't a priority to me, but he knew that if I wanted to be a theatre artist, I had to jump this hurdle. 


STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Amariee: Through Christine! 

Christine: I have been involved with Statera in various capacities since it first started in Utah in 2015.  I have long been interested in Mentorship and was very excited about this new program, which I learned about at StateraCon in 2018.  Since I am so new to the arts scene in Houston and South Texas, I thought it would be great to get to know the community through this program.  I reached out to Minita and Erika and founded the South Texas Chapter, which I'm very proud of (especially because our team is SO RAD!!).

Julie Ann: The amazing Props Master at The Alley, Karin Rabe, connected me to Christine and I fell in love with the idea of reconnecting to the Houston Arts community in this way. 

Mara: The fantastic women at the Alley Theatre introduced me to this organization. 


STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Amariee: I am an action leader. Solving problems and finding solutions or navigating to achieve results. 

Julie Ann: I think my leadership style is a balance of building relationships and managing expectations. The first part is getting to know someone and approaching them with unconditional positive regard. Being a human can be so hard. We're all doing our best. The second part is about getting the parameters out on the table so you know what you're working around. We can't do everything but we can do a lot! For example, I'm a big believer in setting up meeting agreements. The one I always include is being respectful to people's time - I'm going to start and end my meetings on time because we've all got lots to do and it's important to me to be able to understand the layout of my day. 

Mara: I try to remember that people don't know what they don't know, and that patience will make everyone's job easier. There's no point getting upset when someone asks a question, or when they make an error. It's all a learning process, and we are all trying to figure it out together. 

Christine: I feel very drawn to leadership. I incorporate extensive administrative and teaching experience and enjoy investigating the broad view.  I like to create strategies and put a strong focus on building a solid team.  I find that holding humor is important and am learning how to cultivate spaces where everyone's gifts can be highlighted, developed and explored.  I care about supporting women in the arts especially in parts of the country that are not typically known to be progressive. I want to develop my leadership by learning how to live in a culture that has lots of bold and opposing belief systems swirling around and think that Statera Mentorship South Texas is a great way to do that.   


STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Christine: Right now, I am in the second phase of developing my solo play,  THE RED THREAD. I will be doing a workshop performance of the piece in the SF Bay Area in the fall.  I am always ever developing music and various workshops and am hoping to hold a concert and launch a new workshop in the fall or winter.  I'm also revamping my website and would love to collect testimonials on my work.  I would be most most grateful if anyone from StateraConIII in Milwaukee could send a testimonial over to my email:  wearetheredthread@gmail.com.  And, of course, folks can stay updated through my website (which has some new demos posted):  https://www.christinejugueta.com/    

Mara: I'm doing Catastrophic's show called Speeding Motorcycle. We open June 27! Check out my website www.MaraMcGhee.org.

Julie Ann: This is a long way off but I'm really excited for Amerikin at The Alley next season. Chisa Hutchinson wrote this powerful script that was part of this season's Alley All New play festival (headed up by Liz Frankel); I'm so pleased that it's going to be part of our full season. It's an exciting script that touches on current race relations, postpartum depression, community, parent-child relationships, and our personal values. I'm also pumped to see Mara in this summer's production of Speeding Motorcycle at Catastrophic Theater


Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentor or mentee in South Texas at www.stateraarts.org/south-texas-mentorship. And if you have questions, please visit Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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 Mentorship: Meet the NYC Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in New York City and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the NYC Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

New York City Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: stateraarts.org/new-york-mentorship
Instagram: @stateraarts_nyc
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

New York City Regional Coordinators (left to right) Meridith C. Grundei, Sayantee Sahoo, Mara Jill Herman, Alex Marrs, and Rachel Spencer Hewitt.

New York City Regional Coordinators (left to right) Meridith C. Grundei, Sayantee Sahoo, Mara Jill Herman, Alex Marrs, and Rachel Spencer Hewitt.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Meridith C. Grundei: I see a need for empowerment and community. Choosing a career in the arts can be daunting and surprisingly lonely at times. It is always wonderful to have a cheerleader in your corner to remind you that you are never alone!

Sayantee Sahoo: The need to navigate through troublesome and confusing relationship parameters that exist not just within our industry, in our own working relationships, but also in the way our industry is viewed by our patrons. 

Rachel Spencer Hewitt: Trust and community. We can't underestimate the healing power of someone taking even thirty minutes at coffee with us, even just to say yes to the thoughts we have about power and progress. When we give that out to others, it's just as powerful. I think everyone should feel ready to join this program even just in bringing themselves to the table.

Mara Jill Herman: The single most important need to impart to future mentees is to carve out a life they enjoy every single day.

Alex Marrs: Reciprocity. I think that mentors and mentees are on equal footing and that there are opportunities for personal and professional growth on either side of the mentorship. Just like in any relationship, it’s essential to give just as much as you take. 

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Alex: I’m an event producer and values-based fundraiser at Primary Stages, a nonprofit Off-Broadway theater company. 

Mara: I am an actor, singer, writer, teaching artist, private coach, and recently added producer/director.

Sayantee: Currently, I am a Production Manager at an awesome youth theater organization, The 52nd St. Project, located in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York city. Look us up of Facebook, Instagram, and our website. I manage our beautiful theater, the Five Angels Theater and support all the in-house programs on various technical production aspects. I am looking to restart my work as a performance creator, and working on putting together the preliminary ideas based on 'letters send from love ones from afar'. I am fierce supporter of Safety and Health, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in our industry. And I would love to spearhead a practice-based technical internship program sometime in the near future. 

Meridith: I am a hyphenate for sure. I am an actor, director, and educator. For the past 2 years I have been a guest director and teacher at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. for their MFA in Contemporary Performance program. This past fall, I directed and conceived a show called Bite-Size, An Evening of Micro-Theatre for Off-Center at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I also have an extensive improv background where I have taught for The Second City in Chicago, Il and through my own business called, Red Ball Speaks where I have taught numerous workshops all over the world using improv as a tool for presence and team building. At present, I am acting in a workshop in residence at HB Studios, teaching at The PIT and continuing development on a project I started called, The Father Project.

Rachel: I'm a trained actor and still pursuing work that is challenging, elevated, and provides paychecks that can also pay for my childcare. MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, which was one of the greatest artistic experiences of my life. I still learn from moments in my memory that just now make sense in light of experience and progress. Worked all over the country in regional theatre, have worked off-Broadway and on Broadway, and even did my first professional contract at the English Theatre in Vienna. In all of this I've learned - good gravy - I love a live, breathing house.

STATERA: Rachel, can you talk a little about your work with PAAL?

Rachel: Sure! I founded Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL), a national organization to organize, network, and create opportunities for artist caregivers that prioritize their need and turn their lifestyle into assets for our work. Our role with PAAL is to provide support for individuals and institutions as bridge-builders so that access for caregivers becomes common practice and not luck of the draw. We aim to elevate the national standard of support for caregivers in the arts. We are thrilled to partner with Statera so that our distinct conversations can serve to inform the theatre community of their interconnected nature - parity and caregiving go hand in hand, so does PAAL and Statera.

STATERA: Can you all share about your journey to the NYC arts scene?

Mara: As a native New Yorker–born on the Upper West Side and primarily raised on Long Island– New York City has always been accessible. My parents and grandparents were fans and supporters of performing arts in New York and I was introduced at a young age to its breathtaking cultural institutions like museums, ballet, and Broadway. Even when I went away for college, I knew I would move back to New York to build my career. I do wonder what my life would be like if I was from the Midwest or Los Angeles. Would I still hold this preference to make my ultimate work decisions based on living in the Big Apple? Probably!

