redheaded person with pixie cut laughing
In a perfect world, there's a mentor meet-cute and you find the person who will make all the connections you never knew you needed. But that's unrealistic. Half the time, no one speaks up and says 'I need guidance'. The formal matchmaking of the Theatre Washington mentorship program alleviated the stress of guessing whether people care about your career. Spoiler: they truly do.
Mentee Caitlin Caplinger
Playwright and Director

Mentorship Expectations & Benefits

Partnership Commitment 

Mentorship pairs participate in four meetings over 16 weeks. Meetings can be in-person or virtual, as needed and preferred by the pair. Meetings can be conversations, shadowing projects, seeing and discussing productions, or introductions – whatever both parties agree on as helpful and doable.

Financial Commitment 

The program is free to participate in, there is no financial requirement or compensation for either mentor or mentee in a pair. In the event that any mentors lead a workshop, they will be paid for the workshop.

Mentor Expectations 

Mentors are expected to: 

  • Be communicative and responsive when the mentee reaches out to set up meetings. 
  • Be upfront about ability and expectations. 
  • Answer questions about mentee’s goals and development, based on personal experience and knowledge. 
  • Discuss how to elicit feedback from others. 
  • Provide advice and tell relevant stories about actions that led to valuable and/or fulfilling work for the mentor or others. 
  • Suggest readings, viewings, or skills to learn. 
  • Be a catalyst for the mentee developing their own network, including pointing to people they might reach out to and engage. 
  • Keep any commitments made. 
  • Be considerate and upfront about interests and boundaries.
  • Reach out to the Mentorship Program administrator as soon as there are any questions or obstacles. 
  • Fill out a midpoint survey halfway through the program and a debrief survey at the end of the program. 

Mentors are not expected to: 

  • Take the lead in the relationship, setting up meetings or driving development. 
  • Be always available or spend more time on the relationship than they are able to give. 
  • Know all the answers. 
  • Provide feedback on the mentee’s work unless both parties feel comfortable and agree to it. 
  • Introduce the mentee to others unless the mentor feels comfortable doing so. 
  • Provide work or a job for the mentee. 

Through this program mentors can: 

  • Engage and build connections with different types of theatre practitioners. 
  • Experience increased self-awareness and self-confidence through practicing the role of "educator." 
  • Expand their sphere of influence. 
  • Contribute to the thriving theatre ecology by helping to strengthen the workforce. 
  • Share best practices based on their unique experiences. 
  • Serve as a career "accelerator" for others. 
  • In some instances, and if interested, lead a workshop for a group of mentees (for which the mentor is paid).

Mentee Expectations

Mentees are expected to: 

  • Be proactive and responsible in driving the relationship – reaching out to the mentor and setting up meetings. 
  • Be communicative and responsive to both their mentor and the Mentorship Program administrator. 
  • Be upfront about abilities and expectations. 
  • Regularly bring goals and development questions to the table, and be as specific as possible with their questions. 
  • Apply advice given and let the mentor know of the results. 
  • Keep any commitments made. 
  • Be considerate and upfront about interests and boundaries. 
  • Reach out to the Mentorship Program administrator as soon as there are any questions or obstacles. 
  • Fill out a midpoint survey halfway through the program and a debrief survey at the end of the program. 

Mentees are not expected to: 

  • Be passive or have no opinions about their career development. 
  • Know all the right questions to ask. 
  • Work for the mentor. 

Through this program mentees can: 

  • Enjoy facilitated introduction to theatre professionals across power differentials. 
  • Experience professional skill-building through one-on-one coaching with role models. 
  • Increase professional visibility in the Washington, DC-area theatre community. 
  • Increase self-confidence through capacity building. 
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the Washington, DC-area theatre ecology. 
  • Network with experienced practitioners. 
  • Attend any workshops scheduled through the program for free. 

Can I ask not to be paired with a specific mentor or mentee?
Yes. If you have any reason you’d prefer not to be matched with a specific person, please reach out directly to program lead Tristan Willis. Your ask will be confidential and seen only by Tristan.

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Become A Mentor or Mentee

If you are interested in being a mentee, please fill out this form. We have space for 25 mentees, and the program is first come first served.

If you are interested in being a mentor, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions, email the program lead, Tristan Willis.