Chicago Inclusion Project to Offer Pay-What-You-Can Training Program

The Chicago Inclusion Project is launching a new training program for artists in underrepresented communities. The Professional Performance Training Series is built in association with Jackalope and Steppenwolf theaters and will operate under a pay-what-you-can model. The series will consist of masterclasses, workshops, and mentor lectures from Chicago theater luminaries.

“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 program will launch with an acting intensive led by Michael Patrick Thornton on March 19 at Steppenwolf Theatre’s 1700 space. Other classes offered this year will include Classical Text Performance with Lavina Jadhwani, Musical Theatre Auditioning with Firebrand Theatre’s Lili-Ann Brown, Harmony France, and Jon Martinez, Dialect Work with Vahishta Vafadari and other sessions with Sandra Marquez and Will Davis.

Applications for the first sessions are currently being accepted on The Chicago Inclusion Project’s website 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.

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PerformInk is Chicago's entertainment industry trade publication.