NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce the launch of the second round of the Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) Program, supported by Meyer Memorial Trust and Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment. Building on learnings from the 2016 Washington, D.C., program, the second round of the program will focus on early-career leaders from Oregon, this year adding a theatre criticism/journalism track alongside opportunities for early-career administrators, creative, and technical theatre staff.
This cohort will be featured in programming at the June 2017 TCG National Conference in Portland, and will participate in a year-long curriculum designed to provide professional development and networking opportunities. RLC is part of TCG’s commitment to changing the face of the theatre field by nurturing and supporting an intergenerational network of leaders of color at various stages in their careers. The online application submission deadline for RLC is May 1, 2017 at 12 p.m. Eastern time.
“Research reveals that a lack of racial diversity in leadership positions at our theatres continues to be one of the most significant barriers to achieving field-wide equity,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, in a statement. “Supporting early-career leaders through the Rising Leaders of Color program aligns with other TCG programs to dismantle racism, such as our Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute.”
“TCG is a highly respected national organization and we are happy Oregon’s arts community will host this year’s conference,” said Candy Solovjovs, director of programs, Meyer Memorial Trust, in a statement. “Our support for the Rising Leaders of Color Program acknowledges the unique role that theatre can play in transforming culture and dismantling systemic barriers to equity. We look forward to following the impact these leaders will contribute to their communities, and to a flourishing and equitable Oregon.”
“Because I am a member of the inaugural cohort of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) program, doors that have been closed to me throughout my career are beginning to open,” said Ouida Maedel, grants manager, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in a statement. “My tireless, lifelong work in the arts and culture sector, and the expertise I have nurtured as a result, has a new air of legitimacy it did not before. In a field that continues to be fraught with inequities at all levels and a staggering underrepresentation of women and people of color in leadership positions at theatres nationwide, programs like RLC are our best hope for building towards a future in which our cultural organizations meaningfully engage and radically reflect the communities they claim to serve.”
In 2017, RLC will form a cohort of exceptionally talented early-career leaders of color from Oregon who are advancing their careers in and around the U.S. not-for-profit theatre, and who demonstrate the potential to impact the field in a positive way. Participants will take part in an orientation meeting and attend all professional development workshops and events in Portland from June 4-11, where they will be highlighted as part of Spotlight On activities. The program will then offer a year-long professional development curriculum designed to strengthen their leadership skills. Participants will explore concepts of equity, diversity and inclusion, engage in dialogues about the state of the field and the next generation of theatre leadership, and create a personal strategic plan.
RLC is a part of TCG’s multi-year, six-point Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative to transform the theatre field into a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse community. Learn more about the Rising Leaders of Color program here, and the EDI Initiative here. Information about applications is here.
“These early-career leaders will help to shape a more progressive future for the theatre field through their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said Emilya Cachapero, director of artistic & international programs, in a statement. “Their potential to impact the field is undeniable, and TCG is proud to nurture and support these exceptionally talented leaders of color. RLC along with the SPARK Leadership Program will form an intergenerational network of support and sharing that will empower participants to continue and expand the movement towards a more equitable theatre field for the future.”
This year’s theatre criticism and journalism track is likewise designed to help widen and deepen the talent pool of voices documenting, reflecting, and challenging the field. “Many candidates for high-profile jobs in theatre criticism and journalism, including at American Theatre, are still predominantly white and male,” said Rob Weinert-Kendt, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, in a statement. “Including early-career theatre journalists of color in this cohort recognizes that journalists and critics are leaders too—leaders who can benefit both from the equity, diversity, and inclusion curriculum alongside other leaders in the field, and from other year-long professional development opportunities.”
RLC builds on the learnings and momentum of the Young Leaders of Color (YLC) and the SPARK Leadership Programs. Since 2008, YLC has brought 79 leaders of color to TCG National Conferences. RLC expands and re-envisions that community as part of an ongoing intergenerational network of leaders of color. From 2014-15, the SPARK Leadership Program assembled a cohort of 10 leaders of color for a focused, year-long professional development curriculum. Through RLC and SPARK, TCG will support a variety of professional development and networking programs to meet the diverse needs of theatre leaders of color. Learn more about SPARK here and YLC here.
“Being recognized as a Rising Leader of Color has been an incredible honor,” said Bryan Joseph Lee, director of marketing and communications, Round House Theatre, in a statement. “By far the greatest value of the RLC has been the vast network of experienced, committed and driven professionals I’ve had the pleasure to meet through TCG. My cohort of nine colleagues has provided support, encouragement and motivation as I continue within my chosen career path. I’ve also learned from new peers, mentors and colleagues throughout the field. I am incredibly excited to continue my relationship with TCG for years to come.”