NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the participants in the fifth round of its Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) Program. Supported by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, and Walt Disney Imagineering, the program seeks to develop and highlight early-career BIPOC leaders across the country who are committed to upholding equitable practices in the field.
This year’s cohort members are Tahnia Belle, Kareem Fahmy, Lanxing Fu, Miranda Haymon, Jasmine Johnson, Peter Kim, A’shanti Tyree, and Victor Vazquez.
“Just as the uprising in our streets against police brutality and white supremacy is making powerful change, so too are BIPOC theatremakers leading our field toward a more just and thriving future,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, in a statement. “We look forward to working with this next cohort to continue building an ever-growing intergenerational network of BIPOC leaders.”
The recipients for this round are based in New York City, building on past programs in Washington, D.C. (2016), Portland (2017), St. Louis (2018), and Miami (2019). The cohort will participate in a year-long curriculum aimed at providing professional development, mentorship, and networking opportunities. The RLC cohort has already taken part in an orientation meeting and attended workshops and events as part of TCG’s National Convening. Programming will continue throughout the year as participants explore concepts of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and engage in conversations about their values, the state of the field, and navigating the field as a leader of color.
“We are proud to introduce the participants in the fifth round of the Rising Leaders of Color program.” said Emilya Cachapero, director of artistic & international programs at TCG, in a statement. “More than ever, as this country wrestles with its legacy of racism and inaction, it is essential to uplift and support BIPOC leaders who have already exhibited their commitment to creating a more just society and who will undoubtedly be at the forefront of shaping our theatre field’s future.”
RLC is part of TCG’s multi-year, six-point equity, diversity, and inclusion initiative aimed at transforming the field into a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse community.
Members of this year’s cohort are as follows:
Tahnia Belle is a Haitian-American arts administrator, cultural producer, and actor. For 20 years Belle has managed social impact and leadership development projects for nonprofit institutions. Her career spans the fields of international programs, higher education scholarship management, small business consulting and the arts. She is director of operations & special projects for Urban Bush Women (UBW) and co-founder of SunnEvents & Consulting, a socially conscious events company. Belle is passionate about contributing to a vision of the field that includes sustainable organizations of color producing values-based work supported by administrators who represent them and in partnership build values-aligned infrastructure, processes and systems. She is an alum of the UBW Summer Leadership Institute, member of Artists Co-Creating Real Equity (ACRE) and Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA). B.A. in Geography & Africana Studies, Hunter College; MPA in Nonprofit Management, University of Colorado/Denver.
Kareem Fahmy is a Canadian-born director, playwright, and cultural consultant of Egyptian descent. Fellowships/residencies: Sundance Theatre Lab, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Phil Killian Directing Fellow), Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center/National New Play Network (National Directors Fellow), Second Stage (Van Lier Directing Fellow), Soho Rep (Writer/Director Lab), Lincoln Center (Directors Lab), New York Theatre Workshop (Emerging Artist Fellow & Usual Suspect). Fahmy is the co-founder of the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at the Lark and of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. MFA in Directing: Columbia University.
Lanxing Fu is a Chinese American theatre artist and co-director of Superhero Clubhouse, an interdisciplinary community engaged in theatremaking to shift culture toward climate and environmental justice. With SHC: playwright and co-creator of Mammelephant (the New Ohio / HERE Arts Center), program director of the Living Stage NYC (University Settlement/Meltzer Senior Center), and co-creator of PLUTO (no longer a play), (the Brick), and JUPITER (a play about power) (La MaMa). She is lead teaching artist with Big Green Theater (Bushwick Starr/SHC). Workshop facilitator and speaker on eco-theatre: the New School, Asian American Arts Alliance, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, CESTEMER, and more. B.A. in Theatre Arts & BA Humanities, Science, Environment from Virginia Tech.
Miranda Haymon, a Princess Grace Award/Honoraria-winning director, writer, and deviser of performance. Their recent projects include Really, Really Gorgeous (the Tank), Everybody (Sarah Lawrence College), In the Penal Colony (Next Door @ NYTW, The Tank), and Mondo Tragic (National Black Theater). Their theatre is radically inclusive, fundamentally multi-voiced, oriented toward sparking dialogue and in direct conversation with the current American state of affairs. Haymon is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where they double-majored in German studies and theatre and were awarded the Rachel Henderson Theater Prize in Directing. Upcoming: Exception to the Rule (Roundabout Underground).
Jasmine Johnson is an administrator, dramaturg, and producer who is passionate about building platforms to uplift the voices of traditionally underrepresented artists. She currently serves as assistant to the artistic director at the Tony-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival, where she has played an integral role in new-play development initiatives by leading the Summer Literary Department and overseeing administration of the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award. This summer, she will step into the newly created role of artistic production associate at Manhattan Theatre Club. Johnson is a proud native of Atlanta and holds a BFA in Theatre from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Peter Kim is an actor, producer, director, and teacher. He has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally. Select Film & TV credits: The 40-Year-Old Version (upcoming on Netflix/Sundance Film Festival 2020 Award Winner), Saturday Church (Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award), Sex and the City, “Chicago Med,” “Ugly Betty.” In his time as associate producer of NAATCO, the company received OBIE awards and Drama League and Drama Desk Award nominations. He is a steering committee member of AAPAC and a lecturer in theatre at Princeton University. He holds an MFA in Acting from the Yale School of Drama & BFA from NYU.
A’shanti Tyree is an artist and arts administrator with a keen interest in development. As the individual giving manager at Manhattan Theatre Club, she helps strengthen existing donor relationships while discovering other theatre lovers to support the work of established and emerging playwrights. She holds a BFA in Theatre with a minor in producing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. When she’s not fundraising, she can be found reading, writing, and sharing her soulful vocals at venues all over NYC.
Victor Vazquez is the founder of X Casting NYC. Through a shared purpose towards collective liberation and anti-racism in all its processes, X Casting reimagines the art of casting. Vazquez served as resident casting director and line producer at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., for three seasons. Previous employment includes: Center Theatre Group, Pasadena Playhouse, Cornerstone Theater Company. Vazquez holds a Master’s degree (with distinction) from the University of Oxford in dramatic writing, and is a member of the Casting Society of America. Originally from Compton, Calif., he is the proud son of Mexican immigrants and Spanish is his first language. He lives and works in New York City.