Black Theater Coalition and Broadway Across America Fellowship
Power programs within the theater world have joined forces to create a fellowship to correct the lack of representation of Black artists and leaders in the commercial theater. They are creating a new legacy for future legacies within the theater industry. With sponsorship by the John Gore Organization, the Black Theater Coalition has teamed up with Broadway Across America by creating a partnered fellowship for Black-identifying College Juniors, Seniors, and early career professionals. The program has finished its inaugural year and is currently recruiting for its second year.
The Black Theater Coalition was co-founded by a group of theater veterans, including T. Oliver Reid, Warren Adams, and Reggie Van Lee, to increase representation within the theater community. Black artists account for less than one percent of working professionals in all performance and leadership roles within the theater community. This star-studded trio is working towards changing that statistic by setting a goal of increasing the work opportunities of all Black working professionals by 500 percent within the next ten years.
This 14-week intensive program is available in multiple cities across America, including New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Louisville, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. The program will allow their Fellows to learn multiple aspects of the theater world from producing, human resources, legal, finance, marketing strategy, and more. At the end of the intensive, the cohort of Fellows will be able to go to New York City for a week to perform on-the-job training, network with fellow industry professionals, and see Broadway shows. The program is designed to have the opportunities curated to the individual based on their goals and circumstances. Throughout the intensive session, each Fellow is assessed and shares how they are feeling and what their goals are in order to capitalize on the experience.
Bree Turner, the Program Director of the Black Theater Coalition/Broadway Across America Fellowship, shares her experience regarding what this program means for her and what it’s doing for others. “I know for me growing up. I didn’t realize all of the opportunities that were in theater outside of being on the stage,” she says. In 2021, Turner started as an intern for three months with Broadway Across America at the Ft. Lauderdale office in Florida before becoming the full-time Executive Assistant to the President of the John Gore Organization, Lauren Reid. Even with the opportunity, Turner still didn’t know the extent of what was indeed available. “There’s a whole world of business and opportunity surrounding commercial theater, and I didn’t know any people, let alone black people or black women that were doing that kind of work,” she said.
Although the program is only in its second year, spreading the word about this fantastic opportunity has been a priority. After speaking with the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer, Irene Gandy, she expressed the importance of spreading awareness of this program and its benefits to the Black community. “It may be out there, but unless you have access or know that it’s out there, or get it to the right people, you won’t know it’s out there,” she said. Gandy added the program is designed to equip their Fellows with the skills and network to grow and thrive within their respective fields.
The Black Theater Coalition/Broadway Across America Fellowship is recruiting for their second year. Be a part of the legacy and apply at https://www.broadwayfellows.com/application