CHICAGO (May 19, 2021) About Face Theatre announces the launch of the Green Room Collective, a new program for early career LGBTQ+ arts leaders. This program builds on over two decades of leadership development work at AFT and will help advance the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders in their theatre-related career and educational goals. The Green Room Collective represents a bold investment in the future of the LGBTQ+ community and the arts. This program has been made possible in part thanks to a grant from the Arts Work Fund.
In a theatre, the "green room" is a location backstage where the artists prepare for performance. The green room is a space for camaraderie and community, vulnerability and questioning. The Green Room is often the last stop before you take the stage. The Green Room Collective program embraces these aspects to create a supportive platform to springboard young leaders in the LGBTQ+ community toward the advancement of their goals.
To ensure that this opportunity is equitable, all participants are paid a sustainable wage to collaborate on artistic and administrative projects that are at the heart of AFT's work. They receive dedicated and individualized support from AFT staff and artists to cultivate skills in areas of their choosing, including devising new works, producing, development, and marketing.
The inaugural participants of the Green Room Collective are Sharon Pasia(they/them or she/her) and Kirsten Baity (they/them). Both participants have a strong history of creative leadership both with About Face and beyond. The Collective is already hard at work with Artistic Director Megan Carney (she/her) on an innovative new program exploring LGBTQ+ history through unique perspectives that will debut in the coming year. "It was important to me that we hire two artists with strong creative ideas as well as specific areas where they would like to practice and grow," said Carney. "Sharon and Kirsten each bring powerful and unique skills in artistic craft and collaborating with others. They also have truly inspiring ideas for leading the field. That combination is the perfect match for this moment at About Face."
About Face Theatre established itself as a place for LGBTQ+ youth leaders over 20 years ago with the creation of the About Face Youth Theatre. Over the years, AFT's nationally-recognized education program grew to include the organization's community engagement and touring shows as well as the Youth Task Force. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Carney, Managing Director Logan Jones, and Associate Artistic Director Mikael Burke, AFT is advancing this company-wide mission to provide a supportive experiential learning environment for young people to explore and expand their leadership skills. About Face Youth Theatre has produced 17 original devised programs since 1999 (with another currently in development); the Youth Task Force recently produced two years of KINSHIP: AN ALL-AGES QUEER VARIETY SHOW, which offered a welcoming place for creativity and expression for participants under 21-years-old; and AFT's touring ensemble created the POWER IN PRIDE AT HOME series last summer in response to the pandemic.
ABOUT THE GREEN ROOM COLLECTIVE PARTICIPANTS
Sharon Pasia (they/them or she/her)
Sharon Pasia is a Chicago-based Filipinx actor, performer, and producer. They served as part of About Face Theatre's Youth Ensemble for four years and its Youth Task Force for two. Some AFT productions include CHECKING BOXES, BRAVE LIKE THEM, 20/20 and A GLOW UP.
Other theatre and film credits include PAKALOLO SWEET (Nani), HOLY SATURDAY (Alice), and THE TELEPHONE GAME (Rose). In their free time, you can catch them at home, eating veggies and chillin' with their bunny, Sprout, whilst attempting to play the ukulele.
Kirsten Baity (they/them)
Kirsten Baity is a playwright, lyricist, performer, director, and teaching artist who recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Theatre. Kirsten's work has been produced at Theater Between Addresses, Quaranstream Play Festival, Columbia College 12-hour Play festival, Columbia College Musical Theater Festival, Perceptions Theatre, The Youth Empowerment Performance Project, and About Face Theatre.
They have devised plays with Goodman Theatre's Playbuild Ensemble, About Face Youth Theatre, For Youth Inquiry, and Free Street. In addition to their work directly related to theatre, they have consulted on two curriculums to help uplift queer and trans young people of color in the education system and is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Intimacy Coordinators of Color.
About Face Theatre
About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond. Learn more at aboutfacetheatre.com .