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Rolanda D. Bell.

Rolanda D. Bell Awarded 2023 RHE Foundation Artistic Fellowship

The fellowship seeks to support a promising female or nonbinary actor of color and includes a $10,000 prize.

SAN FRANCISCO: Theatre Bay Area (TBA) and the RHE Charitable Foundation have chosen Rolanda D. Bell to be the 2023 RHE Foundation Artistic Fellow. Bell was recognized as this year’s fellow at Theatre Bay Area’s TBAConnect: A Fall Conference for Creatives on Oct. 28. The annual fellowship is awarded to a female or nonbinary actor of color who demonstrates exceptional promise. The honor comes with a $10,000 prize meant to help fellows to take the next step in their careers. Candidates are nominated by a diverse panel of established theatre professionals.

The fellowship “provides a jet pack to the careers of our awardees,” said RHE Charitable Foundation executive director Jennifer Sousae in a statement. “I follow our awardees’ careers for years afterwards. It’s deeply gratifying to see how much they’ve accomplished. Past awardees have appeared on Broadway and on LORT stages across the nation.”

The five other nominees for this year’s fellowship were Jamella Cross, Kay Loren, Aidaa Peerzada, Sharon Shao, and Jasmine Milan Williams. The application process included mentorship and networking opportunities with leaders in the Bay Area theatre community.

“As an actor, I know the incredible impact an investment like this can have on your career,” added TBA executive director Sean Fenton in a statement. “Few awards highlight women and nonbinary actors of color like this fellowship. TBA is honored to continue our partnership with RHE Charitable Foundation for this important award.”

Rolanda D. Bell is an actress, model, singer and storyteller from West Oakland, Calif. She earned acclaim for her performance as Anaia in Aleshea Harris’s Is God Is at Oakland Theater Project. Her feature film debut was in 2018’s Blindspotting, and she has appeared on stage at Berkeley Rep, Aurora Theatre Company, African American Shakespeare Company, and Shotgun Players. Upcoming projects in 2024 will include A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shotgun Players and Shipping & Handling with Crowded Fire.

Theatre Bay Area (TBA) is a nonprofit regional performing arts service organization. TBA seeks to unite, strengthen, promote, and advance the theatre community in the San Francisco Bay Area, working on behalf of the conviction that the performing arts are an essential public good, critical to a healthy and truly democratic society, and invaluable as a source of personal enrichment and growth.

The RHE Charitable Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated to edgy arts, human resilience, and the environment. The foundation aims to to extend the legacy of compassion and generosity created by its founder, Richard Henry Epstein.

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