A group of theatre producers have joined forces to launch The Theatre Leadership Project, a nonprofit aimed at providing resources to programs that seek to diversify commercial theatre leadership.
The new organization has partnered with Black Theatre Coalition and Columbia University’s Prince Fellowship and an advisory council—including Whoopi Goldberg, John Gore, Kamilah Forbes, Whitney White, Aaliytha Stevens, Brian Moreland, Robert Fried, Stefan Schick, and Oliver Sultan—to establish a three-year fellowship program. The program will train, mentor, and place the next generation of Black producers, general managers, company managers, and stage managers in an industry where Black professionals are underrepresented.
Set to begin this fall, the fellowship programs are open to candidates across the U.S. who desire careers in commercial theatre management or production.
Founding members include producers Barbara Broccoli (Once, The Band’s Visit), Lia Vollack (MJ the Musical, Almost Famous), Alecia Parker (Waitress, Chicago), Patrick Daly (The Mountaintop; August: Osage County), and Travis LeMont Ballenger (MJ the Musical, Almost Famous).
Leah Harris, formerly of Dallas Theater Center and Milwaukee Rep, will manage the program.
“It is our belief at TTLP that long-term financial support alongside training/mentorship and networking opportunities will provide successful outcomes for the program's participants. We are thrilled to be in partnership with existing organizations such as Black Theatre Coalition, supporting the leadership work they are already doing at the forefront of change,” said Broccoli and Vollack.
In collaboration with TTLP, Black Theatre Coalition will create six two-year General and Company Management Fellowships with six Broadway general management offices. After the first two years in Black Theatre Coalition program, TTLP will work to assist fellows with job placement.
BTC Co-Founder and Artistic Director T. Oliver Reid said, “We realized that there was a necessary element that no one has talked about: long-term, sustained, paid apprenticeships and fellowships. Through Black Theatre Coalition’s Management Fellowships, in partnership with TTLP, we can make certain that when these general and company management fellows are given opportunities, they are ready for it. Being in these rooms and building relationships, alongside the knowledge gained during the fellowship will help us move the needle towards equity in the American theatre.”
Each year, the Prince Fellowship (formerly the T. Fellowship, in association with the Columbia University School of the Arts) provides one early career producer with the network, financial resources, and mentorship necessary for a career as a creative producer. For the next three years, TTLP will partner with the program to fund an additional fellow.
For more information visit TheatreLeadershipProject.org.