Grant #457

Open Stage Project

July 6, 2021

We’re On Our Feet! An Enthusiastic Standing O For This Backstage Education Program!

Founded in 2018 (and operating virtually despite lockdown), Open Stage Project is a young, scrappy, and hungry (see what we did there) organization that’s allowed hundreds of girls to imagine a future career in the world of theater.

The idea is to open the stage – and its highest paying jobs – to the people who’ve historically had no way to break in to those circles.

Operated mostly on volunteer love and labor, including industry professionals who donate their time and expertise, Open Stage Project has reached hundreds of students in dozens of New York City public schools. Over a hundred teachers have trusted Open Stage Project to introduce their students to the wide variety of jobs, skills, and realities of working in theater, TV, and film.

Nobody’s more excited that theaters are reopening, but that means Open Stage Project needs funding to get their in-person programs running again.

We love the idea of this free after-school program working to achieve gender parity by teaching, mentoring, and opening doors for NYC public high school girls, introducing them to women behind the scenes in theater, film, and TV — Costume Designers, Company Managers, Lighting Technicians, Carpenters, Producers. Students don’t just attend performances, they go backstage for intimate conversations with female crew, learning about viable careers and union membership. They tour professional prop, costume, and scene shops. They attend job fairs. They network with women in the industry.

Some girls go on to apply for a year-long program, where students are paired with a female-identifying working professional.  These mentors help with resume-building, school selection, job interviews, and business communications–skills that will benefit the students no matter what career path they choose.

Check out Open Stage Project here, and join us in a round of applause for inclusive workforce development!

Category: Performance, Theater, Youth



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders