Roundabout Theatre Company has announced the launch of the Theatrical Workforce Development Program (TWDP), a new development initiative that trains and places young adults in professional technical theatre careers. The three-year program is in partnership with the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the youth development non-for-profit, The Door.
Based on data from the New York State Department of Labor, the demand for stagecraft jobs is projected to grow to 24% by 2020. TWDP’s mission is to train a new, diverse generation of stagehands, riggers, electricians, sound engineers, carpenters, hairstylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe workers and to break down some of the barriers that presently prevent young adults from joining the theatre industry.
The first group of fellows is currently enrolled in the first year of training, with the aim of retaining up to 50 young adults in financially-sustaining careers by the end of the three-year pilot period.
Each year, the program provides a group of up to 20 high school graduate fellows with a living wage, relevant skills and industry knowledge, work experience, access to top theatre venues, and resources and support services. The initiative includes three years of training, job placement, and one-on-one mentorship with top industry professionals.
Training kicks off with the newly established Made in New York Stagecraft Boot Camp, a six-week intensive that will precede a 10-month hands-on technical training period.
“The Theatrical Workforce Development Program is a necessary extension of the work Roundabout has been doing for the past 20 years in New York’s public schools through Education at Roundabout,” comments Todd Haimes, artistic director/CEO of Roundabout Theatre Company, in a press statement. “Our programs have always aimed to leverage the resources of the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre to create partnerships with students, educators, early career professionals, and audiences, always using theatre as a tool to both captivate and mobilize the communities we serve. We are so proud to be adding to that important work by now joining with IATSE and The Door to provide this pathway into technical theatre careers for New York City public school graduates. And we are thrilled to spearhead this first-in-the-industry initiative, which we hope can become a model for similar programs nationwide.”
TWDP is made possible with funding from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS). In addition to lead partner IATSE, additional partners include The Public Theater, Theatre Development Fund (TDF), the Apollo Theater, Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, and The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (ART/NY).
If you are a young adult interested in applying to TWDP, or if you are an organization that would like to become an employment partner, visit roundabouttheatre.org/twdp for more information.