Professional Development

Windy City Times "30 Under 30" 2018 Honoree

I'm very honored to have been counted among The Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Honorees for this year.  I was listed among some of the most talented, intelligent, and selfless individuals in the city.  These people are truly creating positive change in our city, and will continue to lead Chicago into a brighter future. 

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Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Awards held in Bridgeport
The 19th annual Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Awards were held June 20 at Polo Cafe in Bridgeport. A diverse group of people from 18 to 30 were honored for their activism, cultural work, entrepreneurship, promotional work and more.

Windy City Times welcomed co-sponsors AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago House, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health and Polo Catering.

See full list of honorees and their stories here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/30-Under-30-to-be-honored-June-20-in-19th-annual-award-ceremony/63255.html .

And the Windy City Times Pride issue has a full review of honorees in PDF form here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/images/publications/wct/2018-06-20/current.pdf .

Second Annual artEquity Alumni Convening

The artEquity Facilitation Program is an annual training offering theatre professionals the opportunity to build the practical and analytical skills necessary to address diversity and inclusion issues at an interpersonal, group, and organizational level. Led by a diverse team of staff and facilitators, participants explore issues of identity, privilege, structural power and ally-building, as well as best practices for organizational change.

This year's cohort participated in two trainings in Los Angeles, California.  During their second gathering, October 18-20, alumni of the program came together for strategic planning, networking with the new cohort, and support of artEquity's work nationwide. 

It was a time of laughter, dancing, strategy, courage, and growth for alumni.  We also had opportunity to get to know the newest cohort members, and discuss the things they are passionate about. 

Alumni concluded the weekend with a strategy to cultivate and bolster artEquity's resources and influence in the arts community. 

 

Worldcon 75: Theatre, Genre Fiction, and the reality of Global Warming

Last week I attended the 75th annual World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, Finland. Worldcon is an international gathering of the science fiction and fantasy community. The first Worldcon was held in 1939, and, after a break during WWII, the event has been held annually since 1946, with the location changing each year. 

Modern Worldcons are held over five days and are attended by thousands of members – over 6,000 people attended Worldcon 75. Attendees included writers, artists, fans, editors, publishers, academics and dealers, all with an interest in science fiction.

Worldcons are not just about the written word. Over the decades Worldcons have grown to embrace science fiction in all the forms in which it appears, including film, TV, art, comics, anime and manga, and gaming. Attending this convention as a theatre maker (though I have attended Harry Potter and Teen Wolf conventions and The MCM London Comic Con over the past 8 years) was fascinating. I was able to attend panels, workshops and presentations exploring things like diverse representation in fiction and media, collaborative concepts, devised performance, and the science behind climate change and it's implications on the future.  All of these topics serve to inform my work and my creative process. 

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Some of the most immediately relevant sessions I attended were those relating to climate change, and humanity's perceptions of the natural world at different points in our history. As I prepare to join my colleague Jack for an international, Climate Change focused devising workshop in London next week, as well as work towards producing a Climate Change Theatre Action in Chicago in November, these conversations were both informative and inspiring. Speculative fiction and fantasy writers have been imagining a post-Anthropocene world for a long time. Chats with and presentations by scientific researchers, anthropologists, historians and novelists have proved to be some of the most valuable research I have done for this project. I look forward to how they will inform our work with the CCTA.

Another fantastic experience at Worldcon was a workshop I attended led by playwright Tajinder Singh Hayer. Over the course of the workshop we devised possible post-apocalyptic scenarios, and the social, political, and cultural implications of chemical, biological, and warfare related disasters on characters and narrative. The folks I was devising with were a retired parole officer and an astrophysicist. It was fascinating to see how our different experiences and knowledge bases affected the story and characters of our fictional world. 

Worldcon, though not explicitly marketed toward theatre practitioners, is a really wonderful opportunity for networking and professional and artistic development. I would definitely recommend checking out next year's Worldcon in San Jose, CA, or in two years in Dublin, Ireland!