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Apply to conVERGE
conVERGE residency for IBPoC artists
Supported by the Victoria Foundation
conVERGE is a residency and mentorship program that supports emerging and early-career Indigenous, Black, and artists of colour to develop work in 2022, offered through a partnership between Intrepid Theatre and Puente Theatre.
The program was founded in 2021 by Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, artistic director of Puente Theatre, and Holly Lam, former associate producer at Intrepid Theatre.
In its inaugural year, conVERGE won the CRD Community Impact Award at the 2021 Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards.
Due to systemic discrimination, IBPoC artists face all kinds of barriers working in the arts and in the theatre sector, and there is a gap in mentorship and support across the industry, including here in our community on Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories (Victoria). The conVERGE residency will support three emerging or early-career local performance-based artists who identify as IBPoC to develop a new or in-progress work. Selected artists will have a residency at the Intrepid Studio, advance their skills in a chosen focus area under the mentorship of an IBPoC professional, connect with other selected artists, receive an honorarium of $1,000, have opportunities to present their work, and receive additional support from program mentor Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, the artistic director of Puente Theatre. conVERGE 2022 is produced by Mercedes and Olivia Wheeler.
To converge is to move toward one point or location, to unite in a common interest or focus, to come together. A verge is a brink, a threshold, an outer margin; as a verb, verge means to head in a certain direction; on the verge of means to be at the point where something is about to happen. As IBPoC, we know what it’s like to be on outer margins, but we also know what it is to come together and re-centre those margins. IBPoC artists have always created innovative and bold work, and we know that the arts can help push our culture into the equitable, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive future we are all striving to create. The work of IBPoC artists is vital to that movement, and conVERGE, as a program designed, produced by, and for IBPoC, aims to facilitate connections and amplify local IBPoC work and perspectives.
The residency in brief:
- A two-part studio residency at the Intrepid Theatre Club for development and creation space. Part 1 of the residency will be a minimum of 30 hours of studio time in April, May, or June 2022, and Part 2 will be scheduled in the Summer or Fall of 2022 in consultation with the selected artists.
- 8 hours of collaboration time with a paid IBPoC professional mentor in an area of focus chosen by the selected artist.
- The opportunity to present an online reading or workshop presentation; if public health guidelines permit, a mini live invited performance at the Intrepid Studio; and/or an online community gathering.
- 4 hours of additional mentorship time and production/development support from conVERGE producer and program mentor Mercedes Bátiz-Benét.
- Ongoing administrative support from conVERGE producer Olivia Wheeler.
- An honorarium of $1,000.
In order for conVERGE to offer selected artists what they actually need and want to be able to develop their work, each residency will be customized based on input received in the applications. The application asks artists to consider the components offered in the residency and express what they think is important, what should be prioritized, and how they will use the components for their proposed project or idea.
For full details about each component, see ‘The residency in depth’ below.
How To Apply
Submit your answers to the questions outlined in the conVERGE Application pdf as a written document, video recording or audio recording to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any access needs that we can support, or questions, please contact Olivia at email@example.com. Phone or video calls can be arranged through email.
Applications close February 21, 2022 (11:59 pm).
All applicants will be notified of selection results by March 15, 2022, and Part 1 of the residencies will take place in April, May, and June.
Feedback from the 2021 conVERGE Artists:
“The mentorship was very beneficial for me. I had wanted to connect with Mercedes since I came to Canada so conVERGE was the perfect opportunity for that. I am incredibly gratedful that she was able to mentor me personally in my project. Also, having a space and time specifically dedicated to development of my piece was extremely beneficial.” – Regina Rios
“conVERGE helped me discover a whole part of who I am as an artist. It gave me the support to be able to dive into my culture, which I had been wanting to work on as an artist but didn’t know how to approach it before. Having the opportunity to do this residency helped me feel more confident as an artist and makes me feel confident that I am going the right direction with my career. This program also opened up opportunities and new doors, such as supporting a Canada Council Grant to continue developing my conVERGE project into a full-length piece.” – Olivia Wheeler
- Identify as Indigenous, Black, and/or a person of colour (IBPoC)
- Be based on Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories (colonially known as the greater Victoria area)
- Identify as an emerging or early-career artist who will benefit from the mentorship and support offered in this program
There are no restrictions regardless of age, artistic performance practice, or content of the proposed project. conVERGE is geared toward individual artists, both to customize mentorships and due to ongoing public health concerns regarding Covid-19. However, artists can work with collaborators or collective members during the residency if they choose to do so.
