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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.

 Attached Thumbnails:

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

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ED Julie Hennrikus to participate in the Berkshire Leadership Summit

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Monday, September 25, 2017


StageSource Executive Director is thrilled to be a participant at the October Berkshire Leadership Summit. The cohort of women chosen for this event are from all over the United States and Canada, and at varying stages in their careers. The convening will be part networking, part skill building, and part having conversations around women in theater and the issue of gender parity. The weekend aligns with the work that StageSource is doing, and has done, around gender parity, and is a great opportunity to elevate the conversation.


The press release for the event is below. Stay tuned for more details, and some reflections on the event.




September 21, 2017


Contact: Gail Burns, Marketing and Publicity Associate; 518.243.9627

Press photos can be found at:


WAM Theatre Announces Attendees for October’s Berkshire Leadership Summit


We see the operation of a glass ceiling, a metaphor for the barriers facing women stuck at middle management where they can see the top but cannot reach it.”

- from the Wellesley Centers for Women Study


LEE, MA - Organizers of the pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit, an event for women aspiring to, or already in, leadership positions in the non-profit theatre, and hosted by WAM Theatre, are excited to announce that the attendees of this event have been selected.


Of the 163 women theatre professionals who applied to participate in the Berkshire Leadership Summit, 75 have been accepted, hailing from 22 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. This cohort reflects an emphasis the Steering Committee members placed on diversity, accessibility, and intentionality early in the process. Towards this goal, the steering committee members, comprised of Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre (Steering Committee Chair); Akiba Abaka, Audience Development Manager at ArtsEmerson; Rachel Fink, Managing Director of Theatre Bay Area; and Shafer Mazow, who currently works at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, went through a rigorous selection process that focused on creating a cohort that balanced career (early/late/mid-career), background (race, sexual identity, geography), and level of leadership experience. The process resulted in an intentional balance of these criteria in an effort to provide the greatest opportunity for personal growth and community-building for each attendee at the summit.


“When I stood up at a microphone at American Conservatory Theater's Women's Leadership Conference in August 2016 and said WAM Theatre would host a summit as a next step in the national conversation around gender parity in the theatre, never, ever did I think it would result in this sort of response,” explained Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Artistic Director. “The desire for this sort of event is very clear. “


“Getting this sort of response confirms that we were embarking on something timely and critical in discussions of equity and inclusion in the field.” said Shafer Mazow, Steering Committee Member and a lead developer and organizer of the Women’s Leadership Project and convening that inspired the Berkshire Leadership Summit. “Women of all backgrounds, experiences, and identities struggle to break the glass ceiling in theatre, and the diversity of applicants proves we are articulating and addressing a need for that glass ceiling to be shattered for everyone.”


Early- to late-career theatre professionals from British Columbia to Brooklyn will come together in Lenox, Massachusetts, for two days at the end of October. The summit will have a three-part structure: Networking opportunities, rigorous Skill-Building sessions and Advancing the Discourse panels, which will be livestreamed through HowlRound. The Steering Committee will announce the speakers, panelists, and schedule next month.


Attendees such as Emika Abe of Atlanta, Georgia, have long felt the uneven ground of gender parity in theatre and are eager to support other participants in leveling this playing field. “It can be difficult to envision myself in a formal leadership position when there isn't an abundant pool of leaders who look like me from which to gather inspiration,” she explains. “This creates a barrier to really owning that we deserve a seat at the table.”


Canadian attendee Heather Cant echoes this sentiment. “The importance of equality should never need explaining; when all voices are welcome and heard with equal merit, all the world will truly be a stage.”


Steering Committee Chair van Ginhoven concludes, “WAM Theatre and the Steering Committee are incredibly proud to be taking action for gender parity in the non-profit theatre by hosting the pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit. We look forward to welcoming all of these impressive women leaders to the beautiful Berkshires in October.”


A complete list of this year’s Berkshire Leadership Summit participants is below. To learn more please visit


Emika Abe, Atlanta, GA

C.J. Astronomo, Toronto, Ontario

Leah Barish, Chicago, IL

Eva Barrie, Toronto, Ontario

Devon Berkshire, Brooklyn, NY

Anne Bertram, Minneapolis, MN

Sara Brookner, Somerville, MA

Kamilah Bush, Greensboro, NC

Kristen Adele Calhoun, New York, NY

Heather Cant, Kamloops, British Columbia

Tatyana-Marie Carlo, Miami, FL

Elena Chang, New York, NY

Jamila Cobham, Richmond, CA

Patsy Collins Bandes, Belmont, MA

Angela Combest, Chester, MA

Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, West Sacramento, CA

Celine Delcayre, Brooklyn, NY

Deanna Downes, Cedar Rapids, IA

Theresa Erbacher, Washington, DC

Hannah Fenlon, Brooklyn, NY

Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll, Chicago, IL

Aislinn Frantz, Groton, CT

Kelly Galvin, Lee, MA

Ann Garner, Philadelphia, PA

Adriana Gaviria, New York, NY

Maddie Gaw, Berkeley, CA

Tuled Giovanazzi, Calgary, Alberta

Ruth Goodwin, Toronto, Ontario

Stephanie Graham, Toronto, Ontario

Ty Hallmark, Kensington, MD

Pamela Halstead, East Pennant, Nova Scotia

Julie Hennrikus, Boston, MA

Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Chicago, IL

Esther Jun, Toronto, Ontario

Teresa Kilzi, Urbana, IL

Lia Kozatch, Clark, CO

Anne Levy, Tuscaloosa, AL

Shellen Lubin, Chatham, NY

Natasha MacLellan, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia

Porsche McGovern, Greenwich, CT

Tracy Liz Miller, Tempe, AZ

Nicole Miller Marks, Philadelphia, PA

Margaret Morneau, Roseville, CA

Tara Moses, Broken Arrow, OK

Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, Fairburn, GA

Shannon Musgrave, Salt Lake City, UT

Erica Nagel, Oakland, NJ

Brenna Nicely, Arlington, MA

Bridget O'Leary, Watertown, MA

Abigail Pañares, Berkeley, CA

Elizabeth Pangburn, Shutesbury, MA

Rebecca Parker, Buford, GA

Melinda Pfundstein Vaughn, Cedar City, UT

Karen Altree Piemme, San Jose, CA

Lisa Portes, Chicago, IL

Mary Jane Probst, Saint Louis, MO

Martha Richards, Berkeley, CA

Ali Joy Richardson, Toronto, Ontario

Dylan Russell, Richmond, CA

Helen Schultz, New York, NY

Jordan Schwartz, Marietta, GA

Phaedra Scott, Boston, MA

Hana Sharif, Baltimore, MD

Shannon Sindelar, Brooklyn, NY

Brianna Sloane, Sunderland, MA

Nicole St. Martin, Edmonton, Alberta

Bronwyn Steinberg, Ottawa, Ontario

Meg Sullivan, Cranston, RI

Erin Washington, Atlanta, GA

Emma Watt, Somerville, MA

Alexis Williams, New York, NY

Denise Winter, Port Townsend, WA

Danielle Zarbin, Brooklyn, NY


The pilot Berkshire Leadership Summit will be hosted by WAM Theatre on October 28 and 29, 2017, in the Elayne Bernstein Performing Arts Center at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

The summit is informed and supported by the research that American Conservatory Theater commissioned from the Wellesley Centers for Women. The HowlRound blogpost about the study can be found at


Sponsors and supporters for the summit include Lynn and Richard Atkinson, Hannelore Voness, Joan and James Hunter, Jack and Suzy Wadsworth, Arwen Lowbridge of Baystate Financial, Classical Tents, ZONTA Club of Berkshire County, and the donors of the GoFundMe campaign.

The Berkshire Leadership Summit Steering Committee: Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre; Akiba Abaka, Audience Development Manager at ArtsEmerson; Rachel Fink, Managing Director of Theatre Bay Area; and Shafer Mazow, who currently works at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and was a lead developer and organizer of the Women’s Leadership Project and convening.



Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre is Where Arts and Activism Meet. The company was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven. WAM’s vision is to create opportunity for women and girls through the mission of theatre as philanthropy. Inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls. Since 2010, WAM Theatre has donated more than $32,500 to twelve nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 200 theatre artists. In addition to the main stage productions and special events, WAM Theatre’s activities include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. For more information, visit

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Tags:  #ParityBos  Berkshire Leadership Summit  Gender Parity 

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Thank you #BofAGrants for Supporting StageSource

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Tuesday, September 19, 2017
StageSource is a non-profit, and we rely on a mix of earned (memberships, program fees) and contributed (from individuals, corporations, foundations, and the government) to do our work. Every bit of income helps us support the New England theater community, and is greatly appreciated. We are so grateful that one of our long term partners, Bank of America, is supporting StageSource again this year. 

