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Greater Boston Theater Expo!!! It's All Happening

Posted By Tonasia Jones, Thursday, August 29, 2019


From award-winning work on the stages of flagship companies, to remarkable and innovative pieces by adventurous smaller organizations -- explore the breadth, variety, and vitality of our local theater community, meet artists, and take advantage of Expo-only ticket offers and giveaways.

Want to find out more information? What to RSVP? or register as a org? Go to

Hang out with...
The Actors Studio of Newburyport
American Repertory Theater
Arlekin Players Theatre
Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston
Boston Playwrights' Theatre
Broadway In Boston
Central Square Theater
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Company One Theatre
The Concord Players
Emerson Stage
Entropy Theatre
Flat Earth Theatre
The Footlight Club
Fort Point Theatre Channel
Fresh Ink Theatre
Gloucester Stage
History At Play
Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Huntington Theatre Company
Lesley University Expressive Therapies Graduate Program
Lyric Stage Company
The METG: Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild
Moonbox Productions
New Repertory Theatre
Open Theatre Project
Playwrights Platform
Puppet Showplace Theater
The Revels
Riot Theater Company
Shear Madness
Slate Casting
SpeakEasy Stage Company
Trinity Repertory Company
The Theater Offensive
The Umbrella Community Arts Center
Walpole Footlighters
Wellesley Repertory Theatre - WRT
Wheelock Family Theatre
The Wilbury Theatre Group
Your Ladders
...and more to come!

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A Quick Guide to Gender Inclusion

Posted By John Meredith, Friday, August 2, 2019

This past week we published to Facebook a guide to Creating Space for Gender Diverse Theatre & A Guide to Using Pronouns in the Theatre written by M Sloth Levine, John Meredith, and the Gender Explosion Initiative.

The guide spread like wildfire across the country and even out to other continents. And today that guide reached 200k views! Check it out below, view the PDF, or print a printer-friendly copy to keep for reference.

While you're at it check out the other Gender Explosion's other resources here to keep building a more inclusive theatre community!


Tags:  Gender Explosion  StageSource 

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NENPA Welcomes New Leadership

Posted By StageSource, Monday, July 29, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New England New Play Alliance
Welcomes New Leadership,
Bids Adieu to Co-founder Patrick Gabridge


The New England New Play Alliance (NPA) has announced that co-founder and coordinator Patrick Gabridge will depart the organization after six years, to be replaced by playwrights Greg Lam and Lisa Rafferty. Gabridge, who helped found the Alliance in 2013, is a prolific playwright and novelist. He departs in order to concentrate on his many creative projects, including his site-specific theatre company Plays in Place. NPA brings together organizations and artists to grow audiences for new plays, to support new play development and to increase awareness of plays and playwrights in the Greater Boston/New England area, under the umbrella of the pre-eminent theater organization StageSource.

Patrick Gabridge helped select the two incoming coordinators who bring a wealth of different skills and perspectives to the Alliance. Offers Gabridge, “Getting to work on the various NPA projects has been very rewarding - a chance to work to improve the new play ecosystem in New England. Lisa and Greg will bring energy and enthusiasm and find exciting new projects, building on the successes we've had so far.”

Adds Dawn M. Simmons, Executive Director of StageSource, “Our partnership has been incredibly successful with the publication of the New England New Play Anthology, and events like the New Year, New Plays mixer, which puts writers in the room with companies actively engaged in new work. Pat is leaving the organization in great hands. Lisa and Greg are some of the region’s most prolific artists and they really care about the regional new work ecology.”

Lam and Rafferty plan to continue Gabridge’s work in amplifying New England playwrights, further enhancing the scope of new play development in Boston. “There’s an embarrassment of riches in the New England playwriting community,” says Lam. “We want to do everything we can to highlight that fact."

The New Play Alliance promotes new work through its weekly email newsletter, holds public events and workshops in topics useful to the region’s playwrights, and researches the impact of new play production to further its mission of increasing the number of new plays produced, increasing the audience of this new work, and to spread the word about the work outside of New England. Two years ago, the New Play Alliance published the New England New Play Anthology, a collection of new plays written by New England writers, developed by New England theaters, including plays by Kirsten Greenidge and Melinda Lopez. The New England New Play Alliance is a StageSource project, part of the largest art-service organization dedicated to theatres and theatre artists in the region.

