NEW YORK CITY: Roundabout Theatre Company has launched a series of new programs aimed at increasing diversity offstage, including a directing fellowship and a writers group. This news comes on the heels of announcing its new training program for technical theatre artists.
“Roundabout can only offer so many productions each year, so if there’s a way for us to support the artists beyond the productions, we want to do that,” said Todd Haimes, Roundabout artistic director/CEO, in a statement. “It’s so hard to establish yourself in the arts, especially early in your career. These initiatives give us new methods of making it just a bit easier to do the work that these talented writers and directors should be doing,”
In January, Roundabout launched its directing fellowship for young directors led by resident director Sam Gold. Whitney White is currently the inaugural resident, who will be assisting with Roundabout productions for six months and developing her own projects using the theatre’s resources. For the 2017-18 season, the fellowship will last for a full season and the fellow will assist on three productions. The fellowship application will be available at a later date.
“Support for young directors is scarce,” said Gold in a statement. “I’m so happy that Roundabout is carving out some space for the voices of the next generation.”
For playwrights, Roundabout has launched Space Jam, which offers selected playwrights group writing retreats throughout the season, as well as private office space. In August, Roundabout will partner with the Wyoming Theater Festival in Sheridan, Wyo., to launch a three-week writing residency program, supported with housing, transportation, and stipend for three playwrights. Playwrights selected for the Space Jam either have a commission at the Roundabout or are referred to the theatre.
Jenny Rachel Weiner, whose play Kingdom Come premiered at Roundabout Underground in the fall, has joined the company as an associate artist for 2017, joining current associate artists Mark Brokaw, Doug Hughes, Bill Irwin, Pam MacKinnon, Joe Mantello, Kathleen Marshall, and Theresa Rebeck.
In addition, Roundabout also announced that Fiasco Theater Company will be its company-in-residence. Fiasco recently presented its production of Into the Woods at the Roundabout. As part of the arrangement, the company will have full use of Roundabout’s resources to develop work.
“Fiasco Theater is thrilled to be in residence at Roundabout this season,” said company cofounders Jessie Austrian, Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld in a statement. “After the success of working together on Into the Woods, we leapt at the chance to deepen our relationship with Roundabout in a broad and ongoing way. We look forward to getting to learn from the artistic staff and affiliated artists as we build our next on stage projects.”