Bluelaces Theater Company, which produces immersive, multi-sensory theatrical experiences for audiences of all ages with autism and other developmental differences, announced that it has been invited to participate in the 2018 MassChallenge Boston accelerator program. Selected from more than 1,600 promising startups across industries and regions around the world, Bluelaces Theater Company will join the most competitive cohort to date.
“It's truly an honor to be given this enormous opportunity to participate in MassChallenge. It's a testament to how far Bluelaces has come since our founding in 2015, and now we will have the tools and mentorship to grow and concentrate on creating sustainable and eventually scalable programming. I'm beyond thrilled!” -Melanie Gertzman, Co-Founder & Executive Director
As part of the 2018 cohort, Bluelaces Theater Company will have unrivaled access to top corporate partners, expert mentorship, tailored curriculum, scholarship opportunities, and more than 26,000 square-feet of co-working space in the Innovation and Design Building – all at zero cost and for zero equity. At the culmination of the four-month program, Bluelaces will also have a chance to compete for shares of $1.5M in cash prizes at the MassChallenge Awards on October 17.
Bluelaces Theater Company creates immersive, multi-sensory theatrical experiences specifically designed for audiences with autism and other developmental differences. Bluelaces aims to create welcoming experiences, foster positive social interactions, and encourage sensory play through this work. Audience members and caregivers get the opportunity to experience art in a way where they can truly be themselves in a celebratory, nonjudgmental, safe environment, through fully staged performances, drama workshops, and summer camp. Programming is both artistically and economically accessible, featuring a donation-based payment model.
Bluelaces programming provides individualized attention (through our unique “Adventure Guide” model), affordable pricing, interactive, flexible participation, and high quality, original content for audiences. Pilot research shows caregivers’ expectations for their child’s behavior during a Bluelaces show are consistently exceeded. This suggests that Bluelaces shows routinely provide therapeutic, social, and behavioral changes for participants. Through the MassChallenge program, Bluelaces strives to continue this work and expand to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, their caregivers, and the relationships between them.
The Bluelaces senior staff are experts in our industry. In addition to our core staff, we hire over 20 ensemble members per production to act, design, and run our productions. We hire teaching artists, special educators, drama and music therapists, and prioritize neurodiverse hiring.
Melanie Gertzman- Co-Founder and Executive Director: Melanie formerly worked as a stage manager on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally, as well as a commercial producer for Ogilvy & Mather in their Film Content Production department. She holds an Ed.M in Specialized Studies from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Alison Mahoney - Co-Founder and Artistic Director: In addition to her position with Bluelaces, Alison works as a theater-maker, administrator, and arts accessibility advocate with organizations such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, CO/LAB Theater Group, and the Museum Access Consortium.
Priyanka Deo- Director of Marketing and Communications: Priyanka has extensive experience in social media strategy and communications. She formerly worked as a crisis communications consultant and in intelligence in Washington D.C. Priyanka carries masters degrees from the London School of Economics, the University of Southern California and Harvard.
Allison Finder- Director of Education: Allison holds an MA in Drama Therapy from New York University and teaches social-emotional wellness and evidence-based prevention to adolescents in various schools across New York City.
Lindsay Amer - Co-Founder and Artistic Associate: Lindsay holds an MA in Performance Studies from Queen Mary University; in addition to their work with Bluelaces, Lindsay is the creator and host of Queer Kid Stuff, an LGBTQ+ educational webseries for all ages.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, our business model relies on donated income primarily from individual donors and family foundations. In our upcoming seasons, Bluelaces plans to produce more frequently, and develop new products, merchandise, and professional services. In the next 5 years, Bluelaces plans to acquire its own permanent facility to establish a home base in New York, and ultimately our goal is to tour and create Bluelaces satellite locations across the nation. Participating in MassChallenge will give Bluelaces the opportunity to work towards realizing these goals as well as the ability to focus on creating sustainable and scalable programming.
MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators. Headquartered in the United States with locations in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island, Switzerland, Texas, and the UK, MassChallenge is committed to strengthening the global innovation ecosystem by supporting high-potential early stage startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world. To date, more than 1,500 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $3 billion in funding, generated over $2 billion in revenue, and created over 80,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at masschallenge.org.