Greg Lam is a playwright whose science fiction inspired work has had recent readings by Company One and Fresh Ink Theatre. He is known for the podcast he created in 2017, Boston Podcast Players, in which he interviews talented Boston-area playwrights and spotlights their new plays. He was named one of the five Fellows in Dramatic Writing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2019, and the inaugural Pao Fellow for the Company One PlayLab in 2019. Lam co-founded the Asian-American Playwright Collective and works with Artists’ Theater of Boston as their Development Associate.

Playwright, director and producer Lisa Rafferty has created several documentary plays including SHE DID ALL THAT - Betty Ford: Speaking Out, Saving Lives about a courageous and unforgettable First Lady. Also THE LEGACY OF WELLES REMY CROWTHER about the 9/11 hero, and the world premiere of Boston Theater Company’s FINISH LINE, about the 2013 Boston Marathon, with Joey Frangieh. Her comedies – The MOMologues (1, 2 and 3) - published by Samuel French, have appeared in 26 states and five countries. She wrote a comedy about breast cancer with other survivors: Pink Ribbon Overdose. She is the producing director of the Elliot Norton Awards and teaches theater at Bridgewater State University. Lisa is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Tags:  #NewPlay  #StageSource  StageSource 

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Apollinaire Resident Artist Program

Posted By John Meredith, Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Apollinaire Theatre Company Awarded 
Open Door Grant from The Boston Foundation to Create a New 

Resident Artist Program

at the Chelsea Theatre Works for Local Performing Artists

CHELSEA, MA, July 1, 2019— Apollinaire Theatre Company announced today it has received a $45,000 grant from the Boston Foundation to launch a Resident Artist Program at the Chelsea Theatre Works, through the Foundation’s Open Door Grants program.

Apollinaire Theatre built the new Black Box Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works to address the facilities crisis that Boston area performing artists face, a crisis which came to a head with the closure of the Factory Theatre in the South End in 2014. Apollinaire held meetings with Boston theatre artists to determine what their needs and desires were for a theater space, and together they drew up plans for a new theater that would do more than replace the Factory Theatre, it would offer amenities historically out of the reach of Boston’s small theatre community, including on-site rehearsal and shop space. But theatre companies need more than a home, they need support and resources.

Now with the Resident Artist Program, Apollinaire will address another issue: Boston is a difficult place for theatre artists to call home. Many talented, hard-working performing artists in Boston can barely scrape by. They have day jobs and families and somehow find time and resources to make their art, but it is not a sustainable model for an individual artist, a small theatre company, or a community. With the Open Door Grant, Apollinaire will be able to better serve Boston’s performing arts community, which will in turn expand Chelsea’s burgeoning arts scene and bring new opportunities to the local community.

Resident companies will be awarded free rent in the Black Box Theatre, rehearsal space for their productions, and shop space to build their sets, along with a project stipend. This will free up the companies’ budgets to reallocate funds where they feel they need it most, be it increased artist compensation, increased marketing efforts to build a stronger audience base, or the ability for resident artists to take on more ambitious productions that carry greater costs. Companies will also meet together to share ideas, brainstorm challenges, and leverage shared resources, working to create a multi-purpose incubation space where artists and companies can collaborate and share resources at every phase of their work. Companies will also be asked to give back to the community of Chelsea, and one resident spot will be reserved for a Chelsea artist or group.

“At a time when our research has shown both the need for greater support for artists and the benefits of artists’ involvement in the community, we are pleased to be able to support Apollinare Theatre’s Resident Artist program with an Open Door Grant,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how this program builds and strengthens the network of artists who call Chelsea home.”

Information Sessions will be held at the Chelsea Theatre Works on Tuesday July 16th at 7:30PM, Thursday July 18th at 1:00PM, and Monday July 22nd at 7:30PM, and all interested artists are encouraged to attend.  Visit to register and for more information.

