Be You Inc is an arts organisation whose mission is to empower theatre performers. You may know them from their popular variety night Broadway Unplugged, a mainstay in the Melbourne musical theatre scene. As well as this, they’ve been developing programs to empower young artists by providing them with workshops, courses and performance opportunities.
They’ve recently launched a grant program for young artists with the hope of paving the way for a more inclusive future for the theatre community. Be You Inc’s Diversity and Inclusivity Representative Kaori Maeda-Judge expressed “The idea for the School Audition Grant came earlier in the year when the team recognised the systemic oppression that is in place within the performing arts industry. It’s much harder for people of colour to pursue a career on stage, especially in music theatre. And we wanted to help change that.”
To gain entrance to study performing arts at a tertiary level in Australia you have to audition. Most programs charge an audition fee which sit around $75 per program. It is quite common for budding artists to apply to multiple programs and maybe even try for a few years before securing a spot.
So Be You Inc launched a grant program that would aim to remove this financial barrier for young artists by covering their tertiary program audition fees. “The lack of representation on our stages along with these audition costs that not everyone can meet means that for so many young artists it’s hard to identify with people on stage so they don’t see a future for themselves in the industry. So that $75 can be a deal breaker. We wanted to offer the grants to anyone for whom the fees created a financial barrier-to-entry and also to artists who identified as People of Colour.”
“The lack of representation on our stages means that for so many young artists of colour it’s hard to see themselves represented by the people on stage so they don’t see a future for themselves in the industry. That $75 can be a deal breaker.
A week after launching the GoFundMe campaign the grant fund was sitting just shy of $10,000. “We were completely overwhelmed by the response, this now means we can give out over 100 grants instead of our initial four!”
So how can you help Be You Inc in their cause, you ask?
“We have plenty of grants to hand out, now it’s all about spreading the word so people apply. So please help us share the love. If you know someone who would directly benefit from the grant program, send them the info and help us make a difference.”
Applications for the grant program close September 20. To learn more about the grant program and for information about how to apply visit beyouinc.org/schoolauditiongrants.