Forum: Women in Theatre – Chicago

Onward and Upward image for the Women in Theatre public forum in Chicago, IL

Onward and Upward

Presents a Public Forum on Women in Theatre
Mentorship Program Available

Featured Speaker: Minita Ghandi

When: January 9, 2017 . 7-9PM

Where: Vagabond School of the Arts (Chicago, IL)

Tickets: Free (RSVP Here)

“The Women in Theatre Mentorship Program aims at connecting artists in all different stages of their careers. Through this program we hope to create a culture where we lift each other up, support each other, and engage in each others lives. After completing a survey expressing interests and desire to be a mentor vs a mentee, artists will be paired with each other and begin the mentorship process. Some suggested guidelines will be outlined at our meeting on January 9th, but new mentors/mentees will have resources and contacts to assist with the beginning of the relationship.”

– Colleen Fee & Erika Haaland, Forum Organizers

Vagabond School of the Arts in Chicago will host the Onward and Upward Women in Theatre Forum. On January 9, 2017, the first meeting will gather to begin conversation on the obstacles and, more importantly, solutions for circumstances women in theater face while pursuing their careers and honing their craft. Colleen says the goal of the forum is to address the lack of mentorship for women within the theater community and create opportunities for mentor relationships for every experience level.

The Facebook Event describes the night as a “public forum held to dream together about the kind of culture we would like to see become a reality.” Minita Ghandi will be the featured speaker at the event. Ghandi is an actress/playwright/storyteller and member of Statera, an organization that meets annually in Colorado whose goal is to empower women in the theater by “expanding employment options, improving salary, and removing barriers to growth and achievement through mentorship, internship, research, outreach, networking, and support to empower them to reach their full potential by bridging the gap between passion, preparation, and opportunity.”

Ghandi will present the mentorship program kicked off by Onward and Upward, and the night will then include small group discussions with attendees. The event will also include opportunities to sign up for future “breakout sessions” on specific topics and challenges with discussion on possible solutions and initiatives. Two of the confirmed breakout sessions will be one on sexual harassment and another on Parenthood/Motherhood in the theater. Other breakout sessions will be created and shaped based on the needs and interests of forum attendees. Spencer Hewitt will attend the kickoff forum on Jan. 9  and has volunteered to lead the breakout session on Parenthood/Motherhood in the Theatre to be held at a future date. Sign-ups will be available at the forum. Contact info for the forum is included below.

Co-organizer Colleen Fee commented that the impetus to starting the forum came from seeing challenges for women in the theater explored but rarely followed by organized initiative. One of the greatest absences, she noted, was the lack of mentorship for women pursuing their career – an aspect that is present in other professions. Hoping to create a work culture of support versus competition for women facing challenges in the theater, the mentorship program will create a network of women at different stages willing to assist others who may benefit from their experience at any level.

Just with Ireland’s own #WakingTheFeminists movement, Onward and Upward is motivated by the empowerment and wisdom that comes from women organizing and speaking out – the simplest and arguably most effective way to start a movement. Fee’s own passion, addressing sexual harassment, will be pursued in a breakout session by encouraging the group to collectively ask questions that will bring the issues to light and create solutions to provide protection.

We are so excited to see this group take form! Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of a collective that shares your stories and works for your progress. I hope to meet you there!

Show up. Speak out. Make Change.

Auditioning Mom


Colleen Fee, Organizer:
Tickets: FREE (RSVP Here)
When: January 9, 2017 . 7-9PM
Where: Vagabond School of the Arts


3 thoughts on “Forum: Women in Theatre – Chicago

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