Open Door Grants are competitive, one-year grants designed for organizations whose proposal is focused on Greater Boston and whose values align with those of the Boston Foundation. Grants are awarded quarterly, and are selected by staff through an inclusive evaluation process. Funds for this grant come from the Boston Foundation’s Permanent Fund for Boston, Greater Boston’s only endowed fund focusing on the pressing needs of Greater Boston. The Permanent Fund has been made possible by more than a century of gifts from those who seek to support innovative solutions to the region’s most pressing problems since 1915.

Apollinaire Theatre Company was formed in 1995 and named TheatreZone for the location in Boston where they produced their plays: the intersection of the Theatre District and the Combat Zone. Soon after, they began searching Chelsea for a place to create a new performing arts center, and in 1999 they purchased the historic Post Office/Odd Fellows Hall in Chelsea Square to create the Chelsea Theatre Works.

Today, the Chelsea Theatre Works houses three theaters, thanks to generous support from supporters including the City of Chelsea, MassDevelopment, Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, Benson Riseman, Mark DiGiovanni, and Peter Hubbard. The upstairs theater is where Apollinaire has produced their indoor seasons since 2004, which have included multiple Elliot Norton Award nominated and winning productions such as Uncle VanyaA Beautiful Day..., and Brilliant Adventures. The ground floor houses The Riseman Family Theatre, home of Apollinaire’s youth program—Apollinaire Play Lab— and the Black Box Theater and coworking space, both of which opened in 2016. Apollinaire is also known for Apollinaire in the Park, their free outdoor summer show now in its 17th year.

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, brings people and resources together to solve Boston’s big problems. Established in 1915, it is one of the largest community foundations in the nation—with net assets of $1.3 billion. In 2018, the Foundation and its donors paid $129 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. The Foundation works in close partnership with its donors, with more than 1,100 separate charitable funds established for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. It also serves as a think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time, promoting civic engagement and helping shape public policy that advances opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation or TPI, visit or call 617.338.1700.

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Resource alert: Sample Harassment policies

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 18, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

As part of our ongoing work to address the issue of sexual harassment in the performing arts, StageSource recommends that all theater companies (even small or informal groups of collaborators) adopt comprehensive policies to help prevent harassment and to properly manage reports should they occur. Recognizing that not all organizations are able to tackle this alone, we have compiled some sample documents which can be adapted and adopted by any and all theater makers.

These samples were developed based on the work done at our recent Line Drawn Summit as well as best practices compiled from some of our participating member organizations. These are not intended to be exhaustive, or one-size-fits-all. Nor can they replace the important work that all organizations must undertake to address this issue at its core, and to shift the culture from within. These documents are meant simply to offer a starting point to those who need one.



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IMPACT Boston Releases Report on StageSource Line Drawn Summit

Posted By David E. Shane, Thursday, August 16, 2018

The report below, which was prepared for StageSource by IMPACT Boston, is a look at what we've learned so far from our work to address the issue of sexual harassment in the performing arts. It is a snapshot of where we are, and a look ahead at our next steps. This is a complex issue that cannot be solved by a one-day summit or by releasing a report. We understand this, which is why with the help of the entire performing arts community, this work will continue. 



Prepared for StageSource

by Meg Stone, Executive Director, IMPACT Boston


Introduction & Overview

In 2018 StageSource launched a collaboration with IMPACT and other partners to strategize around creating a New England-wide initiative to prevent sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse in the performing arts. The goal of the initiative is to create shared community standards for safe and ethical work environments within performing arts organizations, and to build the capacity of both individual professionals and organizations of all sizes to prevent abuse.

This report summarizes the findings of a survey conducted by Stage Source in May 2018 to assess the problems and needs facing the performing arts community. It also gives a summary of the inaugural Line Drawn Summit held June 16, 2018 and open to all members of the New England performing arts community. It concludes with recommendations for next steps based on the survey and the summit.


Summit Description

The Line Drawn Summit drew 20 members of the New England performing arts community. Thirteen performing arts organizations and businesses were represented by Artistic Directors, Managing Directors, a Director of Human Resources as well as interns and other non-managers. Freelance stage managers (including an Equity liaison), directors, performers, and theater critics were also in attendance. The summit drew representatives from large, mid-size and fringe performing arts organizations, almost all were representing companies New England

The Summit began with a report on the anonymous survey Stage Source conducted to understand the scope of the problem of sexual misconduct, harassment and abuse in New England performing arts.  It then included a presentation on policies, with some participants sharing their organizational policies and the issues and situations that led them to create policies.

