Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.
For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions.
We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Amber Bradshaw
Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the Managing Artistic Director of Working Title Playwrights. Some of my daily tasks include: Overall Management, Daily Admin, Hiring, Casting, Program development, EDI workshop training for the theater community and the WTP board, Training, education and advocacy of our playwrights, Play submissions and the gathering of professionals to those panels, Branding and marketing, Mentoring and outreach for and with new development theatre artists, National outreach, Moderation and facilitation of dialogue, Directing and dramaturgy for our members as part of our programs, and Developing collaborations with theaters across Atlanta.
When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I asked my mom for acting lessons when I was 10 years old. It just so happens I was in a class facilitated and run by Atlanta’s Pamela Turner! I never stopped acting, but I lost interest during my teen years. I began writing in high school. I followed my love of creative writing to college, and discovered theater again when I took my first beginning acting class with the woman who would become my mentor. Elizabeth Carlin Metz. I was hooked and she was very supportive. She encouraged me to direct in our student theater. I did. There was no turning back. By the time I graduated I had directed 3 times, assistant directed 4 times, and was a teaching assistant for acting classes. I knew this was what I wanted to do.
What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
No IDEA. Seriously. It felt limited as a girl. I was not sure where I belonged.
If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Josephine Baker. I would ask her to tell me the story of her life. I would want to talk to her about what it was like to be a spy during WWII and work for the French Resistance. I would ask her about Frida Kahlo and Bricktop and all the women she loved. I would make sure she knew how many women she has inspired, influenced and advocated for simply by being her infinitely talented and complicated self. I would ask her to teach me her favorite dance, her favorite song. We would speak French together. It would be dreamy.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents. My dad taught me to dream big and never let anyone stop me. He taught me that change and adapting is the only way to live. My mom showed me how a woman can stand on her own two feet. She showed me how to have a room of my own. Without the courage to take risks and the privilege of finding a room of my own, I don’t believe I would be where I am today. Elizabeth Carlin Metz has been the greatest artistic influence in my life and I am grateful for her mentorship every day.
How is art a passion for you?
I HAVE to do it. I NEED to do it. I have to find a way to occupy my mind, to create something that I think is authentic and truthful. It’s something I’m deeply drawn to – and in love with. Collaboration is my drug. I love the work. I love the people I work with and the amazing audience that supports artists in Atlanta. Telling the stories of the South has been part of my goals since I started writing as a teenager. I am proud to get the chance to do this work.
What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think we have a lot of growing to do. Systemic bias is still a driving force in our society and in our workforce. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and challenges to address the deeper issues. I am deeply inspired by the leaders that are pushing initiatives forward to feature and hire women, but we can do more. I think there needs to be a special emphasis on hiring women of color and people who identify as lgbtqia.
What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
New work is the cornerstone of this community. It is cherished and upheld. Risks are taken. It’s pretty incredible to see. There’s a lot of exploration in the work done here.
The queer art world is pretty big and bold. Low budget, high budget, performance art, drag, dance, aeria, etc.l – you can find it all. I love Atlanta. I love how we celebrate our Southern culture and find that place for ourselves. It’s empowering.
What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
New stories, artists that have confidence in their voices, equity and inclusion in all facets of what we do, a perception shift in the moderation of dialogue, and of course, new work!
Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Facebook: Working Title Playwrights