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The Ins and Outs of Starting Your Dream Company

Many of the best and brightest actors got their start by creating their own work instead of waiting around to be discovered. Do you know what it takes to take your career by the reigns and create the work that will get you noticed? What's a 501 C3? Have you ever applied for a grant? Does the word "bi-law" mean anything to you? This panel of experts takes you through the process of starting your own theater company and will guide you through the first steps of placing your career firmly in your own hands.

Speakers include:
- Benjamin Brandow, Lawyer for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
- Lisa Stevenson, Lead Consultant, Art New York
- Carol Ostrow, Producing Director, The Flea Theater
- Kori Schneider, Executive Director, IRT Theater


Benjamin Brandow
Benjamin Brandow manages VLA's Legal and Business Boot Camp for Arts Professionals and VLA's Legal Clinic, which offers VLA's arts professional and arts organization members free legal consultations with volunteer attorneys. Benjamin, a drummer, guitarist, pianist, and vocalist, also coordinates VLA's Ask The Music Lawyer Program. He has sales, marketing, and creative services experience at major New York record labels as well as at one of the country's premier amphitheatre concert venues. Benjamin handles marketing and promotion of VLA events and educational programs.

Lisa Stevenson
Lisa Stevenson, Director of Member Services, has been with A.R.T./New York since 1996. She co-conceived and designed the recently released A.R.T./New York Solution for FileMaker Pro 9; an integrated donor and ticket sales database template specifically for use by theatre companies. She oversaw a significant increase in member organizations from communities of color.

She developed A.R.T./New York's 2007 Designer Fair and annual Internship Fair, Summer Intern Seminar Series, and the Art of Administrating program, which introduces students to the administrative aspects of mounting productions. Lisa co-conceptualized and co-coordinated the 2003 and 2004 Prelude to Off-Broadway Weekend in conjunction with the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, Graduate Center, CUNY. Lisa sat on the Board of the New York Youth Theatre, and is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Cherry Lane Theatre, Faux-Real Theatre Company; Inner Act Productions; Strike Anywhere Ensemble Theatre, the Sundog Theatre, and Take Wing and Soar Productions. Lisa is currently serving as a 2008 New York State Council on the Arts panelist.

In May 2007 she served as a grant panelist for the New Jersey State Council on the Art's Building Arts Participation Panel. In the past, she has also served on several committees, including the Diversity Initiative Committee for Non-Profit and Commercial Theatre; ABC Television Talent Showcase for Persons of Color and Persons with Disabilities; and the Martin Luther King Support Center. She also served on the Strategic Planning Committee for the Harlem Arts Alliance. Lisa has a BA in Communications and Theatre from Temple University, and has an MA in Africana Studies from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Carol Ostrow
Carol Ostrow joined Jim Simpson at the helm of The Flea in 2001 and The Guys marked her return to off-off-Broadway. She was the Obie-winning producing director of the Classic Stage Company, where she produced The Merchant of Venice, directed by Jim Simpson; the world premiere of Ezra Pound's Elektra, directed by Carey Perloff; as well as the acclaimed 30th anniversary production of Pinter's The Birthday Party, among others.

For The Flea, Carol has produced A.R. Gurney's O Jerusalem, Mrs. Farnsworth, Screen Play, and Post Mortem, Will Eno's Oh, The Humanity and Other Exclamations, Roger Rosenblatt's Ashley Montana Goes Ashore in the Caicos…, Adam Rapp's Bingo with The Indians, Beau Willimon's Lower Ninth, Polly Draper's Getting Into Heaven, Mac Wellman's Cellophane and Two September, Len Jenkin's Like I Say and Margo Veil, Talking Band's The Parrot, Liz Swados' JABU, and the Holiday Extravaganza 'Twas the Night Before, featuring short plays by Flea writers, including Christopher Durang, among others.

She is also behind the numerous dance and music programs presented at The Flea. Carol is a graduate of Vassar College and the Yale Drama School.

Kori Schneider
Kori Schneider has been the Executive Director of IRT since July 2007. For over 20 years IRT has provided low cost and free live theater to public schools in the tri-state area, serving 20,000 students annually. During the past year, with new executive and artistic leadership, IRT is building a new works development program that has already garnered a number of cutting edge theater companies and artists. IRT is an incubator for new work.

Through its residency, commissioning and presenting programs, IRT provides opportunities for artists and companies to explore and develop new ideas using IRT's forty seat theater as their home during this exploration. Kori is a founding member of Short Fuse Theater based in L.A., blending former students of the Atlantic Theater School with graduates of the Warner Brothers Writers Workshop. She produced and acted in performances at the Egyptian Arena Theater in Hollywood and in NOHO, LA with this company.

Kori received her BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, with her primary training at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School and secondary with the Experimental Theater Wing (ETW). She continues to have a working relationship with many of the original members from The Atlantic.

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