The group then self-selected into three small work groups to have more focused discussions:

·         Issues facing freelancers and fringe companies

·         First rehearsal/first production meeting: setting a tone

·         Training

The groups reported back on the issues and challenges they addressed and those issues informed the larger group effort to identify common ethical standards.

The summit ended with a first effort to reach a consensus on ethical standards for New England performing arts.



In preparation for the summit, StageSource created and circulated an anonymous survey which asked respondents about their experiences of witnessing or being the target of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, their perceptions of the barriers to reporting and stopping harassment, and their ideas for standards and practices the New England performing arts community can adopt. The survey received 189 responses. The respondents were mostly female (70%) and the majority were actors (106 out of 189 or 56%). The next most represented roles in the arts community were directors (54), administrative staff (48) and stage managers (31).  The least represented roles were company manager (5), critic (6), music director (7) and technical director (8). The survey allowed for participants to choose multiple roles and many respondents did.


Experiencing Harassment, Abuse or Boundary Violations

When asked if they had experienced sexual harassment, misconduct, abuse, or related uncomfortable situations, 81% indicated that they had experienced at least one incident.

The most commonly reported incidents were:

·         Had a coworker make sexualized or suggestive comments, verbally or nonverbally (67%)

·         Had a person in a position of authority (director, tech director, choreographer, etc.) make sexualized or suggestive comments -- verbally or nonverbally -- about your body (47%)

·         Had someone directly or indirectly communicate that you were unfit to perform work duties because of your gender, sexuality, or appearance. (46%)

·         Been made to change costumes in an insufficiently private area (37%)

·         Had an experience where you had to work alongside co-workers who were engaging in excessive (though consensual) displays of physical affection and/or sexually charged conversation while in the work environment (37%)

Six respondents (3.9%) reported having experienced sexual activity without their consent.

Witnessing Harassment

Fifty percent of survey respondents reported witnessing sexual harassment in performing arts. The remaining 50% were split between the answer choice “no” and the answer choice “unsure” with 28% responding “unsure.”

The large number of “unsure” responses points to a need for education about what constitutes sexual harassment and abuse, and shared community standards that clearly define this behavior.


Reasons for Not Reporting & Outcomes of Reporting

Of those who witnessed sexual harassment, the majority (70%) did not report. The most common reasons respondents gave for their decision not to report were:

—  I didn’t think anything would be done about it

—  I wasn’t sure it was sexual harassment

—  I didn’t know who to tell

—  I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble

Survey respondents who reported sexual harassment were most likely to report to stage managers (23), artistic directors (20), and directors (19). Almost half the respondents to this question checked “other,” and their responses ranged from Human Resources to the Production Manager to University administrators responsible for Title IX.  

The majority of respondents reported unsatisfactory outcomes to the reports they made. The most common unsatisfactory responses were:

—  The person was understanding but didn’t know how to handle the situation. As a result, the situation was not resolved and nothing changed. (30%)

—  The person minimized or explained away the incident (25%)

—  I don’t know, I left the situation (22%)

—  My report was ignored (17%)

In very few cases did a report of harassment result in either a harasser being removed from a production or the harassment stopping:

·         The harassment stopped (13%)

·         The person was removed from the company or production (5%)

A small minority of reports of harassment or abuse resulted in the harassment stopping and/or the harasser being removed from the company or production.

Barriers to Change

Survey respondents were asked in an open-ended question to identify the barriers they see to creating harassment- and abuse-free workplace in New England performing arts. Out of 117 open-ended responses, the following were the most common themes:

—  Old ways, old men (18)

—  No consequences for harassers (16)

—  Lack of knowledge of how to make/receive reports (16)

—  Gender & societal inequity: power differences between harasser and harassed (14)

—  Fear of losing work (14)

—  Fear of retaliation/being labeled a trouble maker (13)

—  Lack of training for arts organization leaders (8)

—  Lack of community standards (8)



After the survey report, the summit provided space for arts organizational leaders to present their existing policies and the process by which they were developed. Below are some highlights of key elements of policies. Due to the frank discussions of organizational problems that led to policy development, this report will present the issues and developed policies without identifying individual organizations.  Several arts organizations have shared their policies with StageSource and those are available as a guide for others to adopt.