We welcome all emerging and early-career Indigenous, Black, and artists of colour to apply, including those who are queer, trans, disabled, d/Deaf, mad, neurodivergent, newcomers, refugees, or who have other intersecting identities. We recognize that Indigenous and Black artists face specific racism and systemic barriers in the arts and particularly encourage applications from artists who identify as part of those communities. We are and will always be open to feedback on how we can make conVERGE more accessible and welcoming. We encourage a diversity of artistic performance practices, including interdisciplinary work and decolonized models of performance outside the lens of Eurocentric theatre. Theatre can be whatever we make it – deep experimentation and pu
Part 1 of the residencies will take place in spring 2021 throughout
April, May, and June, in the following timeframes:
April 4-17, 2022
May 17-31, 2022
June 13-26, 2022
Part 2 will be scheduled in the Summer or Fall of 2022 in consultation with the selected artists.
Development & Creation Space
The Intrepid Studio space is available to the artist during their two-part studio residency periods during daytime hours, evenings, and weekends. Participants will be asked to arrange a schedule of times they will be in the space at the start of the residency, which can then be updated throughout the month if needed.
We understand not everyone will be able to be physically present or feel comfortable doing so due to the ongoing pandemic, which is why use of the space is not a requirement and the residency can be completed virtually. However, conVERGE’s mandate is to support local artists, and eligibility is still limited to those based on Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories (greater Victoria).
Covid Safety: As of January 2021, The Intrepid Studio is currently closed for outside public events and is used for Intrepid Theatre programming, residency artists, and rentals that do not have audiences; the use of the studio will change depending on the current Covid situation. A full Covid Safety Plan can be found at:
We know from our own experiences and from speaking with other artists that mentorship is a major gap within theatre companies in Victoria. Mentorship is crucial for early-career artists in developing their craft and making connections to advance their career, and we are excited to pair each participant with a paid mentor who identifies as IBPoC. The mentor will support the artist in a focus area of the artist’s choice; for example, dramaturgy, directing, acting, choreography, costume, set, and/or lighting design, self-production, marketing, production design, grant-writing, live streaming & digital platforms, etc. The participating artist will have 8 hours of collaboration time with the mentor over the course of the residency and how the collaboration time is distributed is to be agreed on by the mentor and the artist).
Presentation of Work
Artists will have the opportunity to do an online reading, live-streamed performance, or workshop presentation through a digital platform.
If health regulations allow, artists will also have the option to do a small invited or public performance (likely 5 or fewer audience members) at the Intrepid Studio.
A presentation of the work is not a requirement of the residency – just an option for artists who would like to use it.
For IBPoC, getting together is vital – it allows us to share, be heard, be ourselves, listen to and empower each other. Artists will have the opportunity to host an online community gathering along with their reading or presentation, or as a stand-alone event as part of their creative process. The gathering could be a post-show Q&A with the artist, a workshop discussion, or time to simply reflect and share, and could be an IBPoC-only space or otherwise. Like the presentation of work, an online gathering is not a requirement, but if desired by the artist, administrative support such as set-up and/or facilitation will be provided.
Accessibility is a priority for both Intrepid and Puente Theatres. To us, accessibility means that anyone and everyone can equitably experience and participate in our theatre programming as artists and audience members. We are not at that goal yet, and we continue to learn and change the ways we work. Some accessibility initiatives we have incorporated include free tickets for d/Deaf, disabled, low-income, and other equity-seeking audience members, captioned videos, ASL interpretation, audio description, relaxed performances, a script library, and program information in languages other than English. There are many intersections between barriers that IBPoC and people with disabilities face, as well as many people who are part of both communities. We will work with artists to make sure their own accessibility needs are supported, as well as their goals for making their project accessible, whether for an online presentation as part of conVERGE, or in planning and learning for future iterations of the project.
Protocol and Decolonization
Intrepid Theatre and Puente Theatre are both settler-led organizations. We begin all our presentations with a territory acknowledgment, and we believe recognizing the people who have lived for generations on the lands we occupy is an important part of decolonizing, but we know decolonization must go much deeper than that and are continually working to make more profound changes as we work with Indigenous artists and partners. We recognize that Eurocentric theatre traditions are overvalued, to the detriment of Indigenous arts practices, and that our city and society are built on colonial violence; we welcome and seek out Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists who are engaging with decolonization in meaningful ways.
Artists will be paid an honorarium of $500 by Intrepid Theatre and an honorarium of $500 by Puente Theatre, for a total of $1,000.
Artists will receive additional support from Puente Theatre and Intrepid Theatre. During their residency, artists will have four hours of dedicated time with program producer and mentor Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (one hour per week or as arranged between the artist and Mercedes) for overall check-ins, mentorship, and/or production/development support. conVERGE producer Olivia Wheeler will be available throughout the residency for general questions and will be the main contact for artists. Administrative support such as printing documents and using office supplies is also available from Intrepid.
