NEW YORK CITY: TheFrontOffice Foundation, the charitable arm of director/producer Wendy C. Goldberg’s TheFrontOffice entertainment company, has announced a mid-career grant to a female-identifying theatre director that will serve as one of the largest financial awards to an individual director. With a purse of more than $25,000, the grant will be both merit- and need-based, and is intended both to honor the career of a deserving artist and to keep a spotlight on the gender inequities in the theatre field. Applications are now being accepted through Oct. 31.
“Just prior to the pandemic, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers released a study entitled ‘On the Edge,’ where we finally learned the truth to what we all already anecdotally knew: Once a female director hits what should be the height of her/their career, they instead drop off and out of the active working membership at a startling rate,” said Goldberg in a statement. “Gender bias, overall lack of equity, lack of resources, and lack of consideration for larger and even more commercial opportunities are all barriers to this progress. With the help of some additional leaders in these efforts, we’re creating a mid-career grant for a female-identifying director which is one of the largest financial grants to a theatre director. Currently there is no support quite like this. It’s also special because it’s designed to encourage directors to also give back to our community, and many of my colleagues have gratefully stepped right up.”
To wit, the award is being funded by Rachel Chavkin, Tamilla Woodard, Lear DeBessonet, Wendy C. Goldberg and TheFrontOffice, Lila Neugebauer, and individual donors Peggy J. Koenig and Jerry and Roz Meyer.
“This is not a pipeline issue,” said Chavkin in a statement. “This grant is simply about recognizing an artist already thriving in her/their career, which sadly may not translate to financial stability. Hopefully this award both sheds light on that challenging reality, encourages more hiring of people who haven’t yet made their Broadway debut in the commercial sphere, and helps inspire new necessary funding for mid-career directors. It’s an honor to stand with these treasured colleagues in supporting this grant.”
The grant application, which will be in the form of nominations and self-nominations, will be reviewed by a selection committee led by Wendy Goldberg, Patricia McGregor, Robert O’Hara, Lisa Peterson, and Chay Yew. The recipient will be announced on Dec. 1. Requests for applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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