Developing Policies in Response to Edgy, Sexual Art

One theater company found that most of their problems with harassment were situations in which edgy or sex-positive material was used as an excuse to cross boundaries and/or abuse power. As a result, the company developed policies and investigation processes designed to prevent this type of harassment and abuse of power.

Their policy includes:

·         No sexual or dating relationships between people who are in a supervisory relationship

·         No nude or sexually explicit scenes can be rehearsed after hours or in a private place

·         Feedback can be given about a character’s sexual desirability or sex appeal but not about an actor’s body, looks, or sexual desirability


Adopting the Chicago Standards in Response to Sexual Abuse Incidents

One theater company adopted the Chicago Theater Standards in response to abuse and harassment incidents. In implementing the standards, they initiate long discussions of standards at the first rehearsal. A representative from the Board also follows up to reach out and give support so that freelancers have a connection to someone who is removed from the rehearsal process. They also circulate a survey at the end of the production to get feedback about the work environment.

Online Harassment

While online harassment is a need expressed by many summit participants, one theater review site has a policy of referring all online harassment to the editor so that individual reviewers are not responsible for engaging with harassing or abusive responses to their articles.


Consensus Community Standards

A primary purpose of the summit was to begin a process of creating community standards and practices that arts organizations can adopt in order to ensure safe and ethical workplaces.

Through small break-out groups followed by a large-group consensus building process, summit

participants created a first iteration of shared ethical standards for New England Performing Arts.

This summit was the first step. Stage Source plans to follow up with additional summits, and to circulate the report to get feedback on the initial standards that the assembled group identified. Members of the New England performing arts community are welcomed and encouraged to communicate any feedback on these standards to StageSource and to participate in future convenings.

The following standards represent the greatest areas of consensus among the group:

1.      Reports will be acknowledged within 24 hours and include information for the next step.

2.      Gender identity and sexual orientation will not be used to make assumptions about ability, talent, skill level or fitness for performing duties.

3.      The creation of a community based on safety & responsibility will supersede artistic, financial, or reputational goals.

4.      Touch (by actors, directors, costume/wardrobe staff, etc.) will always be preceded by asking for consent.

5.      Anyone who critiques an actor will focus on the actor’s work as a professional, not their  appearance of identity as a person.

6.      All employees will be notified prior to auditioning and hiring that the company has agreed to be part of the New England Standard of Ethics policies, which will be available to read on the website.

7.      All employees will be held to the same standards of conduct. No one gets a “pass” because of age, donation amounts, reputation, marketability.

8.      Any nudity, intimacy, or touching required in a role will be clearly identified to the actor and all artists on or before hiring and never to be added after hiring without the consent of the actor (note: there were some variations on this standard with some advocating for directors being able to add intimacy if it is supervised by a trained intimacy choreographer.

9.      Intimate material will not be rehearsed without the presence of both a director and a stage manager or intimacy director.


The Importance—And Challenges—Of Addressing Community Members Who Have Perpetrated

Summit participants came to greater consensus on standards related to preventative measures and practices than standards related to individual artists and technicians with past histories of perpetration. All summit participants were clear and in agreement that they wanted to work in arts organizations that are free of people who perpetrate, yet the summit revealed how difficult is to reach consensus on how to make this intention a reality, more specifically, how to address individuals who have a history of perpetration.

Some participants expressed willingness to consider some sort of “do no hire” list, while others expressed strong concerns about any action that could replicate the blacklisting tactics of the McCarthy era that targeted artists. Another question that arose was how an arts organization would establish that someone had perpetrated—would they believe rumors? Would they rely on the criminal legal system and only apply this standard to someone who has been convicted? Would they use other models like restorative or transformative justice?

