BOOST Banters with Special Guests: Victoria M. Fragnito, Stephanie Martinez, and Woody Fu

On November 18th, our newest program, BOOST, held their first virtual event!

BOOST is designed for early career artists 18+ within their first three years in NYC, who are looking to advance their careers by developing concrete, attainable, and sustainable practices to reach their specific career objectives. Through individual or group sessions, BOOST provides resources with accompanying insight from experts to help provide the skills to meet their creative goals.

BOOST Banters was set up to help build a bridge between new and seasoned artists through a mixer style event. What was so special about this event is how intimate and personalized it felt. Each guest had been hand selected and paired with our current BOOSTers, Jake Alexander, Susannah Crowell and Gigi Hausman, whose current artistic focuses were in alignment.

When asking our BOOST Co-Chairs, Ayana Bey and Jillian Vitko, why this event was so important to them, they said they “wanted to demystify the word networking and create a space for artists to connect in an informal fun way. Taking the pressure off and just having a conversation as humans who happen to be in the same field.”

Following through with this idea, the event started with a fun ice breaker exercise asking attendees their favorite and least favorite condiment choice! A fantastic way to warm everyone up over their common distaste of mayo and mustard! Who knew?! After brief introductions by our guests, Victoria M. Fragnito, Stephanie Martinez and Woody Fu, our BOOSTers were sent into breakout rooms with their selected guest. They had one on one time to ask questions, gain perspective and create a new relationship in an informal setting. The event culminated in an open Q & A, which was wonderfully insightful and allowed all attendees to ask questions across all guests!

What our BOOSTers had to say!

“It was a great event, very informative and inspiring.” -Jake Alexander 

“It was fun! Talking to Woody was great, being able to see someone cultivate different directions in their career was really cool.” – Susannah Crowell

“BOOST Banters was so good! Everything Stephanie said helped me figure out how to launch myself in a more proactive way.” -Gigi Hausman

Get To Know Our Guests and their little gems of inspiration and advice!

Victoria M. Fragnito is an actor/director/teaching artist turned playwright. Her acting career has included regional theatre, touring companies, and independent films. She attended DeSales University and worked very closely with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, assistant directing many of their critically acclaimed productions (Midsummer, The Playboy of the Western World, South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, Romeo and Juliet with Rick Sordelet, and more) and touring with their WillPower program as Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’ and Hermia in ‘Midsummer’. She was in the inaugural acting apprentice program at Florida Studio Theatre where she participated in their nationally recognized Write-A-Play program, performing the works of young playwrights for thousands of students from all over the state of Florida. The writing bug bit Victoria when she arrived in New York City and found the substantial roles for women to be slim to none. Her debut play ‘Scar Tissue’ was the first play selected for Match:Lit Theatre’s ‘New Words in a New Light’ reading series and has had a successful workshop at Dixon Place as part of their “Works in Progress” program. ‘Scar Tissue’ had a public staged reading at the historic The Old Joint Stock theatre in Birmingham, England as part of their Women’s History month in March, 2019. ‘Scar Tissue’ will be a part of the 2021 SheNYC Festival after a virtual festival this past August. Her new play, ‘With Dignity’, was selected for a public reading with The Bechdel Group in NYC and had a virtual presentation as part of The Tank’s CyberTank online series.

Learn More About Victoria:

www.VictoriaMFragnito.com

www.ScarTissueThePlay.com

Woody Fu is an actor/creator based in New York. 

He’s appeared on Comedy Central, CBS, FX, Amazon, and the forthcoming ABC Discovers 2020 Actor Showcase. He was a lead in the feature Lucky Grandma, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. 

Woody trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in NY, where he performed on Maude Night (sketch), Characters Welcome (characters), and Baby Wants Candy (musical improv). 

As a creator, Woody co-wrote and starred in the digital sketch series UR Asian Friend, produced by UCB Comedy and Nerdist. One of the sketches, “Ghost” was a finalist of the Just For Laughs “Eat My Shorts” Competition 2019 (Montreal), and an Official Selection at Just For Laughs 42 (Toronto).

Learn More About Woody:

woodyfu.com

Over eleven years of award-winning works, Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez moves her audiences along a journey guided by the kinetic momentum of her work. With original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Kansas City Ballet, and National Choreographers Initiative among others, Martinez’s versatility expands the boundaries of contemporary ballet movement. Martinez has created over 60 ballets on companies and collegiate programs across the country.

In 2015, Martinez was awarded Joffrey Ballet’s “Winning Works: Choreographers of Color” commission and the Chicago 3Arts Award in recognition for her work as a female artist of color. More recently, Martinez was awarded an NEA grant for her premiere of Bliss! with Joffrey Ballet. Dubbed “a chameleon” of choreography by the Chicago Tribune, Martinez’s psychologically revelatory works challenge the viewer’s notion of what’s possible. 

Martinez is also the founder and artistic director of Chicago-based repertory company PARA.MAR Dance Theatre.

Learn More About Stephanie and PARA.MAR:

http://www.stephaniemartinezchoreography.com/

https://www.paramardance.com/

We are so happy to be able to offer our BOOSTers the opportunity for one-on-one conversation with an artist in their specified field through a fun, freeform mixer like BOOST Banters! We look forward to hosting more in the coming year!

Interested in BOOST?

Don’t just take it from us! This is what Jake has to say about the program: “I would tell anyone who’s feeling wayward in their career to look into BOOST! It’s been super helpful for me (and) it’s a great experience!”

Applications for the 2021 BOOST Program are open! To learn more about the BOOST Program, visit us at https://offthelane.org/our-work/#boost or email BOOST@offthelane.org.

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