Increasing access in the arts for trans and nonbinary adults:
In the summer of 2018 we hosted our first acting intensive for transgender and nonbinary actors. This intensive was for youth and adults (ages 16 and up) and reached a wide range of ages and genders. Some of the people who attended were people who are seeking to be professional artists. They were looking for support developing their skills not only in acting and auditioning, but also in building a resume and cultivating a sense of the industry.
Dates for the next acting intensives TBD
Apprenticeship Program for Creative Personnel
In the fall of 2020 we plan to launch an apprenticeship program for transgender and nonbinary theatre technicians.
Training and resources for theater professionals, in and outside of an institution, are commonly focused on skills for performing, not for design or management. Due to this lack of access, design teams are some of the most homogenous workers in the industry primarily identifying as 70% white and cis-male.
Uprising Theatre is seeking funding to launch a Theater Apprenticeship program for transgender and non-binary artists in seven areas of artistic and technical leadership for two production processes in Uprising’s 2020 season. This access to training will create opportunities for trans and non-binary designers and technicians to work in all aspects of theater production.
The Theater Apprenticeship program will hire and pay a cohort of apprentices in the areas of light design, costume design, sound design, stage management, production management, directing, and front of house relations. Each apprentice will be assigned a mentor who will teach them, hands-on, how to do their particular role. Directing and stage management apprentices will have a different mentor for each show allowing them to learn first-hand the commonalities, challenges, and differences in artistic process. Each other apprentice will have the same mentor for both production processes allowing them to learn consistencies in the job while studying the nuances and problem solving required when working with different directors. Every apprentice will be involved as much as their mentor in production meetings, rehearsals, drafting and renderings, research, material shopping, load-in, light focus, and all technical rehearsals leading up to opening night.
While mentors will oversee the day-to-day training opportunities for the apprentices, the Artistic Director will take lead on general program management and regular check-ins with the cohort. The Artistic Director will also facilitate learning opportunities in resume building, cover letter writing, networking, and meetings with Uprising staff.
Our belief is that more stories told, created, and designed by transgender people about their own lives will change not just the sense of possibility for trans people but this apprenticeship program will also create a pipeline that combats the economic disparities trans/non-binary folks face to access paid work in theater.
The technical fields in theater are in high demand while also being under-resourced. There can be anywhere from three and thirty individuals working in light design, set design, costume design, sound design, production management, stage management, directing, and front of house relations for a theater production depending on the size and scope of the organization. However for artists seeking training in these technical and artistic areas of study, opportunities are often severely limited in undergraduate programs and in post-graduate classes. Often, these jobs require extensive “on the job” learning in order to do well. While gaining these technical and production skills is a big step, applying them in a hands-on environment is crucial. You need to be able to take in a lot of details and frequent changes, communicate clearly, use and understand specific technical language and terms, handle many different communication styles, work and adapt quickly, all while striving for the highest quality execution every time. This program will create a pipeline of trans/non-binary talent in technical fields. It will allow apprentices to work in a learning-focused environment to gain a widely transferable skill set so they can get paid work at other theaters. This further counteracts the statistics of underemployment that trans/non-binary folks face.
Uprising will seek to commission new work by transgender and nonbinary playwrights, and host training seminars and workshops.