Sayantee: I am from India, a alumni of the National School of Drama in Direction and Design for theater. I travelled to the United States in 2015 to start my MFA in Technical Design and Production at the Yale School of Drama. Thanks to theater, I have been travelling around India, China and United States over the past decade. I started off as a props artist and painter for my ensemble theater group in Kolkata, India, named Uhinee and then slowly picked up myriad skills. Production is where I want to be right now, and I am super excited to have found a home at The 52nd St. Project. 

Alex: My career in development actually began in higher education at Christopher Newport University. My first job after graduating was raising money for my alma mater’s music, theater, and dance programs along with its performing and visual arts centers. After working at the University level on Long Island, I desired to be more involved with the creation of new work. Primary Stages was the perfect fit. What I love about the company is that the playwright is at the center of the production process. We are also a very collaborative team that surpasses departmental silos and hierarchical structures. 

Meridith: Ha! I just got here and my journey is a beautiful but complicated one. Let’s just say that NYC provides all of the cultural needs for our unique family. The journey started in Colorado where my husband (the theater composer) and I were both flourishing in the Boulder/Denver theater scene. We were happy but we were also searching for growth in a way that Colorado was unable to provide for our daughter and us. So, as you do, we decided to buy an RV and travel the US and Mexico for a year. During our time on the road, we did a lot of soul searching about what was important to us, which lead us here to New York City.

 So far, I have had some lovely successes in my short time in the city but in all honesty, I have never been so confronted by ageism in the arts until I moved here. I have been told several times by reputable industry people to not share things like that I graduated from graduate school 10 years ago or that I have a 7 year old. I was told it reveals my age and that this can hurt my chances for landing certain jobs. One thing I have learned in my “old age” is that everyone in this business has an opinion and you get to choose which ones to block out (insert winking emoticon).

Rachel: I've lived on-the-job in Austria, California, DC, Philadelphia, and New York - all while living in NYC, technically. I have lived in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia off and on, depending on the ebb and flow of work assignments. Essentially, New York has always been the hub for my artistic pursuits, and even now it's the location where I want to cultivate stronger and stronger artistic roots. I first moved to NYC after grad school, and it's always felt like the pace of work that matched my internal pace for work the best.

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Sayantee: I mentored a kid with Asperger's Syndrome when I was working as the Technical Director of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, in Alaska last summer. As the camp TD, I had to teach a class on Live production to middle school and high school kids. This particular young man was in the high school camp. His classmates considered him 'problematic' when we first started the program, but at the end of the 10 days of camp, I saw him find friends from his classmates in the Production class. They developed a common language to communicate, so that they could work together as the crew on the camp's programs. It was wonderful to see all of them taking up the challenge to make the workplace more inclusive for this friend of theirs, and journey beyond their personal troubles to find the safe, and welcoming, common ground.

Rachel: In graduate school, I had a couple of professors who would engage with me as a mentor by speaking not only to the question I would bring them, but also somehow into the path I could not see as clearly before me - the long term potential of why I asked certain questions. There is a peace that a good mentor gives just by seeing you - not for who you've made yourself to be in order to survive civilized society - but for who you are designed to be. My greatest mentors spoke not just to me but to my potential, at every opportunity, and I always left the conversation feeling equipped, feeling capable, and feeling seen.

Mara: My college mentor Forrest McClendon helped to shape my life. Part vocal technician/ acting coach/ therapist, Forrest has an unmatched energy and zest for life. He helped me to dig deep into the emotional well while investigating text and also encouraged and fostered a drive to believe in myself.  My voice lessons became intense workouts both physically and emotionally in order to achieve musical breakthroughs.

Forrest taught the Business of Theater course, which offered smart and practical advice about show business. He emphasized the importance of cultivating relationships with writers so that when they’re developing a piece, and they think of you in the mix, you get to go along for the journey: from a friend’s informal table read, to workshops and demos, to rehearsals and all the way to opening night of the first production.

Alex: I feel so very fortunate to have had a number of mentors early in my career... the late Dr. Stephanie Bardwell’s encouragement helped me gain the confidence I needed to leave my University safety net and stand out on my own. 

Meridith: I have definitely had several mentors throughout my career but the most memorable one is Ethie Friend. Ethie was my Roy Hart teacher in graduate school and in my last semester, I was in the process of getting a divorce and a total mess. Her calmness and ability to notice where I was and to work from that place was incredible. After all of these years she has continued to be supportive of my career and I consider her apart of my extended family.

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Alex: The incredible Kimberly Senior introduced me and encouraged me to get involved. 

Meridith: The lovely Shelly Gaza reached out to me in 2016 to submit a proposal to speak at the Statera Conference in Denver, so I did! My break out session was titled, How to Not Go Fucking Crazy and the Subtle Art of Presence. Or something like that?

Sayantee: Through a fabulous friend and peer. 

Mara: In 2005, I worked with Melinda Pfundstein Vaughn and Shelly Gaza at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. At 19, I looked up to them and was in awe of their talent and accomplishments. When the Statera announcement made front page news of the Equity Newsletter, I felt proud to know them. We reconnected in 2016, when I piloted the first mentorship program.

Rachel: PAAL and Statera's partnership hopes to integrate caregivers into better mentor relationships as well as strengthen and empower the access points of the mentorship program. I'm honored to come on board in NYC both as an advocate for anyone who needs and also as a mentor who can provide any insight or resources possible. PAAL has been growing side by side with Statera, and when our teams joined forces, I knew I wanted to engage personally with the beautiful NYC mentorship program.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Rachel: I've been a mother for about half a decade, but have been researching and advocating for individuals and into institutions for three of those years. I am committed to holding space for every caregiver need I come across and engaged with multiple action plans at the ready for any one person who needs an extra support for all the cares they carry. I'm also here as a woman, an artist, and advocate for making space that creates access for ALL of us - no matter what pathway we take on the way in.

Alex: My style is lead by example. I was drawn to this opportunity because I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the hands and shoulders of women+ before me and it’s my responsibility to pay it forward. 

Sayantee: I am not a micro-manager, I believe in my peers and try to challenge them to bring out their best at all times. This means, as a manager, I must help them to not just gain confidence but also trust their own decision making abilities. While at all times, helping them get better at what they do, in the best way I can. 

Mara: Patience and empathy have been themes throughout my career. I like to delegate responsibility and surround myself with powerhouse people who are experts at what they do. One friend lovingly called me “the mayor” because I am a connector and build community. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than recommending friends for projects or making artistic introductions.

Meridith: I am a collaborator. I have tried doing work solo and I suck at it. I love bodies in the room and I love bringing great people together. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a fucking kickass group of badasses in a room creating magic. When I attended the Statera Conference in Milwaukee this past October and attended the mentorship meeting, I jumped on the opportunity to start a chapter in NYC. For me, it was an opportunity to meet some dynamic people, which I have and to also be a mentor and mentee in a new city.

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Alex: Primary Stages is producing an exquisite adaptation of Little Women by the incomparable Kate Hamill at the Cherry Lane Theatre from May 15- June 29. Sarna Lapine is directing. Deborah Abramson wrote original music. The play stars Kristolyn Lloyd as Jo, Paola Sanchez Abreu as Beth, Kate Hamill as Meg, and Carmen Zilles as Amy. Tickets at Primary Stages.org.

