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.
Applications for conVERGE 2023 are now open and close September 29th at 11:59 pm. All applicants will be notified of selection results by October 2nd, 2023.
Please note only one artist will be selected for conVERGE 2023.
residency for IBPoC artists
conVERGE is a residency and mentorship program that supports emerging and early-career Indigenous, Black, and artists of colour to develop work, 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 Com-munity Impact Award at the 2021 Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards.
conVERGE 2023 is produced by Mercedes Bátiz-Benét.
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 supports 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 and producer Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, artistic director of Puente Theatre.
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 maximum of 30 hours of studio time in October, November, and/or December, and Part 2 will be and additional 10 hours of studio time in December 2023 with a possibility to extend to January 2024. Specific dates and times will be determined in consultation with the selected artist.
8 hours of collaboration time with a paid IBPoC mentor in an area of focus chosen by the 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 Mercedes Bátiz-Benét.
An honorarium of $1,000.
For conVERGE to offer selected artists what they 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
Click on the button below to access the conVERGE 2023 Application pdf and submit a written document, video or audio recording to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 29th, 2023 at 11:59 pm.
If you have any access needs that we can support, or questions, please contact Mercedes at email@example.com.
Phone or video calls can be arranged through email.
Applications close September 29th, 2023 (11:59 pm).
All applicants will be notified of selection results by October 2nd, 2023.
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 in regard to 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 pushing and/or dismantling boundaries is what conVERGE is all about.
The Residency In Depth
Part 1 of the residency will take place in October, November, and/or December 2023 (maximum 30 hours of studio time).
Part 2 will take place in December 2023 with the possibility to extend to January 2024 (additional 10 hours of studio time).
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-19 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: https://intrepidtheatre.com/about/cdpp/
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 (2 hours per week for 4 weeks, or otherwise distributed, 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 instead 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 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. Administrative support such as printing documents and using office supplies is also available from Intrepid.
Expectations of selected artists
If selected for a conVERGE 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.
Provide feedback on your experience to conVERGE producers (Intrepid & Puente) 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 Holly 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.
About Puente Theatre & Intrepid Theatre
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.