“You could imagine not hiring a lighting designer who had a reputation for missing deadlines, but some people in the room are not ready to do the same for a person with a reputation for sexually harassing or abusing”

Arts administrators and directors acknowledged that they often make hiring decisions based on a person’s reputation (for meeting deadlines, for working effectively with a team, for doing quality work), yet the thought of making hiring decisions based on a reputation for having caused sexual harm was an area that provoked challenging and important conversation. Strong and conflicting opinions on this issue were expressed and deeper and longer conversation will be needed to create consensus.

In abuse prevention initiatives, deciding how to address individuals who have perpetrated is among the most difficult and the most important decisions. As StageSource continues its work, exploring this issue more deeply will be crucial to creating standards and practices that are strong enough to be effective at stopping abuse.



1.      Create and Pilot Bystander and Boundary Setting Trainings Unique to Arts Organizations


During the summit, many participants requested training for how to respond to situations in which they or others are experiencing harassment. Specific identified training needs included:

Bystander Skills

De-escalation: how to de-escalate a situation and return to a productive rehearsal

Responding to abuse reports

Managing the freeze response—to advocate for oneself in the moment

Misogyny and trans/homophobia in technical/crew spaces

Respectful intervention when someone says the wrong thing

Boundary setting


All of these topics would be most effective if presented in a way that was unique to arts organizations.


IMPACT therefore proposes to create a pilot bystander training and a pilot boundary setting/self-advocacy training. Arts organizations could sponsor their own staff and/or freelance stage managers, artists and technicians to attend the training. Pilot training participants would be asked to give input to help shape these trainings so they could eventually become a recognized credential for permanent staff and freelancers.  


2.      Survey Technicians, Stage Managers, and Others in  Male-Dominated Professions


The few responses from carpenters, backstage crew, and other backstage professionals identified role-specific experiences of sexism and harassment, yet the majority of respondents to the Stage Source survey were actors. Also, several summit participants commented about ways in which the survey was actor-centered. IMPACT therefore proposes that Stage Source conduct specific outreach to backstage professionals so that their experiences are well-represented in future efforts of the Line Drawn initiatives.


3.      Draft Sample Contract Language that Supports & Protects Freelancers Who Intervene to Prevent Harassment, Misconduct and Abuse


Fear of losing work and being labeled a trouble maker are key barriers to reporting harassment and intervening to stop abuse. IMPACT therefore recommends that Stage Source work with the Arts & Business Council and other partners to draft language for stage management, production management, and similar contracts that affirms the organization’s commitment to creating a harassment-free workplace and protects the freelancer from retaliation for reporting or intervening.


4.      Hold a focused summit with an attempt to achieve consensus or have more focused conversation on standards for people who are known or reputed to have perpetrated.


Based on the results of the survey and the summit, IMPACT makes the following recommendations:


The biggest area of disagreement among summit participants was on how to create an ethical standard related to not hiring people who have perpetrated sexual harassment or abuse. Controversy centered around how to evaluate rumors and whether it is fair to use that as a reason to consider someone unfit to work. Further reflection and conversation is needed to more deeply understand this resistance or hesitation on the part of some and enthusiasm on the part of others. 


One summit participant proposed creating a grid of appropriate responses to different types of misconduct ranging from micro-aggressions and sexist comments to sexual assault and rape. The thought behind the grid was that arts organizations would respond to less serious acts with education or support, while responding to more severe abuses with more serious consequences.





Sexist/Racist.Ableist/Homophobic comment

Training & education

Sexual Harassment


Sexual Assault/ Rape


During the community standards exercise this chart got the highest number of votes.

IMPACT therefore proposes a specific, focused summit designed to more deeply explore this issue with the chart as an example of what such standards could look like. We further propose to invite guest speakers who can address restorative and transformative justice models, models used in sports organizations for banning abusive coaches and athletes, and other models.

During the community standards exercise this chart got the highest number of votes.

IMPACT therefore proposes a specific, focused summit designed to more deeply explore this issue with the chart as an example of what such standards could look like. We further propose to invite guest speakers who can address restorative and transformative justice models, models used in sports organizations for banning abusive coaches and athletes, and other models.