Sayantee: Nothing yet. But I will let you know when my "LETTERS" are ready to be read. 

Rachel: The PAAL chapter in Philadelphia is raising childcare funds for the Barrymore Awards nominators and adjudicators so that they can see a wide array of theatre while relieving some of the financial burden of caregiving. We're really excited for this campaign HERE - it's groundbreaking. Also, I'm going to be facilitating a LAB at the TCG conference on June 5 in Miami on replicable solutions for caregiving in institutions, Speaking at the Women's Theatre Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 13, leading a session at Latinx Theatre Commonson caregiving and community on July 14, and we're partnering in NYC on a parent-access project, hosting the first PAAL Summit in NYC this fall/winter, and leading a session at the StateraArts Conference this fall in NYC! Bringing it all back home to the big apple and thrilled to be doing it.

Meridith: I am excited to finally start working on a project that I have shelved for a while called The Father Project. It is inspired by the life of my father and the interviews of children who’s parents were veterans of war. Starting in July I will be working with a few collaborators to bring these stories to life. I will be applying for a few residency programs but if there is a reader out there who would like to help me with a connection for space and mentorship—- I am all ears!

Mara: Yes! Musical Theater Today 2019, Volume 3 is now on sale! The anthology features over 40 industry professionals’ contributions, tips, and an inside look at their creative process. It includes my story about producing Stronger Than Hate: A Benefit for Tree of Life Synagogue. For more details, and to order: https://musicaltheatertoday.com.

Also! I perform with America’s Sweethearts, a vintage trio in the style of the Andrews Sisters. Our next appearance is on May 18th at 7pm, The Green Room 42. For everything else, you can follow me @marajillherman

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship.
Sign up for Statera Mentorship: NYC Chapter at
www.stateraarts.org/new-york-mentorship.
And if you have questions, please visit
Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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 Mentorship: Meet the Ithaca Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in the Ithaca, NY Area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Ithaca Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Ithaca Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: stateraarts.org/ithaca-mentorship
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Ithaca Regional Coordinators (left to right) Kathleen Mulligan, Lucia Veccio, and Erica Steinhagen.

Ithaca Regional Coordinators (left to right) Kathleen Mulligan, Lucia Veccio, and Erica Steinhagen.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Kathleen Mulligan: There’s no one way to have a life in the arts- and I think that can make pursuing a life in the arts a rather lonely endeavor. It’s hard to put yourself out there- to put your HEART out there day after day- and know that so often that heart is going to be rejected. I’m certainly not going to say I’ve got this all figured out- but I know I had some incredibly generous mentors as I embarked on this life who made a real difference for me. They made me feel supported and SEEN- and if I can help other women feel that- well, that’s why I am doing it.

Lucia Vecchio: I believe that being in the arts, especially being a femme-identifying person in the arts, is a life path that can dig at your sense of self and your sense of community in a way that is often hard to stomach. Although it can be an endlessly fulfilling life journey it is not one that can be taken alone. There have been so many cross-roads in my artistic journey where having someone to lean on as I figured out to handle this world changed my life. In particular, having a woman to look up to and rely on as a support system as you dive headfirst into deep, uncertain waters can make all the difference. I want to be that for other women. 

Erica Steinhagen: I think there are so many valuable aspects to that relationship. The need to bounce around ideas, someone to inspire ideas to become fully realized projects, someone to be a support and ally… Perhaps someone to create some accountability for goal-setting and fulfillment.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Kathleen: I’ve been acting professionally for thirty five years (with a little break in there for grad school), but about twenty five years ago I started teaching alongside acting, and mentoring young, emerging artists has become a strong part of my own artistic identity. I guess I’d have to say (and there’s some insecurity here about the rather cruel adage “Those who can’t do—teach” ) that I am now probably a teacher first. But I still strongly identify as an actress, as well, and I’ve added producing theatre to my passion—specifically international devised collaborations.

Lucia: I started my journey as a professional artist twelve years ago and truly never looked back. I had the opportunity growing up to take classes and perform in my hometown and began to work at a professional regional theatre in 2011 that became my artistic home and has been ever since. I identify strongly as an actor and am incredibly passionate about my work as a dancer and a vocalist. I began to venture into commercial and television/film work, growing up so close to Los Angeles, and have been able to work on some exciting projects in that genre as well. 

Erica: I am an actor and a voice teacher. I have created and performed one-woman cabarets, sung in operas, performed in countless plays and musicals and have been lucky enough to be a part of developing new work and been in world premiere casts more than a dozen times. I have a private voice studio with more than 20 wonderfully passionate students at any given time. One of the most important things I do is use theatre as a tool for social justice in my work with other amazing theatre makers in Ithaca doing anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion workshops and plays. 

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Ithaca arts scene?

Erica: I studied to be an opera singer, and moved to NYC after graduating from Ithaca College's renowned music program to pursue that career. Once I decided to move back to Ithaca to go to grad school, however, I realized I had really dreamed of being a musical and straight theatre actor and began working regularly as such! I feel really lucky to be doing what truly I wanted to do, but was maybe too afraid to pursue in undergrad. The theatre world in Ithaca is extremely rich and varied, and I’ve been able to grow and learn so much from so many talented and passionate mentors here.

Lucia: Right in the middle of my frantic college hunt in my third year of high school was the first time I had ever heard of the Ithaca area, particularly Ithaca College. Suddenly, as though the universe had been listening, I started to hear about IC, particularly the Theatre Department, every day from different people in my life who had some odd connection to the town or the school. After some time in that college search I decided that Ithaca would be the right fit for me. I’m happy to say I was right. Coming here was a big change from my life on the West Coast but I have gotten to meet some of the most incredible artists and be a part of a vibrant community that I never expected to find so quickly. I had the pleasure of working with The Cherry Arts during my second year of undergrad and the best gift of all was meeting Erica Steinhagen there.

Kathleen: It’s a rather surprising story for me. I first came to Ithaca twenty five years ago as a Resident Artist as Cornell University. At that time, Cornell would bring several equity actors up to Ithaca for a year at a time to teach Acting 1 classes and perform in productions alongside their students. I ended up doing that for three years, met my husband at Cornell, and discovered my passion for teaching voice. When we left in 1995, I never imagined coming back. But twelve years later, a job came up, and I found myself back in Ithaca. It’s been hard for me here in Ithaca, to be honest. I feel as if I have a lot to offer as an actress, but the local theatre scene has proved to be very difficult for me to get a foothold in. Of course, I moved here just as I was hitting an age that is challenging for actresses (I moved here in my late 40’s) and that didn't help. I hope that our Statera chapter might offer support and community for women artists moving to Ithaca in the future.

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Lucia: There is a woman in my life named Deborah Gilmour Smyth. I met her for the first time in 2012 and I could never imagine having a more intelligent, kind-hearted, astronomically talented, strong, loving woman to look up to. She, as an artistic director in San Diego, took a chance on me and provided a theatrical space where I could thrive and develop my ethic and love for the work. To me, she is family, and not only an artistic mentor, but a life mentor. I would not be half of the artist I am today without her guidance and faith. 

Kathleen: A former student of mine, a young woman named Sarah Morrisette (Hebert-Johnson) had recently studied with Augosto Boal’s theatre in Brazil when I got a grant to create an original piece of theatre in Islamabad, Pakistan focused on personal stories about the Partition of 1947. I invited Sarah to join the project, and she and I traveled to Islamabad in 2015 to work with the Theatre Wallay company there. We worked with the company to create original monologues based on interviews with Partition survivors, and Sarah worked with the actors to create workshops for college students based on the Theatre of the Oppressed techniques she’d studied in Brazil. Sarah ended up working with us through the life of the year-long project, and her participation helped to make it the most rewarding artistic experience of my life.

