Chicago, IL—The Chicago Inclusion Project is launching a new initiative dedicated to providing performance development training to Chicago area artists in underrepresented communities. The new, pay- what-you-can series will consist of master classes, workshops, and mentor lectures from Chicago theater luminaries, excited to share their knowledge.
"When we first started The Chicago Inclusion Project, we were asking gate keepers to dismantle default casting in order to bring marginalized voices into the room. While our community has taken steps towards this goal, we need to acknowledge that artists who are newer to the room may not have had access to all the tools needed to sustain a career in theatre," says Founder and Producer Emjoy Gavino. "Not everyone grew up knowing that there was a place for them onstage, in different kinds of productions. We shouldn't expect underrepresented artists - people of color, those with physical and invisible disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA community - to invest themselves in an industry that hasn't invested in them, and in many cases hasn't made them feel welcome. By offering pay-what-you-can classes in accessible spaces, we are continuing to invest in these artists, and remove barriers for all those who deserve to have a place on our stages."
This new initiative will launch with an improvisation class led by Michael Patrick Thornton ( Gift Theatre, The Second City, iO, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre ) on March 19 at Steppenwolf Theatre's 1700 space. Other training venues for the inaugural year of the program include Jackalope Theatre's The Frontier, The Boxcar at Steep Theatre and classrooms at Black Box Academy.
Other classes offered this year include Classical Text Performance with Lavina Jadhwani ( Writers Theatre, Rasaka Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater ), Musical Theatre Auditioning with members of Firebrand Theatre— Lili-Ann Brown ( Goodman Theatre, Haven Theatre, Chicago Childrens Theatre ), Harmony France ( Balliwick Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Route 66 ) and Jon Martinez ( Pride Films and Plays, Raven Theatre, Circle Theatre ), Dialect Work with Vahishta Vafadari ( First Folio Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, Writers Theatre ) and other sessions with Sandra Marquez ( Steppenwolf Theatre, Court Theatre, Teatro Vista ) and Will Davis ( American Theater Company, Playwrights Horizons, Olney Theatre Center ).
Applications for the first sessions are currently being accepted on The Chicago Inclusion Project's website ( www.thechicagoinclusionproject.org ) through March 10. There is a class limit of 30 people for each session. Each class is pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of $10 to go toward the instructor and future programming. For additional information and inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org .
—From a press release