Perseverance Theatre is among five theaters recognized as part of The Future of American Theatre Cohort, bolstered by a $2.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation. Each of these organizations will receive $500,000 from Mellon over two years to support their ongoing innovation, cultural change-making, and ambitious artistic programming.
Perseverance Theatre is one of five small to midsize theatre companies that came together in spring 2023 to share resources, foster collective learning, and champion new visions for the American Theater. Their goal, individually and collectively, is to center historically marginalized artists and audiences in all facets of their work while developing new models for artistic production, audience building, community engagement, new play development, and organizational leadership.
Support from the Mellon Foundation will allow the cohort to better sustain their companies, as well as benefit from peer mentorship and collective learning through regular gatherings, in order to continue innovating strategies that can be replicated by the national field.
Each cohort member will focus their work on a unique area of expertise and exploration:
Perseverance Theatre: Decolonizing for Right-Purposed/Relations with Alaska Natives and all Native/Indigenous Peoples for Collective Liberation
Cleveland Public Theatre: Deep interconnectivity between communities served and the art on stage
Company One Theatre: Neighborhood Activation & Production in Civic Spaces, entirely with free and Pay What You Want ticketing
Crowded Fire Theater: Radical Shared Leadership
Mosaic Theater Company: Equitable New Work Development Practices
“We at Perseverance Theater are profoundly moved and grateful to be and feel seen by the Mellon Foundation,” said Leslie Ishii, artistic director at Perseverance Theatre. “This significant support offers the opportunity to continue our work in-community with this brilliant cohort of theater visionaries-change-makers. We are excited for the explorations that will continue to bring forth iterative creative and structural changes to deepen our work and collaborations with Alaska Natives and BIPOC communities of Alaska and the entire theater sector. We strive to contribute learnings for a more just and sustainable theater ecology that will also support the collective liberation, and therefore, the health and wellbeing of our communities.”