Trauma Informed, Consent Based, Pay What You Decide
Founded in 2021 by multi-disciplinary artist Benjamin Bass, Broken Mirror Studios strives to provide the Philadelphia area with an artistic sanctuary dedicated to the continued development of craft, the exploration of ideas, and the building of community. Part acting studio, part creative lab, Broken Mirror Studio supports actors and artists realign with the excitement of having an artistic practice while providing a safe and inclusive environment to discuss and explore new ideas. Working from a "Pay What You Decide" model Broken Mirror firmly believes in the prioritization of growth and community over profit.
Simply put, we wish to help artists grow.
Why "Broken Mirror"?
It is so easy to get caught up in presentation. In fact many of us are living our lives - right here, right now, purposely choosing to show the world a carefully tailored version of ourselves. An idea of self. An "image" we feel safe portraying and maintaining, even if it hurts us.
Broken Mirror Studios is called what it is because we know that if artists wish to genuinely express the truth within them, they must allow themselves to stop living as someone they're not. They must be allowed to question and explore, to learn and to wonder. Broken Mirror Studio is founded on the principle that we are always on a journey of self discovery, but that through art we may know ourselves and others on an even deeper level.
We wish to provide a space and structure to where these moments of insight, embrace, and expansion can occur and be celebrated.
A Trauma Informed Studioh
What Does it Mean? Why Do We Do It? And How Do We Practice?
Before we go on it is important to acknowledge where this information is coming from. All of the information below was learned from the incredible organization Theatrical Intimacy Education (TIE). To learn more about them, click here!
What is Trauma Informed:
A trauma informed practice takes into consideration that due to the deeply nuanced, far reaching, and all too common experience that is trauma, we specifically facilitate our environment with the assumption that everyone in that room has some sort of relationship or familiarity with trauma. Because we come in with, and never release this assumption, we intentionally curate our language and behavior to minimize the potentiality for trauma to be triggered.
Why Is Broken Mirror Trauma Informed:
The theatre industrial complex (to borrow a phrase from Nicole Brewer) has an irrefutable history of maintaining an abusive power dynamic in theatre and casting. A business model that historically has tolerated racism, misogyny, sexual harassment, ableism, and unjust wages has led to generations of actors adopting a “scarcity mindset.” Meaning actors will compromise their mental health, boundaries, and personal safety in order to get cast in a project. They are often willing to do this because they have been led to believe that, “they should be grateful to even have work.” For an aspiring, or even deeply committed artist, it is an industry that is absolutely antithetical to self love, mental health, and emotional and economic well being. Broken Mirror Studio was formed partly in hopes of serving as an antidote to the hurt that the industry, as well as many traditional training programs inflicts on its artists. We want to offer an alternative approach to what an acting studio can be. Rather than focusing our efforts and intentions towards "preparing you for the industry" we want to offer an artistic sanctuary dedicated simply to the continued development of craft, the exploration of ideas, and the building of a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community
Benjamin Bass is a queer multi-disciplinary artist living in Philadelphia, as well as the founder of Broken Mirror Studio.
They hold a B.F.A. in acting from S.U.N.Y. Purchase and have been fortunate enough to both work and continue training all over the world. Notable works include "We Own This City"; "Audrey's Children"; The obie award winning hit, "The Woodsman", Trey Lyford's "The Accountant" and the Chinese national tour of, "One Starry Night." Benjamin is a proud member of both Actor's Equity Association and the Screen Actor's Guild
As an educator Benjamin is the head instructor at Broken Mirror Studio. They have taught master classes for N.Y.U., S.U.N.Y. Purchase, University of the Arts, UPENN, Drexel University, as well at various other studios throughout NY and Philadelphia.
Commitment to Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion
Racism is a form of structural and systemic violence that currently manifests in the persecution and murder of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Furthermore, racism perpetuates the systematic oppression of people of the global majority through enduring structures and institutions of power that deny these communities fundamental human rights. We hold these hard truths close as we commit to anti-racist work in our community of exploration, discovery, and growth within the arts.
Broken Mirror recognizes that racism consists of principles and practices that cause and justify an inequitable distribution of rights, opportunities, and experiences across racial groups. Structural racism reflects the macrosocial system of public policies and institutional practices that work in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial injustice. Interpersonal racism reflects microsocial forces of culture expressed through discourse, attitudes, and behaviors that work in various, often reinforcing ways, to perpetuate racial injustice. Systematic racism is when structural and interpersonal racism operate both separately and together.
We resolve to actively listen to our BIPOC colleagues, friends, and communities on these issues; to unlearn behavior and assumptions; to humbly admit when we are wrong, even in situations that make us uncomfortable.
We recognize that there are significant differences between People of the Global Majority and white communities in access to housing, education, career and employment opportunities, housing opportunities, protection from environmental hazards, socially meaningful environments, government services, and wealth. These differences in access to opportunity have significant effects on health and quality and length of life, and are perpetuated through socio-cultural forces at play over generations. Anti-black bias in academia is just one of these forces that oppress people of the global majority.
We resolve to proactively seek to recruit, admit, and/or hire diverse students and faculty to our program; create programs, measures, and systems of accountability to make sure that students and staff from diverse backgrounds feel they belong and have the opportunity to succeed.
We resolve to incorporate anti-racism in our teaching, hiring, and continued development of our studio.
We resolve to continue this work even as it feels hard and in moments when the intensity of the political currents and news cycles ebb and flow on these issues, and to commit to holding ourselves and each other accountable.
Pay What You Decide
Broken Mirror Studios firmly believes in the Pay What You Decide (PWYD) model. We believe that growth and the building of community should be at the forefront of artistic opportunity, regardless of financial situation. All programs hosted by Broken Mirror will be Pay What You Decide.
What is Pay What You Decide?
Pay What You Decide is a business model that literally means that each individual person gets to decide the financial value of their experience, as feels comfortable and appropriate to them. No fixed prices, no financial risk, and no closed doors.
What does the money support?
All money collected supports the continued operation and growth of the studio. Specifically this means that Broken Mirror has the ability to pay for our beautiful studio space at The Whole Shebang each month, pay our staff, marketing services, maintain our website, and the ability to invest in future projects and ideas. Because of this we therefore hope you will give generously.
How do I pay?
Payment can be made online through our website or through venmo.