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Ring of Keys is now fiscally sponsored!!!

Fractured Atlas allows arts organizations like Ring of Keys to solicit tax-deductible donations and to apply for grants without securing their own 501(c)(3) (non-profit) status. This sponsorship will allow us to broaden our impact in the theatre community and to better serve our members through outreach, advocacy, and employment opportunities.

Please share our donation page with your networks by visiting this link.
DATE: Monday, April 29
7:00pm — 9:00pm EST
MUSICAL THEATRE FACTORY
440 Lafayette St., 4th Floor
Black Box Theatre
New York, NY 10003
Can’t make it? Live outside of New York City? Catch the livestream via our private Facebook group (linked below).
THE KEYS

KEY SPOTLIGHT:

MEGAN SANDBERG-ZAKIAN
For our April KEY Member Corner, we are spotlighting Megan Sandberg-Zakian (she/her), a freelance theater director based in Jamaica Plain, MA, and a co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond.
Can you describe the mission and intent of MAIA Directors and how you co-founded it?
Maia Directors is a consulting group that offers support to artists and organizations looking to explore stories and cultures from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) in an accurate, nuanced, respectful way. We are four directors from various Middle Eastern backgrounds -- we met at a convening at The Lark a few years ago and instantly felt like, together, we had a lot to offer to the field and to the evolving conversation about equity and representation. We were also interested in placing some value on some significant labor all of us had previously been doing for years for free, especially casting recommendations and script consulting.
How can KEYS utilize the MAIA Directors resource?
If you are an artist working on a project that takes place in the Middle East, or has MENASA or Muslim characters, and you'd like some support with any aspect of the project -- reach out to us! We provide casting and personnel support, production cultural consulting, script and dramaturgical support, and outreach and communications advising. Also, spread the word!

There a lot of shared values between the Ring of Keys directory and the Maia Directory, but one of the biggest differences is that your Directory is not public. How did you come to this decision and how do you encourage or inspire theatres to employ MENASA artists?

We are a business, not a service or advocacy organization, so anytime someone reaches out to us, our first question will always be "what's your timeline and what's your budget?" That said, we have worked with organizations big and small, and try to find a way to support any project that really wants it. We believe that our best advocacy can be done by strongly encouraging the field to value and support work by and for MENASA communities, so it's important that we put that kind of value on our own work, as well. I think this raises the bar for everyone.

For you, how does being a MENASA artist intersect with being a queer artist? How is it reflected in your work as a director?

Actually three of the four members of Maia Directors are queer! So the conversation about intersecting identities is always at the heart of how we talk and how we work. I think it makes us really aware of all of the assumptions that are at work around identity -- both onstage and off -- and keeps us awake to the multiple valences and points of view that everyone brings into the art making process. As for me, I'm half Armenian and half Jewish, my wife is Black, and both of us identify as bi. So seeing things intersectionally and from multiple perspectives (and arguing about it, and getting it wrong, and changing your mind, and expanding your view) is kind of just like breathing in our household. I think this gives me an extra dose of generosity, patience, and persistence to work through complex material, especially in new play development contexts, which is where I do most of my work. Finally, as a theater-making queer Armenian-Jewish woman, with 20th century genocides on both sides of my heritage, I am very aware of the human tragedies that repeat throughout history and geography. When these forces encourage us to view others with suspicion and hostility, I believe that a performance represents a space where we – artists, audiences, citizens – may come together to practice curiosity, compassion, and generosity towards other human beings.
For more information on Key Megan Sandberg-Zakian or their work, visit megansz.com.
Do you have work that you want us to showcase? Let us know! Reply to this email, or use the hashtag #ringofkeys on your social media posts so we can know about all the great stuff going on with our Members.
Be sure to check out our growing KEY member directory!
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