Did you know that many of the highest-paying, most coveted backstage jobs in the theater world are still held by--wait for it-- white men? And that men, on average, make 1.61x more than women working in the industry? We're trying to change that.
Open Stage Project is a free after-school program whose mission is to achieve gender parity in the backstage theatrical arts by educating, mentoring, and empowering NYC public high school girls to learn about and gain pathways to pursue backstage (and offstage) careers.
We’ve enlisted some of the most accomplished women working behind the scenes in theater, film, and TV — Costume Designers, Company Managers, Lighting Technicians, Carpenters, Producers—and, with their help, introduced girls to jobs and careers they may not even have known existed.
Many of our students have never seen a Broadway show, but our aim isn’t just to provide greater access to the arts through tickets (many fine organizations already do this). We mean business! We’re focused on workforce development. After attending performances, our students go backstage for intimate conversations with female crew. They learn about viable careers and union membership. They tour professional prop, costume, and scene shops. They attend job fairs. They network with women in the industry. These opportunities are all offered as part of our ACT 1 program. Since its inception in 2018, ACT 1 has welcomed hundreds of girls from all five boroughs.
In 2019 we added ACT II. Girls in this year-long application-only program are each paired with a mentor, a female working professional, who helps them with resume-building, school selection, job interviews, and business communications--skills that will benefit them no matter what career path they choose. We envision ACT II as a long-term commitment to students.
We were just hitting our stride when COVID shuttered our theaters. But our show goes on. We've continued to host virtual events. All thanks to a mostly volunteer staff.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (July 2021)