Erica: In my earliest professional acting days, working under the guidance of brilliant directors like Wendy Dann, Susannah Berryman, and Rachel Lampert to name a few, I managed to absorb from them what probably amounted to a full masters degree in acting from their mentorship and patience!

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Kathleen: The Statera team invited me to speak about my project “Voices of Partition” at the first Statera conference in Cedar City, Utah. I’ve been passionately committed to the mission of Statera ever since.

Lucia: I am so lucky to have already made connections with artists in Ithaca that I admire and default to for my big questions and challenges. Two of those women are Kathleen Mulligan and Erica Steinhagen. They are people who I feel really “see” me and my artistry and have introduced me and invited me to join them in leading the Ithaca branch of Statera.

Erica: My friend, colleague, and co-coordinator Kathleen Mulligan approached me about it, and after a couple years of witnessing and hearing of her experiences at conferences, and the I was honored to become a part of it!

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Erica: I think I’m the big sister. I like to be the loving push towards strategizing and meeting goals. With my students I am so glad that I am someone they can trust and come to as a sounding board in addition to being their teacher. Mentorship is something I do every single day, and it brings me so much joy to work in this capacity with my students, creating a safe space for them to explore and learn. I love so much seeing the successes of that work. 

Kathleen: Ithaca has a lot of artists—and a large number of women artists. But we’re all kind of existing in our own silos. In theatre (the group of artists I know best) there’s a lot of people vying for a very limited number of opportunities (with some of the choice ones going to people from NYC, etc.) We’re not a big city—and the community can only support so many theatres. I’d guess that it’s the same in music, dance, visual arts, etc. I know some really astonishing women artists in this town (one is Erica, my partner on this Statera initiative)- and I’d love to get us out of our silos and joining together to support each other and lift each other up.

Lucia: I feel so strongly that now, more than ever, is the time to lift up women in our arts community. We need these voices and these stories RIGHT NOW and I believe that Ithaca is a place where big steps can be made in changing the way women are seen in arts environments. As someone with dual passion in activism and the arts I am so grateful to now have a space to put that energy into action. I feel that this work in the Ithaca community will allow for change and growth here, I believe that this kind of change will branch out to other communities and be a spark for big growth in our national arts mentality.  

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Lucia: I’m incredibly excited to say that I have been asked to be a part of Ithaca Shakespeare Company’s 2019 summer season and will be performing in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in July 2019 here in Ithaca. I have never worked on genuine summer stock theatre in rep before and I am so looking forward to that upcoming work. 

Erica: I am so proud to be a founding member of the Cherry Arts Collective, and we are soon to announce our upcoming season at our Cherry Blossom Gala on June 2! thecherry.org. I will be playing a dream role this summer as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods at the Hangar Theatre June 28-July 13. hangartheatre.org.

Kathleen: I’ve been invited to perform the one woman show The Belle of Amherst in Beirut, Lebanon this coming October. So, my summer is going to be about getting that learned and produced! I’ll also be serving as a mentor in an official capacity for a rather astonishing student of mine at Ithaca College named Erin Lockett. Erin received a very competitive summer research grant from the college to create a one woman show based on the life of Lorraine Hansberry. So, my student and I will be working on parallel projects—both one woman shows- and both about women who were artistic revolutionaries!

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship.
Sign up for Statera Mentorship: Ithaca Chapter at
www.stateraarts.org/ithaca-mentorship.
And if you have questions, please visit
Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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. 

StateraArts to be Featured at Andromeda's Sisters Gathering

Featured speakers at Andromeda’s Sisters: (from left to right) Cathrine Curtin (Orange is the New Black), Sarah Greenman (StateraArts), Roberta Kaplan (renowned litigator), Amy Spitalnick (ED at Integrity First for America), and Ellen Dolan (As the World Turns).

Featured speakers at Andromeda’s Sisters: (from left to right) Cathrine Curtin (Orange is the New Black), Sarah Greenman (StateraArts), Roberta Kaplan (renowned litigator), Amy Spitalnick (ED at Integrity First for America), and Ellen Dolan (As the World Turns).

In keeping with their mission of raising visibility for women's issues, The Neo-Political Cowgirls (NPC) theatre collective is hosting their annual Andromeda’s Sisters Gala, June 14-23, at East Hampton's Guild Hall. NPC has invited StateraArts’ Operations Director, Sarah Greenman, to lead a workshop and panel on the final day of the gathering. Andromeda’s Sisters is a three-day gathering of advocacy, networking, play readings, and arts.

NPC Artistic Director Kate Mueth says, “We’re so excited to have StateraArts join us this year! We at NPC thrive on this energy of assisting and making connections. We see how imperative the intersection of arts and advocacy is in serving our communities, families and the industrious talents of women.”

In addition to her work as Statera’s Operations Director, Sarah Greenman is a playwright, painter, and educator. Sarah is joining an exciting line-up of activists working in various ways for social justice. Other speakers include nationally recognized litigator and co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, Roberta Kaplan and film and television actor Catherine Curtin, best known for her role as correctional officer Wanda Bell on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

Interested in attending Sarah Greenman’s workshop and interview on Sunday, June 23? Get your tickets HERE. Learn more about Andromeda’s Sisters HERE.

So Many Reasons to Become a Statera Member

Your annual Statera Membership gives you a wealth of benefits and opportunities to support your creative practice, build a base of collaborators, and connect to a dynamic and socially engaged community of artists and arts leaders. As part of the StateraArts community, you’ll also help transform the lives of others while receiving the benefits of StateraArts programs and opportunities.

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Pictured above: Yasmin Ruvalcaba Saludado. Below left: Yusef Seevers and Amy Smith. Below right: Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway. (Photos of Statera Conference in Milwaukee by Malloree Delayne Hill)

Become a member by choosing a yearly subscription below. General Membership is only $50 annually and Student Membership is only $35 annually. Statera’s Membership program is open to everyone: 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.


MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS:

Networking

  • Membership includes a listing in the online member directory (forthcoming)

  • Meet and cultivate lasting relationships with professional women in the art and theatre world via Statera events

  • Share news and projects via the Statera Newsletter

  • Affiliation for educators and professionals (You’ll receive a digital file of your Statera Member Logo for your use upon purchase)

Special Access

  • Post and/or apply for jobs on the StateraArts Members page

  • Lifetime Inaugural Membership status

  • Access to StateraArts staff and board members

  • Access to Statera Member coalition-building events and gatherings

Professional Development

  • Attend Statera's webinars, panel discussions, and seminars for members

  • Engage in leadership and mentoring opportunities with your regional Statera Mentorship chapter

Discounts

Service to the Arts Community

  • Your membership is not only a wonderful way to invest in the future of StateraArts, but also a perfect vehicle to enhance positive action in your own communities and circles

Learn more and become a member at www.stateraarts.org/become-member. Do you have questions about Statera Membership? Please email Membership Director Vanessa Ballam at membership@stateraarts.org. Thank you!


*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, religion, 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.

May Adrales Joins Statera's 4th National Conference

Statera Keynote Speaker, May Adrales

Statera Keynote Speaker, May Adrales

Exciting news today! StateraArts is thrilled to announce that nationally recognized director and arts leader May Adrales will be delivering one of the keynote address at Statera's 4th National Conference. The conference, which is to take place at City College of New York in NYC, is scheduled for October 26-27, 2019.