Expectations of selected artists
If selected for a conVERGE micro-residency, you will be expected to:
Be available during the first time slot of the residency you are selected for (to be confirmed with you) and set aside time to work on your proposed project.
Be available for meetings with your mentor and take full advantage of the time with them.
Attend a virtual gathering with conVERGE producers and the other selected artists at the beginning and at the end of the program.
Provide feedback on your experience to conVERGE producers (Olivia and Mercedes) at the end of your residency.
conVERGE is about process, not product, and there is no expectation that you will have a “finished” work or deliverable. We want to support you as an artist to do the work you want to do, rather than focusing on a finished product, show, or presentation.
Selection will be based on:
Impact for Emerging or Early-Career Artist (conVERGE will impact the artist’s artistic practice and advance their skills; they express what they want from the mentorship.)
Artistic Significance of Project (The artist is excited and passionate about the project; it is important to them and their communities.)
Feasibility of Project (The artist has a well thought out starting point and/or plan for the project, and ideas on how they will use their residency time.)
While we will use these criteria to assess applications, we know that systems like this can also act as gatekeeping: most of all, we will value the heart and artistic integrity of the project; we want to support artists who have thought through and are serious about their work, but who will benefit from mentorship, guidance, and resources.
Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, conVERGE producer and program mentor
As a Latinx immigrant artist in Canada, I acknowledge the privilege I have to be able to live, work, and create on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ nations, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to do so. I acknowledge the privilege I had in Mexico, my country of origin, as a cis-mestiza of Basque, Catalan, and Cora heritage, where I was spared the injustices, racism, and lack of opportunities Indigenous women endure every single day simply because the mix in the colour of my skin reflects my European heritage more so than that of my Náayerite ancestors. As an able-bodied and cis-woman of colour in Canada, I acknowledge the privilege and advantages I have over other fellow racialized and marginalized artists. As the artistic director of Puente Theatre, I acknowledge the privilege I have to be in a position of power and leadership in our community and to have the honour of being a fighting force and voice for marginalized and underrepresented artists. With privilege comes responsibility, and in the work that I do, I strive to help build a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community that one day will hopefully reflect, honour, include, and benefit from every single one of us, which is why I am thrilled to be working alongside Olivia on conVERGE, a platform that aims to support, nurture, and amplify emerging IBPoC performing artists in creating and developing new work in our city. I am beyond excited to meet you and I am humbled by the opportunity to, in any way I can, help your creativity flourish.
Olivia Wheeler, conVERGE producer
I am a queer mixed-race, Chinese Canadian performance designer, composer, theatre technician and artist that has the privilege to live, work, and create on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ nations. As a recent graduate from UVic in theatre and music, my individual artistic practice aims to challenge the definition of performance, push the parameters of traditional theatre, and create space for marginalized and underrepresented voices to be heard. After partaking in the inaugural year of the conVERGE program, I am honored to be a part of the conVERGE team for 2022 and work alongside Mercedes and the Puente and Intrepid teams. I want to honor the intersectionality within IBPoC community, to acknowledge that the struggles, experiences, and perspectives of each IBPoC individual differs greatly from one person to the next, and to recognize my own privilege as a racially ambiguous, cis, able-bodied settler. This program is more than just a micro-residency and mentorship; I hope that this is a space (both physically and in spirit) for emerging and early–career artists to discover, experiment, connect, and play. There is a magic and joy in seeing oneself and culture represented through art, and I hope conVERGE allows artists to feel heard without having to explain themselves, to present and represent their authentic selves, and to be celebrated.
Puente Theatre is dedicated to celebrating our country’s cultural diversity through theatrical experience. Since its founding in 1988, Puente has created, produced, translated, toured, and presented professional theatre from the perspective of people outside of the mainstream, bringing people together across boundaries, and exploring what it means to forge a future for our planet made out of billions of different and utterly unique identities. Recent shows include Fado, the Saddest Music in the World, Lieutenant Nun, Gruff, and El Jinete, the world’s first Mariachi opera.
Intrepid Theatre was founded in 1986 to produce the Victoria Fringe Festival, and continues to follow its mandate to enhance awareness and appreciation of contemporary theatre, by encouraging, developing, and producing new and/or experimental work, and promoting new artists. Currently, Intrepid produces the Victoria Fringe, as well as UNO Fest, a curated festival of one-person theatre; OUTstages, Victoria’s first queer theatre arts festival, which launched in 2015; and a presenting series. Intrepid operates two year-round venues, the Metro Studio and the Intrepid Theatre Club, and has run many programs over the years that support emerging artists and new curatorial voices, including the You Show series, New Play Reading series, Fringe Indigenous Artist Program, OUTstages Queer Youth Showcase, and UNO Works.