Interview: Maia Maiden of THE GREENROOM a new musical theatre fellowship at Ordway Center For The Performing Arts

GreenRoom is a first-of-its-kind fellowship in Minnesota running for six weeks that’s created by and for BIPOC artists.

José Casas Receives Inaugural Dominic Orlando Playwriting AwardThe Ordway's GreenRoom is a paid musical theater training fellowship created by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists. The GreenRoom the first-of-its-kind fellowship in Minnesota running for six weeks that's created by and for BIPOC artists. Maia Maiden, the Ordway's new Director of Arts Learning and Community Engagement is the creator of the program.

The GreenRoom intends to create a learning environment that is empowering and supportive to instill the confidence, understanding, and skills necessary to excel in the challenging and rewarding field of musical theater.

We chat with Maia about the GreenRoom and why she created the GreenRoom and how this program will impact the Twin Cities theatre community.

What inspired you to create the GreenRoom program?

As the musical theater landscape continues to change, be more inclusive and tell a wider range of stories and experiences-representation and resources matter.

Financial barriers to growth and development opportunities still remain, which can have a direct impact from audition room to the stage. In some cases, the artists who advance in their careers tend to be those who benefited from years of costly training and dedicated mentorship. Combining a paid fellowship with amazing faculty, innovative curriculum (including business and wellness) and one-on-one mentorship flips the script to provide a model of specialized training.

Why is GreenRoom an important theatre initiative in the Twin Cities?

Musical theater is an especially demanding artform. To become a professional, an artist must excel at three difficult skills that require specialized training-singing, acting and dancing. And while there are fee-based classes within the Twin Cities metropolitan area, there were no free training programs to acquire all the skills and become an emerging musical theater artist post high school/college. GreenRoom is an accessible program to champion artists and add to their already wonderful talents.

How did you go about in selecting the GreenRoom faculty?

Faculty were selected with an eye toward a variety of lived experiences, dedicated knowledge and different entry points into the craft. In addition, being excited to support the fellows and work with the other faculty in a collaborative environment was key (not to mention having fun!).

What impact are you hoping that the GreenRoom program will make?

The power of art is undeniable. Artists continue to add to our ecosystem with their talents in the most joyous, thought provoking and exciting ways. Hopefully, GreenRoom can complement their trajectory with a supportive learning environment focused on excelling in a challenging and rewarding field.

José Casas Receives Inaugural Dominic Orlando Playwriting Award

Why is diversity, equity and inclusion important to you in the Twin Cities theatre community?

Reflecting our communities and supporting the artists therein is essential. From the audition room to the stage and out into the audience-the content of the stories and intricacies of the characters coupled with complexities of time period and culture demand more. More on how it looks and feels. More on what is says. More on the takeaways and the embodiment of the experience. The importance of diversity, equity and inclusion yield to all of these dynamics and continues to be necessary work in uplifting the theater.

What do you hope the selected students take away from this fellowship?

Our hope is that fellows feel encouraged and nurtured in a collaborative environment where their performing arts skills are expanded and their stories and practices are elevated in way that brings them to stages in Minnesota, nationally and across the world.

For more information on the GreenRoom and the application process, click here

Photos courtesy of the Ordway

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