SpeakEasy University

SEP 29 – NOV 24

Sign up for a session!

At SpeakEasy Stage Company, we are dedicated to championing emerging arts leaders and facilitating room for education, conversation, and growth. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all aspects of both theatre and education, we have decided to expand our programming so that all interested members of our community can take this time to continue their professional journeys from home.

Join SpeakEasy staff and Boston artists for a series of professional development seminars aimed at providing an inside look at how our administrative office operates, all the steps that go into bringing a show to production, and what kinds of careers exist in the theatre industry.

The content is specifically designed for college-level students and/or theatre practitioners with some experience beyond high school looking to develop their careers. But all patrons and supporters who are passionate about theatre are welcome to audit the sessions to learn more about the inner workings of a professional arts organization.

Each session will consist of a 30 minute information session, diving deep into a focused topic, and a 45 minute artist forum and discussion, applying the lessons learned into the real world. Participants will have the opportunity for questions and conversation in both parts of the session.

Should participants desire additional coaching or have questions that do not get answered during the session, select SpeakEasy staff members will offer optional “office hours”, where folks may sign-up for one-on-one time to delve further into the material.

Offered every Tuesday at 5pm, our Professional Development Seminar Series will be accessible via Zoom. Participants will be welcome to attend all eight weeks, or can sign up for individual sessions that interest them. All sessions are Pay What You Can!

SpeakEasy University is sponsored by the Boston law firm Bove & Langa – a respected innovator in the Trusts & Estates Field and a supporter of Boston artists for over twenty years.  


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Week 1: September 29
Running a Company & Planning a Season

At our initial meeting, SpeakEasy Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault will begin by explaining the role of an Artistic Director, talking through his priorities and goals as the founder and head of SpeakEasy Stage, and explaining the season selection process. He will then be joined by Dawn M. Simmons (Front Porch Arts Collective), Courtney Sale (Merrimack Rep), and Louise Hamill (Fresh Ink) for an Artistic Director’s forum.

Week 2: October 6
Exploring the Production Process

Learn how to take a piece from conception to production with a crash course from Production Manager Paul Melone and Associate Manager of Production & Operations Dominique Burford. They will then be joined by Costume Designer Miranda Kai Giurleo, Lighting Designer Karen Perlow, Sound Designer Anna Drummond, and Scenic Designer Baron E. Pugh to delve further into the tech and production process.

Week 3: October 13
Building Community & Putting Equity/Anti-Racism into Action

Artistic Director Paul Daigneault will return once more to share details of SpeakEasy’s commitment to accessible and inclusive work. Community Programs Manager Alex Lonati will also outline SpeakEasy’s programs and best practices for community engagement and outreach, both in person and virtually. They will then be joined by Olawumi Akinwumi (Hibernian Hall) and Candelaria Silva-Collins (Huntington Theatre Company) for a Community Engagement forum.

Week 4: October 20
How to Speak to Audiences – All About Marketing

Explore the basics of building a marketing campaign, creating a cohesive vision, speaking with audiences, and building your community with Director of Marketing & Communications Jim Torres and Creative Services Manager Evan Turissini. They will then be joined by Temple Gill (Huntington Theatre Company), Nicholas Peterson (Central Square Theater), and Kelly Ransom (Hibernian Hall) for a Marketing forum.

Week 5: October 27
Fundraising, Relationship Building, and Developing your Community

Join Director of Development Cathi Ianno and Development Coordinator Frankie Concepcion for an introduction to the world of fundraising, including creating an annual fund strategy, relationship building with donors, applying for grants, and planning special events. They will then be joined by Andrew Russell (Museum of Science) for a Development forum.

Week 6: November 10
Creating Something New – Play Development & Dramaturgy

Dive into SpeakEasy’s new play development program, The Boston Project, with Community Programs Manager Alex Lonati. Learn what it takes to take a play from an initial idea to a fully formed production. She will then be joined by educator/dramaturg/director Pascale Florestal, playwright MJ Halberstadt, and playwright Eliana Pipes for a dramaturgy and playwriting forum.

Week 7: November 17
From the Page to the Stage: All About Directing

SpeakEasy’s Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault returns for a look inside the rehearsal room, outlining his process as a director. He will explore every step of the process – from the very first concept meeting to the tech process to the final curtain call. He will then be joined by other veteran Boston directors M. Bevin O’Gara, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Megan Sandberg-Zakian for a director’s forum.

Week 8: November 24
Now For the Job Search: All You Need to Know about Job Hunting

To end our professional development series, SpeakEasy’s Production team Paul Melone and Dominique Burford will return for a crash course on all things related to getting a job in the theatre industry – resume building, interviewing, tax forms, and everything in between. Rather than a forum, this session will end with the opportunity for networking with other emerging theatre leaders attending the session.