AICA Alum Paying it Forward - The Theatre Lab

Debkanya Mitra, a 21-year-old graduate of last year’s Arts Institute for Creative Advancement (AICA), has secured funding to launch a program called “Mixing the Future,” aimed at teaching young women of color how to produce their own music. Following graduation from AICA, a paid workforce development program in technical theatre led by The Theatre Lab and the DC Arts Education Alliance, Debkanya worked as the lead audio engineer (A1) at Atlas’ Intersections Festival and participated in numerous union and non-union gigs in sound and stage crew across the area. Now, she is giving back to the community.

Part of what led me to create this program,” says Debkanya, “was when I realized how male dominated the stagehand field is. I wanted to create a group for women who are interested in learning how to engineer and release their music from start to finish. ‘Mixing the Future’ will guide young artists, from beginning to end, on how to finalize and produce a beat to a song. I have always been interested in music production but my experience in the AICA inspired me to take the next step and apply to the Omega Recording Studio in Maryland. I am so thankful to Deb Gottesman and Angelo Merenda (from AICA) for writing me an amazing recommendation. With their help, I was awarded the $5,000 Director Scholarship to attend the school.” 

A busy single mom, Debkanya just graduated from UDC with her Associates Degree and is on track to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in the near future. Clearly, not even the sky is the limit for this amazing young woman! 

Debkanya has already received a number of applications for “Mixing the Future” and is seeking 6-8 participants to make up the program. If you are interested, read more about this or apply by Monday June 10th at

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