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Dawn M. Simmons named Executive Director of StageSource

Posted By David E. Shane, Thursday, August 9, 2018

Dawn M. Simmons Named Executive Director of StageSource

The Board of Directors of StageSource, the Greater Boston alliance of theater artists and producers, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dawn M. Simmons as Executive Director, effective August 27, 2018.

Dawn joins StageSource from the Boston Center for the Arts, where she served as Director of Performing Arts since 2014, overseeing performing arts programming and artist residencies. Prior to the BCA, she was the Director of Programs at StageSource for ten years, and more recently served on the organization’s Board of Directors. She is an accomplished theater director, and in recent years has directed productions for such companies as Lyric Stage, Greater Boston Stage Company, and SpeakEasy. She is also founder and director of the Front Porch Arts Collective, a culturally-specific performing arts company founded in 2016, and the New Exhibition Room, founded to produce political theater works in 2008.

Janet Bailey, President of the StageSource Board, said “We are thrilled that Dawn will be joining StageSource as Executive Director. She has a wealth of experience as both a theater artist and as an administrator, and is an important member of the Boston-area arts community. That, combined with her prior experience working for StageSource earlier in her career, makes her uniquely qualified to take on this responsibility.”

“I am honored to have been chosen as the next Executive Director of this remarkable organization,” said Dawn.  “I look forward to connecting with the membership to get their help in mapping out how we can continue to serve the theater community.”  A native of Buffalo, NY, Dawn holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Buffalo and has studied playwriting at Boston University.

StageSource offices are located at 15 Channel Center Drive in the Fort Point area of Boston. For more information on the organization visit or call 617.350.7611.

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Addressing Harassment in the New England performing arts community

Posted By David E. Shane, Thursday, April 19, 2018

The news of this week has increased the intensity of the call to address the issues of sexual harassment within the performing arts community. As the service organization for the New England theater community, StageSource has been partnering with other organizations and working on ways to heed that call. In this email, we will outline the work that we have started and ask for your help in implementing the first very important step.

Step One: Conduct a community-wide survey to identify many of the needs and requirements for all entities and individuals involved.

The purpose of this survey is to mobilize the strength of the community in order to develop practices and standards which will help to make us all safer. Responses will greatly inform the training and programs as they take shape. The goal is not to litigate the past, but rather to help drive a culture shift for the future.


Please consider taking a moment to complete this CONFIDENTIAL survey, and feel free to forward this link to others in the New England performing arts community. We want to encourage the broadest possible participation so as to address as many issues as we can.




Below is an outline of the next steps involved in this initiative.

Step Two: Develop resources and training which are specific to the performing arts community.

While there are webinars and training available around the topic of sexual harassment, too often they are too broad to be helpful in a workplace where physical contact and heightened emotional states are part of the job. There are many organizations in our community which are already seeking to address these needs. Our goal is to spotlight best practices which are already being implemented and to develop community-wide standards and resources which can be made available to artists and organizations of all sizes and scopes. Specific goals include:

  • Create a code of conduct which organizations and artists can adopt.

  • Provide the education needed to develop Board roles and responsibilities.

  • Provide customized training for organizations and individuals which could include harassment training, bystander training, and diversity and inclusion training.

  • Create a toolkit of resources for organizations to access policies, employee communications, webinars, and articles which can help customize operating standards.

  • Offer safe zone certification for organizations which adopt and successfully implement the code of conduct, Board responsibility requirements, and customized training recommendations. Certification will communicate to current and potential employees that the organization is a safe place to work. It also offers the organization an opportunity to market their commitment to audiences and to create awareness.

Step Three: Develop resources for mediation, investigation, and restorative justice.

Organizations may encounter circumstances that require mediation and investigation. This goal of this step is to provide a place to turn.  Situations may arise that require investigation but may not be in violation of regulations. Resources will be available to help navigate the situation, work with staff and artists, and help with education so that everyone can move forward. In the event that organizations have employees that come forward who have endured situations that have affected them personally and emotionally,  this initiative will provide a resource to help individuals process this injustice and get to a place where they can move forward.StageSource, nor our partners,  wish to take on the role of a performing arts police force. Rather, we can partner with folks who have expertise, and can help artists or organizations figure out the best path forward to restore justice.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the efforts underway here at StageSource. We welcome your participation in the survey and your feedback on this initiative moving forward. It will take the investment of the entire community to address this important issue and to ultimately shift the culture from within.


