SCALE at Synchronicity
This year Agnes Scott College launched the Sophomore Class Atlanta Leadership Experience (SCALE), a week-long program to give students professional experience in Atlanta-based organizations. We spent three days in the classroom preparing to visit our site, and four days of immersive learning at the site. Groups of students went to 22 different locations, and our team of eight spent a week at Synchronicity Theatre. We observed and engaged with the theatre in two groups, Arts Administration (Leandra Colley, Amelia Handly, Ryan Hayes-Owens, and Jacqueline Yarbough) and Arts Journalism (Journey Bradham, Lydia Cash, Maddy Franklin, and Camryn King). While at Synchronicity, we worked closely with the team of leaders here to get a sense of how theatre and non-profit organizations operate as well as the unique challenges Synchronicity faces in their mission to uplift the voices of women and girls. As the Arts Journalism group, we want to share a few of the core themes and experiences that have shaped our time here.
Women in Leadership
During our time at Synchronicity, we had the opportunity to talk extensively within our groups and with the amazing women who work at Synchronicity about women in leadership. A core theme that our group continued to return to was the notion of taking up space– which can mean finding self-actualization and self-respect within the workplace as well as one’s personal life. Within this notion of taking up space, we also discussed what carving out space for others can look like. Synchronicity, through their focus on women’s and girls’ voices, have made it their mission to give space to underserved communities and unheard voices. They implement a leadership style that allows for communal leadership, giving respect to everyone in the room. This respect for others is also manifested in the ways in which they conduct performances, with having 85% of their shows written by women playwrights. It was inspiring to see women leaders in the writing field and also in the world of arts administration, marketing and design.
Arts Journalism Journey
Our group, dramatic criticism, has come from a variety of majors from International Relations to English Literature. None of us had much experience writing reviews of theatre, or anything like reviews, outside of analytical essays for class. We knew we had to collaborate and work together while also fine-tuning our own reviewing and journalistic skills, and in order to do so, we needed to learn from the best and actually watch a play in real time.
In this week for SCALE, our group watched Wayfinding and were given guidance before and after watching the play on how to write a theatre review. We Skyped with Kelundra Smith, an arts journalist who has worked in arts administration and marketing, and who now writes and edits for the GSU Law Newspaper. We learned how to form a review to both inform audiences while also providing our own analyses. When we watched Wayfinding later that evening, we made sure to take notes in order to fully be able to write the most well constructed review that we could, especially since this was our first time trying to actually write arts journalism.
The next day, we worked and wrote for a couple of hours on constructing our review based on Kelundra’s instruction, and we then met with Synchronicity’s own Celise Kalke to go over first drafts. We each had an individual meeting with Celise where we discussed our writing and changes we could make to be clearer and more concise. Both after the meetings and at Agnes Scott after returning from SCALE, we worked on making a final draft that we could present to our peers and the folks at Synchronicity.
Why did we choose Synchronicity? – Maddy
For everyone in the group, choosing Synchronicity as their desired place to spend the week was a no-brainer. Many of us are interested in pursuing a career in the arts and felt that being here would provide a unique window into a section of that world, one that couldn’t be found anywhere else. We all connected with Synchronicity’s mission of empowering and uplifting the voices of women and girls and felt that transitioning from Agnes Scott’s world to Synchronicity was incredibly easy, given the diverse and supportive nature that’s been cultivated. Once we arrived, it became clear that Synchronicity is committed to giving a platform to emerging artists and that we’d always have a place to turn to if ever a chance to jumpstart a career in theatre were to arise. Over this past week, all of us have had the opportunity to learn about a side of theatre that we’ve never explored before and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to do that than Synchronicity! Thank you to the team, especially Rachel, Celise, Dalyla, and Sarah, for allowing us in!