Applications are now open for PATHWAYS, a new mentorship and professional development program for emerging gender-diverse BIPOC theatre artists in the Portland area. PATHWAYS marks the first partnership between Artists Repertory Theatre (ART) and Advance Gender Equity in the Arts (AGE), offering creative enrichment and community building to artists pursuing a professional career in theatre, and a supported “pathway” to professional work.
Arriving after the success of AGE’s 2021 IGNITE mentorship program, PATHWAYS is co-created and developed by Minita Gandhi (IGNITE Founder) and Melory Mirashrafi (ART). The program uses Gandhi’s collaborative pairing model, comprised of a holistic pairing committee, and a process that prioritizes the creation and maintenance of an environment where artists have the opportunities and resources to achieve their full potential. “Mentorship is a profound arena to work in because of the powerful and transformative nature of what connection and conversation between two people can offer. As a producing house, ART can provide significant professional development opportunities for artists and greater access to the American theatre, and IGNITE’s holistic programming model offers the creation of a space that prioritizes the needs and safety of BIPOC gender-diverse artists,” says Gandhi.
“I felt like I had to leave Portland to become a professional artist. The problem wasn’t lack of people or resources – Portland has always had and will always have a rich and varied community of theatre-makers – it was the gatekeeping and systems in place that said to artists of color, to gender-diverse artists, ‘You are not welcome here,’ shared Mirashrafi. The PATHWAYS program is given a deliberately long runway and flexible hours, allowing for a true investment in artists as people, and honoring mentorship relationships grounded in shared experience and growth by and for BIPOC gender-diverse artists.
Year one of the program will focus on mentorship and artistic enrichment, pairing cohort members with local and national theatre leaders, providing professional development, and creating a foundation layer of involvement in ART’s work. Year two will focus on hands-on experience, pairing cohort members in a guided mentor-mentee role on an ART mainstage production, and completing the “pathway” from artistic development to professional work. “PATHWAYS is designed to challenge our current systems – to say, “We have always been here, and we have the time, space, and resources for us to learn and grow together,” emphasized Mirashrafi.
PATHWAYS will be just one exciting part of Artists Rep’s 2022-2023 season, which kicks off this summer with Pygmalion: A Tall Tale, a traveling adaptation of the Pygmalion myth by Keelay Gipson, continues with The Hombres by Tony Meneses, the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson (a co-production with Portland Center Stage), American Fast by Kareem Fahmy, and concludes with True Story by Ellen Lewis.
Applications for PATHWAYS will close on May 24th. Interested applicants will be asked to submit a brief questionnaire as well as a flexible creative statement. To learn more, please contact Melory Mirashrafi ([email protected]).