This is part of a series about our 2016 Emerging Artists. They will perform selections from three powerful plays by Black women, August 5-7, for Intiman Theatre’s Emerging Artist Showcase. Join us for this free show! LEARN MORE.

Stefan Richmond | Actor

Q: When did you know you wanted to dedicate your career to the arts?
I think theatre has always been in my blood. Growing up, I can remember going through my parents moderately vast CD collection and putting on musical numbers in front of our fireplace for whoever would watch. It was my imagination running in full force. When I was in the 4th grade and I was a little bit older, my mom signed me up for a summer children’s theatre program. I found an open door the world of imagination and play. That world grew larger in high school and continued through college. Now that I am older and have continued to play, and grow my world, theatre has shown me that at the roots of that pure imagination and magic is truth and understanding. Once I opened that door for the first time I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but continuing to play and learn.

Q: Why is theatre important to you?
Theatre forces me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to expand my view on what the world can be. It allows to me to find truth and understanding in every single story that I tell. It allows me to be on the forefront of current events and strips away the layers of humanity. It gives people the opportunity to be inspired and changed. As Vsevolod Meyerhold once said, “I want to burn with the spirit of the times. I want all servants of the stage to recognize their lofty destiny. I am disturbed at my comrades’ failure to rise above narrow caste interests which are alien to the interests of society at large. Yes, the theatre can play an enormous part in the transformation of the whole of existence.” There is no other place where both participants, Audience and Artists, willingly arrive with an eagerness to learn and understand and be understood. It is the catalyst for change.

Q: What excites you about the Emerging Artist Program?
Coming from out of state, Intiman has given me a community and a family that I don’t think I would have found as easily without this program. It has allowed me to cultivate the artistic garden of soul and now expanded my world of play even further. The Emerging Artists program has been the perfect launching pad for my career as a theatre artist, here in Seattle. As a person of color there are social barriers and biases that can stifle the creative voice at times. The Emerging Artists Program is dedicated to being advocates for social change and equity and are giving diverse artists, like myself, the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Q: What is one experience that stands out in the program so far?
A: Our first week as Emergers was exhausting both spiritually and physically, to say the least. Everyday I loved being able to walk into the space knowing that everyone was willing to show up for each other and themselves 100 percent of the time. Our first day when we all arrived, we all were asked to present monologues or pieces of work that were an inspiration to us. Before the exercise started, you could tell that everybody was really nervous and anxious, since we all had only known each other for a total of 4 hours. As soon as people started to share you could feel the support and love in the room. Every single person in that room shared a piece of themselves in such honest ways, and I have never connected with a group so quickly.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
That’s always a tough question for me to answer. I feel like I am constantly inspired by people and their stories daily. Currently the leader, activists and founders of the #blacklivesmatter movement — Alicia Garza, Opel Tometi, Patrisse Cullors — have been a source of inspiration for me. These women have taken an online social ideal and have been able to expand into more than just a hashtag but taken these ideals for justice to the streets. The are a FIERCE example of what radical action for change looks like.

Stefan is a Colorado native, and could not be more humbled and thrilled to discover Seattle through the IEAP. He is currently working on finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Acting/Dance, and minor in Recreation, Tourism, & Hospitality. Recent credits include The Transition of Doodle Pequeño (UNCO), Polaroid Stories (The Avenue Theatre), and Children of Eden (UNCO). He is beyond grateful to the Intiman family for cultivating  the necessary growth and journey of this new artistic venture.

Join us for our Emerging Artist Showcase August 5-7 at Seattle Repertory Theatre. We will feature selections from three plays: The Owl Answers and A Movie Star Has To Star In Black And White by Adrienne Kennedy and Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galván. The show is free and open to the public. RSVP HERE.