The Bridge Initiative Co-Founders to Speak at Convention in Denver

After receiving local and national attention for The Bridge Initiative's inaugural efforts to further gender parity in the Valley, Tracy Liz Miller and Brenda Jean Foley are speaking at the Statera Conference in Denver on Sunday, October 16th (http://www.staterafoundation.org/conference/). The conference aims to unite theatre leaders, practitioners, students, advocates, and audience from around the country in a conversation about gender balance with the goal of taking "action to bring women into full and equal participation in the American theatre."

Gender parity is a hot topic across industries, and though the theatre's audience is majority female, the decision makers at most theatres, as well as writers whose work is produced, directors, designers, and even actors employed, are majority male. Miller and Foley, recognizing Arizona as no exception, were awarded a seed funding grant in January of 2015 to launch The Bridge Initiative as a first step toward identifying and rectifying the problem locally.

A keystone of The Bridge Initiative's first offering was the world premiere of a new play, Anatomy of a Hug, by Kat Ramsburg, in June 2015. Since that time, they have produced numerous play readings and launched their second new work contest, receiving more than 160 scripts from four countries and 25 states. Semifinalists will be announced mid-October, with a winner announcement expected January 1stin preparation for a February workshop period.

Part of Miller and Foley's vision is to position Arizona artists in the national conversation. The winner of this year's new work contest will be read at partner theatres in Massachusetts, Ohio, and New York City. The relationships developed at Statera next weekend in Denver will serve to further this collaborative spirit and again place the company at the center of the national dialogue.

The Bridge Initiative is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region, with the aim of gender parity across all theatrical disciplines. Its mission also includes bridging the gap between academia and the professional world to encourage students to envision a clearer path to becoming lifelong artists.

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