New York City has announced that it is granting more than $2 million to 11 not-for-profit organizations including Roundabout Theatre Company and New York Theatre Workshop to help increase diversity in the city’s legitimate theatres.
The city’s Midtown Theatre Subdistrict Council has announced that the 11 groups will receive funding “for initiatives designed to increase access to professional theater roles among historically underrepresented communities,” according to a statement, “with the aim of establishing a more diverse pipeline of paid training and mentorship opportunities” that will “help New York City’s theatre community to cultivate a more inclusive and dynamic workforce, connect with new audiences, and promote a theater sector that is open and accessible to all New Yorkers.”
In allocating the funds, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “New York is a theatre town. From the dynamic cluster in Midtown’s Theater Subdistrict to stages around the city, NYC’s theatre scene attracts the very best performers, producers, and technicians, engaging audiences from across the city and beyond with performances that express the full breadth of our collective creativity, imagination, and emotion. Bringing this level of excellence to our theaters takes a collaborative effort from a huge range of trained professionals. With the help of the Theatre Subdistrict Council, New York can take the lead in expanding access to good paying career opportunities in theater for historically underrepresented communities, paving the way for theater to remain a vibrant sector that speaks to all New Yorkers.”
Here are the companies and the initiative that will receive funding:
Brooklyn Academy of Music - BAM Apprentices in Stagecraft (BAS) program ($227,000): BAS will engage individuals from underrepresented communities in rigorous stagehand and production training, teaching them new skills through hands-on work experience. BAS will connect these participants to new networks, giving them recognized credentials in the field of theater production and placing them on a secure career path.
BRIC – Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship ($200,000): A comprehensive professional training program to give young people from underrepresented communities an opportunity to develop practical skills, leadership, and professional networks needed for a successful career in theater and arts administration. Fellows will spend a year working with and receiving mentorship from staff at a consortium of organizations in Downtown Brooklyn: BRIC, Theatre for a New Audience, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), and Mark Morris Dance Group.
Epic Theater Ensemble—Expanding Epic NEXT Arts Leadership Initiative ($175,000): A rigorous mentorship program that identifies and develops future leaders in theater from traditionally underrepresented communities in New York City. Epic NEXT is a comprehensive approach to youth development through theater, pairing participants with professional mentors, providing opportunities for participants to become future artistic and managerial leaders in the cultural community.
Harlem Stage – Administrative Fellowship Program ($200,000): Harlem Stage’s administrative fellowship program will provide meaningful opportunities for professional development, including full-time on-the-job training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Fellows will work alongside a passionate and diverse team of arts administrators to support and create new opportunities for artists and communities of color in the performing arts.
Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) – Early Career Training Program ($175,000): MTC will use TSC funding to increase diversity among participants in its internship and fellowship programs, which serve as pipelines for developing future staff for MTC and across the theater community.
New 42nd Street – The New 42 Fellowship Program ($225,000): A yearlong immersion in the inner workings of The New 42nd Street/New Victory Theater, The New 42 Fellowship Program will provide participants who have graduated The New Victory Theater’s popular Usher Corps who are recent or soon-to-be college graduates with the skills, resources, and experience needed to transition into full time employment within the theater industry.
New York Theatre Workshop – 2050 Administrative Fellows Program ($250,000): A professional development program designed to provide first rate instruction and mentorship to young theatre professionals, NYTW’s Administrative Fellows Program will expand the existing 2050 Artistic Fellows Program to include people from underrepresented communities who are seeking careers in arts administration.
Roundabout Theatre Company—Theatrical Workforce Development Program ($250,000): Roundabout’s TWDP will, in partnership with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union, bridge the gap between existing development initiatives for young adults and entry-level jobs in the professional technical theater industry.
Teatro SEA—Technical Training Program ($200,000): Teatro SEA’s training program will provide participants with the skills necessary to pursue a career in technical theater by offering the theater’s technical personnel both classroom-based and on-the-job training so they can continue to grow their careers at Teatro SEA and in the larger theater community with these in-demand skills.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB) – Theater Management Apprenticeship Program ($80,000): TBTB’s apprenticeship program will train disabled artists to become arts administrators, providing a path to long term employment in the field of theater.
Theatre Development Fund (TDF)—TKTS Apprenticeship Program ($250,000): Participants in TDF’s apprenticeship program will work in the iconic TKTS booth in Times Square as an access point to employment on Broadway for underrepresented communities. Participants will receive hands on training in theater box office management.