May Adrales, a director, teacher and artistic leader, will be delivering on of the keynote addresses at Statera’s 4th National Conference. May helmed the world premiere of Lortel Award and Obie Award-Winning production VIETGONE at Manhattan Theatre Club/ South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Seattle Rep. She has just been named the Associate Artistic Director of Milwaukee Rep. May served as Director of On Site Programming at the Lark Play Development Center (2008-2010), developing programs to support and nurture over 200 playwrights. She served as an Artistic Associate at The Public Theater (2006-2009), spearheading the Shakespeare Lab, a professional conservatory. May is the recipient of the  TCG Alan Schneider Directing Award; Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s inaugural Denham Fellowship and the Paul Green Emerging Directing award.  She is a recipient of a TCG New Generations grant.  She has been awarded directing fellowships at New York Theater Workshop; Women's Project; SoHo Rep; and The Drama League.  She has directed and taught at NYU, Juilliard, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Fordham University and Bard College. More information about May Adrales HERE.

Tony-winner Joanna Gleason was also announced last month as a keynote speaker for StateraConIV. Interested in attending? General registration is now open through September 30th. And Statera is still accepting breakout session proposals through May 31st. Submit your proposal HERE.

This is an incredible opportunity to meet with theatre professionals from all over the country for two days of networking, deep-dive learning, renewal, experience-sharing, 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.


*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, religion, 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 Mentorship: Meet the Boston Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in the Boston Area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Boston Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Boston Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: Statera Mentorship: Boston Area
Instagram: @StateraArts_Boston
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Boston Regional Coordinators (left to right) Sarah Morrisette, Julie Hennrikus, and Caroline Cronin.

Boston Regional Coordinators (left to right) Sarah Morrisette, Julie Hennrikus, and Caroline Cronin.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Sarah: It’s so easy to feel isolated and alone in this industry. So much energy is spent comparing ourselves to each other through closed doors and amplifying the “us vs. them” syndrome. I believe we have so much to gain from working together instead. From celebrating each other's triumphs and learning from each other’s mistakes. Theatre is the most collaborative art form and we should reflect that in the way we work behind the scenes. I believe that by lifting each other up, we lift up ourselves. Mentorship relationships are a fantastic tool for creating opportunities and amplifying voices.

Julie: I give talks about making a career in the arts, and I often tell folks that this journey isn’t like other career paths that are highways with entrances, exits and rest areas. We’re all on a roller coaster ride. It is thrilling, and makes life more exciting, but the ride is constant, and exhausting. You’re not doing anything wrong if you feel overwhelmed, or if you need to work three jobs to make it all work. Often, too often, folks who have had amazing careers don’t think they should be mentors because they are still juggling. That’s wrong. We can all learn from each other. Folks who have been on the ride for a long time have a lot to offer.

Caroline: There is power in numbers and connectivity. We are all incredibly unique and valuable humans, and I think mentorship is a beautiful way to bring together people (in our case women) who already have so much to give individually, and who will be able to give so much more as a pair and then as a part of a movement.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Julie Hennrikus: I’ve had a really interesting career so far. Like so many others, I wear more than one hat at a time. Recently I created Your Ladders, which is a subscription site for artists to learn business skills, get trainings, and have a supportive community on their artistic journey. I also teach arts management classes as adjunct faculty at different colleges. Finally, I am on my own journey as a published mystery author.

Sarah Morrisette: I am a Boston based actor, educator and collaborator. I’m currently the Education Associate at New Repertory Theatre, the professional theatre in residence at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA and the Resident Theatre Teaching Artist at Hyde Square Task Force, a youth community development organization in Jamaica Plain. These two positions have kept me extremely busy this past year!

Caroline Cronin: I have floated a bit around between London where I went to graduate school, New York City, and now I am back home in Boston pursuing my acting career here.

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Boston arts scene?

Sarah: I was born and raised right outside of Boston, so the city is very much my home. After graduating from Ithaca College in 2013 with my BFA in Acting, I was unsure what I wanted to do next. I had started studying Theatre of the Oppressed and felt a strong connection to social justice theatre. I lived in Mozambique, teaching theatre to youth and co-directing and producing a dance drama about personal stories of HIV/AIDS. I also did an internship at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed (Centro de Teatro do Oprimido) in Rio de Janiero, Brazil and studied the techniques of Augusto Boal from the place it all originated. Since studying in Brazil, I have worked with various international projects, bringing my skills in social justice theatre techniques. These have included collaboration with Kathleen Mulligan, David Studwell and Theatre Wallay in Pakistan working on the Voices of Partition Project and the 4th annual meeting of Theatre of the Oppressed in Tome, Chile. In 2016 my boyfriend and I moved to Jamaica Plain. Boston seemed like the perfect place to dive back into performing and to create community.

Caroline: My journey here has just started! I wasn't very happy living in New York so I decided to come home for a little bit and see if I can break in here. I've been back home for less than a year so the past few months I have been trying to audition, and start making connections with anyone I can.

Julie: I’ve worked in the arts for over thirty years. Early on, I worked in small commercial theaters, as a company manager and a box office manager. I also ran the box office for the Institute of Contemporary Art for their 1990 Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment exhibition. I created what is now the Harvard Box Office. Then I went on to program 19 spaces, including Sanders Theater, as part of the Office for the Arts at Harvard. I moved on to Emerson College, where I was the General Manager and Director of Marketing of Emerson Stage. I also started teaching arts management courses while I was at Emerson. I moved on from there to run StageSource, a service organization for the New England performing arts community. That was an amazing opportunity to understand the needs of the sector on the front line, and to create resources to help. While I was at StageSource, we created the Gender Parity Task Force, the A11Y Initiative (to support Deaf artists and audiences), and the Gender Explosion Initiative (supporting and amplifying trans and non-binary artists). We started the Line Drawn Initiative, addressing sexual harassment in the performing arts community. I still work with the initiative, and am proud of the work that is being done.

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Caroline: This is about to be mine.

Julie: As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to mentor a lot of folks over the years. One of my former students introduced me to their mother by saying “This is Julie. She tells us everything is going to be alright, and then helps us figure it out.” I am very proud to have been part of a number of journeys for folks. I’ve also been mentored, especially in my writing life. When I was writing my second contracted novel I mentioned that I was having trouble getting through the first draft to one of my mentors. She told me that a first draft was always like putting a log through a meat grinder--it never got easier. Then she said, “you’ve got this.” That was reassuring. I try and do the same thing when I’m mentoring folks. Let them know that the path isn’t always easy, provide some advice on how to navigate it, and then support them on their journey.

Sarah: I feel so strongly about the power of women mentorships. Many of my most memorable mentorship experiences stem from one special relationship I have to a former professor of mine, Kathleen Mulligan. Kathleen was my Voice and Speech professor at Ithaca College. During my time at school, we become close when she agreed to privately coach me on some vocal issues I was having. From the start she was an encouraging voice when I felt lost or unseen. After graduating, Kathleen invited me to join her project Voices of Partition, a collaboration with Theatre Wallay, a theatre company based in Islamabad, Pakistan. In January of 2015 we traveled to Islamabad together to conduct the first week of workshops with Theatre Wallay. There were so many moments on this incredible trip that to this day give me the chills. I remember sitting beside her on the flight as we descended into Islamabad. I was both scared of the unknown and felt on top of the world, pushing myself to take risks alongside someone I respected and cared for so much. Kathleen opened doors for me that have completely changed my life. To this day, our relationship is a reminder of the power of female connections.