Tags:  Bank of America  Grants  StageSource Support 

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Arts Activism for Sara Brookner

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sara Brookner is one of our board members. She is also a fierce arts advocate, and recently went to Washington DC for and arts advocacy day. She wrote about that trip, and the Massachusetts Arts Advocacy Day she participated in, on Howlround. According to Sara, Arts Activism means "both advocating for the arts, and using the arts to advocate for what matters to us or is endangered." We are grateful that Sara is part of the StageSource team.


Sara Brookner is passionate about arts advocacy and community engagement. She currently works at ArtsEmerson in Boston, MA. A freelance dramaturg, she has worked on productions with Fresh Ink Theatre, Boston Public Works, Whistler in the Dark, Cornerstone Theater, and the American Repertory Theater and its Institute. A proud StageSource board member, she also coordinates their Gender Parity Task Force. Sara serves on MASSCreative’s leadership council, and as a member-at-large on the board of the Alliance for Jewish Theater. She received her MFA in dramaturgy from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theatre School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University, and a certificate in community-based theatre from Cornerstone Theater’s summer institute.

Tags:  #SC17ArtsAct  Sara Brookner  StageSource Board 

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On Being "Pissed" in 2017: The Stage Source Conference

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Thursday, May 25, 2017

By Adam Sanders

In an interview published in the Harvard Business review Twyla Tharp, the legendary choreographer was prompted by the interviewer: “You’ve said repeatedly that every act of creation is an act of violence and destruction and that one of the artist’s most valuable conditions is ‘being pissed.’” While the prompt is provocative, her response is more constructive: “It’s not the anger per se that’s valuable; it’s the energy that can come from it.”  I haven’t spoken to an artist in Boston that’s not “pissed” right now and the energy in the community is palpable. It’s good that we’re pissed! But we’ve got to come together to collaboratively harness this energy to address specific challenges. That’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to the Stage Source Conference this June 17th. 
The theme for this year’s conference is “Arts Activism: Where Do You Fit In?”  I know many people in the community have a strong sense of themselves as activists, but for me the question has always lived somewhere in the back of my mind. Recently it’s become a primary concern.  I’m sure I’m not alone.  This conference will provide opportunities to be inspired, reflect and brainstorm, get practical advice from actors, playwright, designers, administrators (you name it!), and will conclude with a community session where the group will come together, as activists, and outline goals to tackle in the years ahead. 
You learn pretty quickly in acting that the answer is always in your scene partner.  Looking forward to seeing my partners at the conference and hearing their questions and answers!


ADAM SANDERS BIO: Adam Sanders is the Associate Artistic Director for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in Boston, MA and the Associate Director of the Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College where CSC is the theater in residence. Adam oversees educational and community engagement for CSC, including serving as director for the company’s two actor-training programs: The Apprentice Program and CSC2, as well as directing the annual Stage2 performance series. At Babson, Adam works to strengthen the synergies between arts engagement and entrepreneurial education by programming a year-long performing arts season, cultivating workshops and discussion, and coordinating an undergraduate scholarship program for student-artists.

Tags:  #SC17ArtsAct  Adam Sanders  Babson Arts  StageSource  StageSource Board 

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Why this topic now?

Posted By Julie Hennrikus, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

This year is a conference year for StageSource, and we are excited about our June 17 convening. When we picked our topic last September, we decided to focus on "Arts Activism: Where Do You Fit In?", thinking it would be about the theater community taking on a larger role in advocacy regarding government funding, and around space issues. Given the changes in the past few months, including the potential abolishment of the NEA and the NEH, we are expanding the focus of the conference. Rather than focusing on what the arts community needs, we are going to focus on what our statement of purpose is. How do we intersect with the community? Education? Science? Housing and development? Other sectors? What do we offer? Where can we do better? How do the arts intersect with politics? What is the role of the artist as citizen?

The structure of the day will be interesting, opening with a keynote by Tory Bullock, a panel with arts activists, a conference wide session with Matt Wilson to talk about arts advocacy, with some community organizing lessons for the community. At lunch we will have sessions for specific areas (marketing for new work, playwrights pitching to directors, raising money in 2017, etc.) and roundtables focusing on the business of the arts.


After lunch we will be working on the statement of purpose. There will be two sessions for performative devised work to be created. There will also be several working groups who focus on writing a draft of statements of purpose for the arts community. We look forward to this full day of action, activism, and investment.


Register here. And stay tuned for more input on why this is important to the StageSource board and conference committee.

Tags:  #SC17ArtsAct  Arts Activism  Conference  Julie Hennrikus  StageSource 

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