Five Non-Profits That Are Making Theatre Better For Everyone

It’s Women’s History Month and after this year’s Oscars, we’ve got two words on our mind:

In 2017, New York City authorized a $2 million grant to support diversity in theatre by funding non-profit organizations that foster developmental programs for underrepresented artists. Now, we’re taking a look at how five NYC-based non-profits are creating those opportunities for a new generation of artists on and off stage.

  1. In a partnership with I.A.T.S.E., Roundabout Theatre Company is now currently recruiting for the 2018 cohort of the Theatrical Workforce Development Program, a product of 2017’s grant initiative. This opportunity particularly stands out because it offers students a three-year, paid internship that oversees student’s growth from basic training and specialization, to job placement at partnership theatres and career mentorship.
  2. The Epic Theatre Ensemble, another 2017 recipient, has been leading a pioneering youth development program since 2012 that trains and mentors high school students from the Bronx, Harlem, and Chelsea. The Epic NEXT Summer Intensive is a free program that develops young actors as socially and culturally engaged students while providing preparation for college applications.
  3. With a series of grants starting in 2010, The LARK Theatre has developed a huge portfolio of residencies, fellowships, workshops, and readings for emerging, diverse playwrights. Their programs range from opportunities like the México/United States Playwright Exchange to Shakespeare’s Sister Playwriting Fellowship and more!
  4. After receiving a 2009 grant to produce a critically acclaimed adaptation of Tartuffe, The Classical Theatre of Harlem has continued to place an emphasis on creating opportunities for artists and audiences alike to engage in meaningful discussions on diversity. They offer a free reading series for playwrights and actors to develop new work and generate a dialogue between the audience and artist.
  5. A recipient of one of the largest 2017 development grants, The New York Theatre Workshop has revamped their 2050 Artistic and 2050 Administrative Fellowships with a focus on inclusivity and diverse perspectives. By expanding their program and offering an increased stipend, these fellowships will allow for artists from any economic background to engage in professional development as a playwright, director, or administrator.

Theatre is at its most powerful when it holds up a mirror to our world and allows us to see ourselves. Thanks to these initiatives, and many others, we are excited to see a new generation reflecting back our beautifully diverse NYC.