WARWICK — The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (the Gamm) has launched a new program in partnership with Rhode Island’s public institutions of higher education.
The Gamm Fellowship Program, a new program designed for emerging artists of color, is a 10-month paid fellowship designed to provide an immersive experience and establish mentoring relationships between aspiring and established theater professionals.
The first three fellows are Maria Noriko Cabral of Fall River, Mass., Dan Garcia of Warwick and Erik Robles of Providence, each of whom has been paired with an advanced career mentor who will provide guidance about making a living in the theater industry. This first group of fellows currently appear on stage as townspeople in "A Lie Agreed Upon," now playing at the theater.
“We are thrilled to enrich and expand our community of artists and creators here in Rhode Island, particularly with this outstanding inaugural class of Gamm fellows,” said Gamm Managing Director Amy Gravell. “Maria, Dan, and Erik were enthusiastically nominated by their professors, and recognized for their talent, commitment, and passion toward creating a life in the theater.”
“Our organization has enjoyed long-standing, cooperative relationships with our public colleges and university” said Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella, who is a member of the URI theater faculty and an alumnus. “The Gamm Fellowship Program solidifies and formalizes our partnership, and provides access and opportunity for graduates who can benefit from an entree to the challenging field of professional theater.”
Cabral, who has a degree in musical theater from Rhode Island College, lived for many years in South Korea before moving to the U.S. to attend college. She interned for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, as well as College Light Opera Company on Cape Cod. Her mentor is Deb Martin, administrative director of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
“Theater has been and always will be an integral part of my life and part of the reason I became comfortable with the idea of living in America,” Cabral said in a statement. “I hope my Gamm fellowship will help me find a job in my next stage in life, and I hope that I can help future BIPOC theater artists grow their passions and make their dreams a reality."
Garcia, who has a degree in acting from Community College of Rhode Island, where he appeared in a number of productions, has acting credits that include "Bedtime Stories" at Seed and Ivy Theatre. His mentor is Jeff Church, artistic director at Burbage Theatre Company.
“I’m extremely thankful to have been selected for the Gamm’s inaugural fellowship program,” Garcia said. “I’m excited about the many learning opportunities that come with working in a professional environment and absorbing as much as I can from some of the great theater minds.”
Robles, of Providence, a student at the University of Rhode Island majoring in philosophy and theater arts with a concentration in acting, is CEO of Complex Ambition, a media company distributing video and podcast content focused on urban music. He has appeared in countless hip hop music videos and in the short film "After The Happiness." His mentor is Steve Kidd, head of performing arts at Moses Brown School.
"I feel privileged to have this opportunity, as I venture into the real world where competition is thick,” Robles said. "I’m excited about the holistic experience I will gain as a theater-maker, not just an actor. My hope after completing this fellowship is to be a better, stronger, well-rounded artist and person.”
Over the course of the Gamm’s 2021-22 season, fellows will engage in all areas of creative, administrative, and educational theater making. Kate Hanson, the Gamm’s associate director of education, will serve as the fellows’ advisor.
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro