Olivier-winning and Tony-nominated Broadway producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey have partnered with Columbia University to create the Front Row Productions Fellowship. Planned for the 2021-2022 academic year and open to anyone wishing to apply, the program will support the development of emerging theatrical producers and increase the diversity of participants and work produced within the industry.
One or two fellows will be selected, with preference given to applicants who have demonstrated potential, achievement, or leadership in support for the African-American theatre community.
The Front Row Productions Fellowship will be supervised by an oversight committee made up of leaders working in the theatre industry and Steven Chaikelson, head of the MFA Theatre Management & Producing Concentration at Columbia.
“The lead producers, at the helm of every Broadway show, determine how diverse and inclusive it will be,” said Byrd and Jones-Harvey. “As two in the shockingly small club of only five Black lead producers in the history of Broadway, our mandate has been to create opportunity for people of color on and off the stage. Recognizing the systemic hurdles to mounting Broadway shows, we have mentored many emerging producers of color...we believe that establishing this pipeline is vital for the inclusive Broadway we imagine.”
During their time in the fellowship, participants will develop a new play or musical; receive a stipend and a separate budget allocation to cover development costs; receive one-on-one mentorship from oversight committee members; have access to the Columbia University resources including the library system, classes offered through the MFA concentration in Theatre Management & Producing, and selected courses throughout the University; and have the opportunity to participate in the Theatre Management & Producing Concentration’s Producer Exchange Program with Stage One in the U.K.
Additional application details, deadlines, and information will be announced at a later date.