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Sarah: Perfect transition! Kathleen introduced me to Statera. For many years Kathleen raved about the annual StateraArts Conference and how I “MUST” get myself there. After doing some research I was blown away that an organization like this even existed. I was completely in awe of the work this organization is doing and knew I wanted to be more involved somehow. During the conference, I attended a Statera Mentorship lunch to learn more about the program. By the end of the lunch hour, I was connected with Julie Hennrikus, who is now one of my fellow regional coordinators.

Caroline: A lovely friend of mine from college put me in touch with another lovely friend from college, Sarah, who had already begun working with Julie on the StateraArts Boston chapter. The second I heard about it, I knew I needed to be a part of it.

Julie: Because of the work I’ve done in the area of Gender Parity, Martha Richards reached out and invited me to a convening in Toronto. I met a great group of folks there, and we stayed in touch. She reached out again, and invited me to the Statera Conference last fall.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Julie: I am a good strategic thinker, but can also figure out tasks for folks. I’m also a good communicator, love to learn, and have a positive attitude. When I started teaching at Emerson, I found and fell in love with a new career path. I don’t just love teaching, I love lifting folks up on their path. There’s a part of me that understands folks need to be practical, but there’s a larger part of me that knows the only way we’re all going to get through this is if artists do their work. They’ve, we’ve, been called. The calling doesn’t always make sense. But the path is a joyous one. Not always happy, but joyous. If I can help someone feel better about their journey, and also provided resources and lessons to help them, I’m content with my path.

Sarah: I believe good leadership is based on strong communication, listening and trust. Through my studies of Theatre of the Oppressed and Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I believe that the needs of the community must come from the community itself and a true leader listens to their neighbors and creates systems and practices that reflect their immediate needs. I hope to work alongside fellow women* artists in Boston to create a community that is inclusive, supportive and joyful. Our mentorship chapter will have specific needs that may not be present in other cities. I want to be thoughtful in recognizing our needs and be a strong advocate for women’s* voices in the Boston theatre scene.

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Sarah: Yes! Feel free to check out the websites of both organizations I’m working with right now to learn more. New Repertory Theatre’s Classic Repertory Company will be wrapping up our current season at the end of May but next year we will be touring unique adaptations of Romeo and Juliet and The Scarlet Letter. Do you know a school, community center, library or other venue that would be interested in booking our production? Reach out to sarahmorrisette@newrep.org for more information!

Hyde Square Task Force is an incredible organization for inner city youth that you should know about, if you don’t already. Their mission is “to amplify the power, creativity, and voices of youth, connecting them to Afro-Latin culture and heritage so they can create a diverse, vibrant Latin Quarter and build a just, equitable Boston.” Check out the website this summer for updates about our devised theatre performance - written and performed by HSTF youth!

Julie: When I started Your Ladders, I wanted to create an online business school for artists. I’ve morphed that into a subscription model that provides courses, but also provides a path of learning that will support folks as they navigate their path. The founder rate is $19 a month, and gives folks access to all the classes, an online community, and monthly webinars. I’m really excited about this new model, and would love folks to join me!

Caroline: I am just wrapping up a production of William Shakespeare’s Othello with a company called Seven Stages Shakespeare in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Everyone in the New England MUST put Seven Stages on their radar. They are doing amazing things. 

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship.
And if you have questions, please visit
Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*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, religion, 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. 

The Power of Partnership: StateraArts & PAAL

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StateraArts and Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL) announce their national partnership with the goal to create complimentary and robust resources, solutions, and programming toward intersectional gender parity and sustainability through collaboration.

Deriving their name from the Latin word for balance, Statera is a national non-profit that takes positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. They accomplish this through innovative programming, which includes dynamic conferences, their free resource directory, their membership network, and their national mentorship program. Statera also does this by working arm-in-arm with other organizations.

PAAL is an all-gender, all-discipline, national organization committed to acting as a resource hub and solutions replicator and generator for individuals and institutions seeking parent and caregiver support in the performing arts. Their programs include local chapter meet-ups, the first national all-discipline PAAL Childcare Grants, the PAAL Awarded national list of Family-Friendly theaters, and their PAAL National Handbook of Best Practices for Supporting Caregivers currently in pilot case studies.

Melinda Pfundstein is the Co-founder and Executive Director of StateraArts. Rachel Spencer Hewitt is the Founder of PAAL. The two first met at a TCG Think Tank on gender equity in 2017. They reconnected at Statera’s National Conference in Milwaukee last October and found that their organizations had grown on parallel paths. Hewitt presented a session at StateraCon with Adriana Gaviria called “Motherhood and Leadership: Initiatives for Upward Mobility” and also authored an article for the Statera Blog about Motherhood Bias. In the early weeks of 2019, Pfundstein and Hewitt met in NYC and hatched a plan for an innovative partnership with the dual purpose of enhancing the impact of their missions and accelerating policy change in the arts industry.

“Statera’s vision is to normalize humane and holistic creative environments where all people can show up as their most authentic, whole selves,” says Pfundstein. “PAAL is taking beautiful, sweeping action to show us a better way for organizations to support their people, and for parents and caregivers to advocate for themselves for such support.”

PAAL and Statera are already partnering through Statera Mentorship chapters in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia to ensure caregivers have access and support to engage in mentorship opportunities and events. Statera always welcomes families, and PAAL is proud to come on board to help put that mission into action. 

PAAL and StateraArts will soon announce the first recipients of the PAAL-Statera Childcare Institution Match Grant that has been given to an organization selected for their commitment to gender inclusion, childcare support, and to professional development for career sustainability. 

Statera and PAAL have planned several points of partnership for the year ahead including:

  • A free Parent Artist Resource Directory shared on both sites

  • Statera Mentorship Chapters collaborating with local PAAL Local Chapter cities and representatives

  • Statera’s 4th National Conference in NYC - full family access and PAAL consultants

  • The PAAL-Statera Childcare Match Grants for institutions

  • Statera and PAAL liaisons to serve each organization internally

  • Various Bridge Projects (to be announced in the months ahead)

"It has always been PAAL's mission to affect change by integrating the caregiver conversation into the landscape of effective action for equity and inclusion,” says Hewitt. “PAAL is an all gender, all discipline, national support organization for individuals and institutions that believes parent and caregiver support must be acknowledged through an intersectional lens. Caregiver responsibilities affect all people - including those without children - and advocating for and implementing supportive policy within the conversation of inclusion will revolutionize the concept of inclusion for everyone. We are thrilled to partner with StateraArts through mentorship programs, grants, and more in order to illustrate the relevance and interconnectedness of our collective points of access. This partnership will, as a result, create more robust opportunities through collaborative programming for individual artists and institutions to grow in sustainability, empathy, and efficacy."

Pfundstein, who is a mother to three children, says, “I am proud that Statera and PAAL have found one another to hone the parent-advocacy aspect of Statera’s work to bring women into full and equal participation in the arts. This is the area closest to my own mother-heart, and I am grateful to PAAL for advocating for me. We are stronger together.”


*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. 

An Actress Prepares: Tiffany Hobbs Talks about Mental Health & Wellness

In this episode of “An Actress Prepares”, Tiffany Denise Hobbs talks about her strategies for maintaining mental health and wellness. 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 being on-set.

