This year's fellows at Berkeley Rep are, back row from left: Violet Clemons, Megan Coatney, Caroline Woodson, Elizabeth Woolford and Muriel Steinke. Middle row from left: Flo Gill, Tiffany Hernandez Alberto, Ariana Cardoza, Katie Stevenson and Maria Arreola. Front row from left: Emily Zhou, Calvin Friedman, Kenzie Bradley and Seraphim Blount. Not pictured: Kristina Fosmire Credit: Muriel Steinke

Berkeley Rep welcomes a new class of 15 talented young professionals who have been awarded fellowships for the 2022-23 season. These fellows are spending 11 months training in their chosen department — directing, marketing, scenic construction, company management and others — and are getting hands-on experience while helping with all aspects of the season’s West Coast and world premieres.

Scenic Art Fellow Kenzie Bradley is two months into her fellowship, and she feels like she’s found her calling. 

“I absolutely want to pursue scenic art as a career,” Bradley says.  She credits her mentor, Lisa Lázár, with giving her a “boots-on-the-ground, learning-by-doing approach,” allowing her to “learn and gain skills in real time, which is one of the best ways to learn the skills of scenic artistry.” Every fellow is assigned a mentor to guide them through their time in Berkeley.

Tom Parrish, Berkeley Rep’s new managing director, entered the field, himself, through a similar training program. He says the fellowship program “is a manifestation of Berkeley Rep’s mission and values to be developing the next generation of arts administrators, artists, educators, technicians and craftspeople.” 

One past fellow recently worked as a set designer on Guillermo del Toro’s new Pinocchio movie and another, Lauren Yee, is the playwright of Cambodian Rock Band, which opens next February at Berkeley Rep.  Fellows have also gone on to jobs at Cal Performances, Meyer Sound in Berkeley, Pixar and theater companies across the country — including at Berkeley Rep. Other fellows have found creative jobs in the tech industry with companies like Disqus and Zendesk. 

Former education fellow Si Mon’ Emmett says she learned a lot about the “inner workings of large-scale education programs and community outreach as it relates to professional theater.” Emmett is now the curriculum and education programs manager at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre. 

“As a BIPOC woman beginning to work in this industry, feeling like I not only belonged but like I was needed was so affirming to me,” Emmett said. “It felt like family within our department, and that’s really what kept me here.”

The fellowship program is sponsored by American Express, and comes with a monthly stipend of $1,000 and apartments in Berkeley Rep’s new Medak Center, which opened last August and also houses artists. Applications for 2023-24 fellowships will open in January 2023. Those fellows will be mentored from August 2023 to July 2024.