Our activities are inspired by insights from professionals who work in both the performing arts and business, and supported by data.
We document everything through videos, photos, and interviews, culminating in comprehensive post-mortem reviews of our initiatives.
Each program’s documentation is readily available for other organizations to implement, expand on, and/or partner with Isinglass to pursue.
Are you a performing arts organization and are interested in working with us to develop your audience or transform your operations?
Isinglass is a 501(c)(3) exempt nonprofit organization.
Douglas Valenta (Chair) is a dramatist and software engineer based in Portland, Oregon. With John Zajac, he is an Isinglass co-founder.
Brent Berselli (Secretary) is an associate at Holland & Knight’s Portland, Oregon office, and is a member of the firm’s Private Wealth Services Practice Group.
Ian Gulliver (Treasurer) served as technical director for 7 years at the 100-seat Ghent Playhouse in Ghent, New York, before moving to the San Francisco Bay-area to work as a software engineer.
Marianne Falk is the director of the annual fund at Catlin Gabel School. She has eight years of experience in the non-profit sector, primarily in fundraising. Marianne’s passion is in the arts and her educational background is in art history and international art business.
Rob Huge has had a seventeen-year career in higher education, and is the founder of Greenfields Academy in Chicago. Rob is an Isinglass founding board member.
Carol Zajac has over thirty years experience as a higher education administrator, most recently serving as a college president in New York. Carol is an Isinglass founding board member.
Learn to produce your own theater
Egg is an arts leadership summer program for Portland-area high school students. Over the course of 7 weeks, Egg students work together under the mentorship of professional theater artists with the goal of returning to their school with the skills and confidence to create student-led theater with their classmates.
Throughout the program, Egg students hone their creative and leadership skills by producing short shows with their colleagues. Students master the business and art of theater by analyzing scripts, learning to sell their ideas, directing actors, creating sets, costumes, and props, and working within a budget on a deadline.
First thing in the morning, we focus on the skills needed to build an audience, fundraise for a performance, network with other artists, and effectively function in the business aspect of the arts world. Some skills learned during these sessions include marketing, audience development, fundraising, communication, conflict resolution, and many of the other basic skills required to be an arts leader.
Next is ensemble training in college level acting and performance methods. Each week we work with artists from local companies like Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Action/Adventure Theatre and Third Rail Repertory Theatre to focus on specific techniques, like Viewpoints, Suzuki, stage combat and safety, improvisation, and clowning.
In the afternoon, Egg’s resident faculty of professional artists work with students to develop the skills required to bring a production to life, including directing, design, stage management, lighting, technology, and script analysis.
Resident faculty and guest speakers develop students’ leadership skills.
Students work with guest artists to learn methods for developing performances.
Resident faculty teach students to produce theater through hands-on experiences.
We know Egg is hard work, so we build in plenty of opportunities for breaks throughout the day.
Friday afternoons are spent completing collaborative performance challenges that must be accomplished in a set amount of time. These may be things like interpreting a non-theatrical text for the stage, or developing characters based on abstract paintings. You never know quite what to expect. (And neither do we!)
“I’m really excited to put on a show with all the skills that I’ve learned with Egg, and to bring theater to my school. I think it’s going to be something a little bit revolutionary for my school.”
— Taylor, Egg 2014 student
Metropolitan Learning Center class of 2015
“After what the students have worked on in this program, working with their peers is going to feel very comfortable. We’ve given them a map of sorts to get from the idea to the execution.”
— Alexandra Kuechler-Caffall, Egg 2014 faculty
stage director, Brooklyn, New York
“Whatever you learn in theater, I think you can use outside of theater: learning to work with others, being able to communicate . . . So those are the kinds of things from Egg that I want to take back to my school.”
— Hailey, Egg 2014 student
Clackamas High School class of 2017
Currently, we’re creating a virtual world where online audiences will take on a role in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. They’ll explore Prospero’s island of magic and mystery together, ultimately blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s illusion.
The performing arts industry must address the endemic problem of audience attrition and declining interest in order to survive in the 21st Century. Data show that more and more of the public are not even including us on their list of entertainment options, making our efforts to appeal to them through programming useless.
Since 1992, the national percentage of people who attended a performing arts event in the last year has fallen by 38% (from 13.5% to 8.3% in 2012). That figure is at a thirty-year low, and continues to drop each year.
Source: National Endowment for the Arts
Isinglass is a 501(c)(3) exempt nonprofit organization.
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715 NW Hoyt St #3903
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Copyright © 2015 Isinglass. Except where otherwise noted, all content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.