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AN ACTRESS PREPARES: MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS

by Tiffany Denise Hobbs

To be an actor means to have a pretty topsy-turvy life as you bounce from audition-to-audition, gig-to-gig and, sometimes, city-to-city. With such a lifestyle, many ups and downs are a given and staying healthy and well mentally can be a task. In this episode, I share some details with you on how I try to stay healthy and well mentally while in the biz. I hope this can serve as helpful for you!

P.S. I mention this resource in the video: The Therapy for Black Girls website is https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/.


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's New Resource Directories for Trans & Non-binary Artists, Parents, and Disability Justice

Thank you to everyone who has been making use of the StateraArts Resource Directory! We can tell from our website analytics that this is a very popular Statera offering! Our directories are free and available to all. They are intended for artists and arts organizations alike. Our hope is that they offer solid information for artists seeking grant and residency opportunities, as well as educational tools for arts organizations, arts activists, and educators to bring to their communities. We're excited to announce that we've added three new directories.

A round table discussion for parent theatre artists at Statera’s National Conference in Denver in 2016. Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill

A round table discussion for parent theatre artists at Statera’s National Conference in Denver in 2016. Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill

PARENT ARTIST RESOURCE DIRECTORY

Statera’s first offering is a Parent Artist Resource Directory that Statera created in partnership with the Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL). Motherhood bias in the workplace is pervasive, casual, and unapologetic. Statera and PAAL are both dedicated to elevating the national standard of support for parent artists and caregivers. This resource list identifies best practices for arts organizations, highlights parent artist grants and family-friendly residencies, features parent artist networks, and also details inclusive resources for expecting parents of all genders.

Visit the Parent Artist Resource Directory >>>

Teresa Thuman, Artistic Director of Sound Theatre Co. in Seattle, WA, discussed her production of  The Rules of Charity  (pictured above) at Statera’s National Conference in 2018. Photo by Ken Holmes.

Teresa Thuman, Artistic Director of Sound Theatre Co. in Seattle, WA, discussed her production of The Rules of Charity (pictured above) at Statera’s National Conference in 2018. Photo by Ken Holmes.

DISABILITY JUSTICE RESOURCE DIRECTORY

Our second offering is a resource list dedicated to Disability Justice in the arts. The term “disability justice” was coined out of conversations between disabled queer women of color activists in 2005, including Patty Berne, Mia Mingus, and Stacy Milbern, seeking to challenge radical and progressive movements to more fully address ableism.

Disability justice recognizes the intersecting legacies of white supremacy, colonial capitalism, gendered oppression and ableism in understanding how people's’ bodies and minds are labelled ‘deviant’, ‘unproductive’, ‘disposable’ and/or ‘invalid’. This resource list features a treasure-trove of articles, books, videos, and guides for arts organizations seeking to get educated about real accessibility. Statera also highlights theaters, art festivals, and arts organizations specifically created by and for artists who experience disability.

Visit the Disability Justice Resource Directory >>>

Kevin Kantor presented a session entitled “Breaking The Binary: Creating & Upholding Spaces for Trans and Non-Binary Theater Makers On Stage & Beyond” at Statera’s National Conference in October 2018. Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill.

Kevin Kantor presented a session entitled “Breaking The Binary: Creating & Upholding Spaces for Trans and Non-Binary Theater Makers On Stage & Beyond” at Statera’s National Conference in October 2018. Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill.

TRANS & NON-BINARY RESOURCE DIRECTORY

Statera’s third offering is a Trans & Non-binary Resource Directory created in collaboration with transgender and non-binary artists. This list features a wide range of resources including national advocacy groups and legal support, educational media for arts organizations seeking to manifest true inclusion in their practices, theaters that feature work by transgender and non-binary artists, artist directories, and articles that deal with casting, hiring practices, and arts activism. We also provide information for trans families seeking support and community.

Visit the Trans & Non-binary Resource Directory >>>

And of course, we also offer the following resource directories:


StateraArts is committed to updating and maintaining this directory for your use. Please share it with your friends, colleagues, students, and organizations. We promise to keep it FREE TO ALL. These directories are living documents and are by no means exhaustive. If you would like to suggest resources to add to this list, please contact us at info@stateraarts.org

SWAN Day 2019 Photo Album & Gratitude

This year marked the 12th Annual SWAN Day and StateraArts was proud to be a part of it all! We were blown away by both your amazing creativity and the diversity of events and artists. Thanks so much to all of you who participated in Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Day this year as artists or audience members. This was the first year that SWAN Day was organized and promoted by StateraArts. We are deeply grateful to those who are carrying on the 12-year tradition of organizing SWAN events in their own communities and we’re thrilled at the amazing number of SWAN events that were new to the calendar this year!

Special thanks to: Jamie Bilgo Bruchman of SWAN Day MKE, Sophie Dowllar of SWAN Day Kenya, Jennifer Hill of SWAN Day CT, Deborah Magdalena of SWAN Day Miami, Charné & Rachel of SWAN Day Chicago, Christine Kellogg of SWAN Day Pensacola, Vanessa Gendron of SWAN Day Prague, Sheila Kalkbrenner of SWAN Days Allegany County, Karin Hendricks of SWAN Day Central Coast, Deborah Gaffney of SWAN Day Houston, Martha Richards of WomenArts, Jan Huttner of FF2 Media, Brenda Foley of The Bridge Initiative, Kristen van Ginhoven of WAM Theatre, Jennie Webb of Los Angeles Women’s Female Playwright Initiative, Avis Boone of Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, the League of Professional Theatre Women, SAG-AFTRA, The Kilroys, and so many others. You inspire us everyday!

For those of you who tuned into our first ever Virtual SWAN Day Party on Facebook, thank you! We loved seeing the videos and photos of your events. Today on the Statera Blog, we’re sharing some of our favorite photos from this year’s festivities. It was difficult to narrow it down because there were so many! We’ve also been sharing photos via Instagram using #SWANDay2019. So check it all out!

Miami, FL

SWAN Day Miami: Spoken Soul Festival (Photo by Angel Valentine)

SWAN Day Miami: Spoken Soul Festival (Photo by Angel Valentine)

Spoken Soul Festival celebrated SWAN Day with their annual three-day spoken word festival. For more information about these phenomenal women and the impact of this incredible flagship event, check out their feature on the Statera Blog. See photos of the entire event HERE.


Nairobi, Kenya

12th Annual SWAN Day Kenya

12th Annual SWAN Day Kenya

SWAN Day Kenya celebrated their 12th year with a day-long festival in Nairobi. This flagship event is a musical concert, complete with poetry /spoken word and artistic displays with a thematic approach to building co-existence and national cohesion. Read more about their incredible event HERE.


Los Angeles, CA

SWAN Day Los Angeles hosted by the LAFPI

SWAN Day Los Angeles hosted by the LAFPI

The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LAFPI) hosts a “Micro Reads” event every year. Pictured above are the fabulous SoCal artists that showed up for SWAN Day Los Angeles hosted by the LAFPI at A Noise Within Theatre Company in Pasadena, CA. Read more about their event HERE.


Santa Maria, CA

SWAN Day Central Coast at the Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA)

SWAN Day Central Coast at the Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA)

SWAN Day Central Coast hosted its first ever SWAN event this year! Organized by women* artists at PCPA Theatrefest in Santa Maria, SWAN Day Central Coast celebrated with a production of Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves” followed by a speaker event and reception. Welcome to the family, PCPA! Read more about their event HERE.