Julie Hennrikus, Executive Director
David Shane, Operations Supervisor
The StageSource Board of Directors

Tags:  Impact Boston  Sexual harassment 

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Line Drawn

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Friday, December 1, 2017

The sexual harassment issues that are rocking our country have impacted the theater community as well. In some instances, that impact is very public. In other instances, most instances, the stories are whispered, without details. The stories come from those affected, and from bystanders who didn’t know what to do in the instance. Who still don’t know what to do.


As a woman who has worked in the arts for over thirty years, I have my own stories. Most women (and some men) I know have stories. Dealing with that is part of the process of this moment. But as the executive director of a service organization, the question is how do we tackle this issue as a community?


If this is a culture shift (and I hope this is a culture shift), how do we navigate it?


StageSource has been working on a proposal with Impact Boston to create trainings specific to the performing arts community. The challenge with out of the box trainings are that they don’t always apply to the work we do. “Don’t touch anyone,” is challenging for actors, or for wardrobe crew, to name two groups of folks who have to touch other people. That doesn’t mean that the field should be a free for all. It means that we need to create a nuanced training program where we understand the difference between the work, and harassment or abuse.


The proposed training program would include:

·         Data gathering and surveying.

·         Organizational culture and policy work.

·         Bystander training. We’re specifically thinking about training for stage managers, crews, and actors.

·         Empowerment self-defense/physical and verbal resistance training.

·         Creating a code of conduct for the community.


Here at StageSource we routinely jump in and tackle issues without waiting for funding. See our Gender Parity Task Force, Space Task Force, or the New England New Play Alliance for examples of that. This issue, and this partnership, requires funding, however. Both StageSource and Impact Boston are committed to making this happen, and will keep you apprised of our progress.


For now, we are creating a resource page at where we will be referring people to the work being done in other cities, other resources, and the work of Impact Boston. This is not a static page. As more resources become known to us, we will post them.


In the meantime, let us draw a line, firmly, that puts the past behind us, and helps us move forward. I am not advocating forgetting the past. There are stories that need to be told, histories that must be aired.


The line I am proposing is a statement—as of this date, no more.


Line drawn.

Tags:  #StageSource  Impact Boston 

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Dim The Lights for Jack Welch

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

It is with a very heavy heart that I mark the passing of Jack Welch, founding board member of StageSource, our first StageSource Theater Hero, champion of new plays, and one of the loveliest men to grace this community.


For many years, Jack ran Baker's Plays, a treasure trove for the theater community that was located on Chauncy Street. It is there that I first met him, as a college student who was going to direct her first play and needed some monologues for auditions, He spent an hour with me helping me to chose those pieces. I was one of countless people he met over the course of that part of his long career.


The next time we met I was the administrative assistant for StageSource. It was 1986 or 1987, and I was helping Dona Sommers with admin tasks like filing headshots, recording the enews (which was a phone message machine that members had a code to), and trying to figure out a new fangled database that someone had donated. I would occassionally take board minutes as well. Never once did Jack walk into the StageSource office when I was there and not give me a huge smile, and ask how I was. 


Jack's role in founding StageSource, and keeping it going over some rough patches, cannot be overstated. He loved this theater community, and when the Huntington and ART set up shop, he quickly recognized the need and opportunity for a service organization to help actors connect with producers, auditions, and other resources. In short order StageSource added directors, designers, playwrights, technicians, dramaturgs, technicians, and other artists to the mix. A few years later the organization merged with another group that served producers, and StageSource became what it is today--a connector for the theater community. 


In 2011, when I became the Executive Director of StageSource, Jack was right in line to congratulate me. A few weeks after I started he gave me a call. "You don't mind, do you Julie? Once in a while I get a thought, and I want to share it." I never, ever minded. I will miss those calls, that smile, and that gentle man more than I can say. 


Our community has lost some lights this year. Jack was a very, very bright one. We are all better off for having had him in our midst.

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Tags:  #JackWelch  #NewPlay  #StageSource  #theaterhero  #theatrehero  Jack Welch  Theatre Hero 

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