Pensacola, FL

SWAN Day Pensacola - visual artists panel discussion

SWAN Day Pensacola - visual artists panel discussion

SWAN Day Pensacola also hosted its first ever SWAN event this year! Organized by women* artists at PenArts, SWAN Day Pensacola celebrated with a day-long festival featuring theatre artists, musicians, poets, and visual artists. To learn more about the incredible line-up of women artists who made the 1st annual SWAN Day Pensacola a realty, check out their feature on the Statera Blog.


New York, NY

SWAN Day NY

SWAN Day NY

The photo above was taken at the screening of “This Changes Everything” hosted by New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and partners (Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, FF2 Media, SAG-AFTRA, HerFLix and others) in celebration of the 12th annual International SWAN Day.

Recipients of the Theatre Women Awards

Recipients of the Theatre Women Awards

The League of Professional Theatre Women held their annual Theatre Women Awards ceremony at the Sheen Center this year. Recipients included May Adrales, The Kilroys, and many others. Read more about their event HERE.

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)

Inspired by the successful reading of the classic play, “Twelve Angry Men,” by Reginald Rose featuring 12 extraordinary Broadway actresses, producer Lauren Class Schneider 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. The Black is Beautiful Project kicked off this amazing national initiative, presenting the first and only all African-American Female reading of "12 Angry Men". To learn more about these incredible women and this national initiative, check out their feature on the Statera Blog.


New Britain, CT

Photos from 2019 SWAN Day CT by Mandi Martini.

Photos from 2019 SWAN Day CT by Mandi Martini.

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. To learn more about this year’s artist line-up, check out their feature on the Statera Blog.


Baton Rouge, LA

SWAN Day Baton Rouge

SWAN Day Baton Rouge

Now in its second year in celebration of SWAN Day, Jackie Vanderbeck hosted a collaborative afternoon of women+ playwrights. This event is an opportunity to expand awareness of plays by women+ so that participants can be ambassadors and advocate for women’s voices in the arts. Read more about their event HERE.


Galveston, TX

Featured artists at G Lee Gallery’s SWAN Day Art Exhibit.

Featured artists at G Lee Gallery’s SWAN Day Art Exhibit.

This photo is shared courtesy of G. Lee Gallery in Galveston, Texas where they hosted a SWAN Day Juried Art show featuring local women artists. Learn more about their event HERE.


As part of our 2019 SWAN Day programming, StateraArts also conducted a series of SWAN Day interviews with women* artists, playwrights, and arts leaders. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, follow the links below.

SWAN Day events are still happening, so make sure to continue following the 2019 SWAN Day Calendar. And of course, StateraArts continues to post about these events on Facebook and Instagram!


*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, religion, 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. 

An Actress Prepares: Tiffany Hobbs Talks About a Day On Set

It's Wednesday, which means its time for another installment of “An Actress Prepares” with Tiffany Denise Hobbs. Today, Tiffany walks us through a day on set. And while she can’t actually film on set (that’s a no-no), she invites us to share the in-between moments. 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 “survival jobs” for actors.

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AN ACTRESS PREPARES: A Day On Set

by Tiffany Denise Hobbs

In today’s video, you can follow me during a day on set as a co-star. I’ll share with you how I prepare and my journeys and thoughts throughout the day. Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below, too!


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 Envisions the Future

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Statera Envisions the Future

by Melinda Pfundstein, Executive Director of StateraArts


We are often asked what Statera wants for the future – for our vision so-to-speak, and our quick response has always been, “For our mission to be made obsolete. Force us to rewrite it.” The mission of bringing women* into full and equal participation in the arts serves as our guide, but Statera is looking forward and doing things a little differently.

We envision a new normal where the work is no longer about advocating and building space, pathways, and support for women (our current mission), but rather to be engaged in the important work of acting as stewards to the space that exists.

We posit that there is enough space and we are actively disrupting the habit of pretending there is not, or that we need to compete for it. We know that this work requires all of us, and we hear from you: the communities we serve and our collaborative partners, reflecting to us the importance of this way of operating. You tell us of our refreshing spirit of collaboration. You reflect your appreciation and relief at how we operate through positive action and possibility.

All of this is because we set out to do things differently. This way of operating requires our own team -- every day, to disrupt and dismantle our own ingrained beliefs about competition and lack. As we do so, we challenge the same of our sector. It is a conscious choice and requires continuous practice. We hear you. We serve you. Thank you for sharing your reflections with us, for our vision is clear: 

STATERA, deriving its name from the Latin word for balance,
normalizes a humane and holistic creative environment that nourishes innovation.  


What does this mean?
Allow us to tell you a little about our values:  

We believe the arts should be created by and for more people

The stories we tell matter, in every medium expressed. They shape our lives. They educate us. They show us a better way. They keep us honest and hopeful. If received with inquiry and curiosity they offer a most precious gift: the opportunity to self-interrogate and grow. All people deserve to see themselves represented in art. 

We believe all people deserve to show up as their most whole and authentic selves.

Every single person deserves to bring their whole being to their work, their art, and their collaborations. Environments not conducive to showing up whole force us to wear a protective shell and hide our beautiful intersections and multi-faceted identities. When we can show up authentically to our work, we engage the magic of possibility, true collaborative spirit, great compassion, and radical innovation for previously unimagined solutions. Aren’t these the attributes we crave in our creative sector? When people show up whole and are appreciated for their individual strengths and perspectives, “work” is easeful (not to be confused with easy) and energizing. This leads to greater job satisfaction, higher production, and lower attrition rates. Furthermore, we posit that the future of the arts needs all of us to show up whole to remain relevant. We need each other whole. 

We believe in the responsibility to actively foster humane and holistic work environments.

As we change the landscape of the arts so that all people can show up more wholly in their work, we must interrogate the way we operate. As more intersections are represented within our organizations, so grows the requirement for thinking outside of the box about making our professional environments supportive of these intersections. This is not about “performing” inclusion but about committing to integrated bone-deep inquiry through a feminist, anti-racist lens.

We believe in collaboration.

The message we hear most from women is one of isolation. Statera holds that isolation is a lie. Sarah Greenman, Statera’s Operations Director, shared her own practice of scribing this phrase at the top of every written draft and we have adopted it organization-wide as a reminder of why we choose collaboration over competition. There is enough space. We are simply not in the practice of using it by and for more people.

We believe in leading with compassion.

The change we seek is not an overnight fix. Learning takes time, and we value deep learning that leads to implementation rather than broad strokes for checking boxes and quotas. The nonprofit arts sector relies on the good will of our teams and communities, paid and unpaid. It is our responsibility as makers and collaborators to take care of one another. At Statera, we foster respect and celebrate one another’s strengths. When it comes to organizational culture, we trust that those in positions of power will do the right thing and to take care of their people. Leaders must operate in a state of radical inquiry rather than one of knowing. We do not know what we do not know… until we know it. And once we know it, we must lean into the discomfort of learning how to do more– and then do it. 

We believe in practice.

We actively interrogate and disrupt our own outdated habits, beliefs, and blindspots as an organization. We learn from our peers and we partner with organizations doing – and ready to be doing the same. Practice makes possibility.

In coming days, we will announce the first of many partnerships that actively disrupt isolation and allow us to work together to make our vision for the future of the arts a reality. This is our way of actively disrupting competitive culture – a paralytic habit that seemingly runs rampant. How do we breathe into slow art and make incremental, lasting change and at the same time, drive for sweeping, topsy-turvy, revolutionary transformation in our sector? We do it together.

Would you like to know more? www.stateraarts.org


*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, religion, 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. 

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.