A group of theatre producers have joined forces to launch The Theatre Leadership Project (TTLP), an ambitious nonprofit aimed at providing resources to programs that seek to diversify commercial theatre leadership. The new organization has partnered with leading theatrical organizations Black Theatre Coalition and Columbia University’s Prince Fellowship and an advisory council that includes key entertainment figures including Whoopi Goldberg, Kamilah Forbes, Whitney White, Aaliytha Stevens, Brian Moreland, Robert Fried, Stefan Schick and Oliver Sultan to establish a three-year fellowship program. The program will train, mentor and place the next generation of Black producers, general managers, company managers and stage managers in an industry where Black professionals are dramatically underrepresented. Set to begin in fall 2021, the fellowship programs will be open to candidates across the U.S. who desire careers in commercial theatre management or production.
Founding members are producers Barbara Broccoli (Once, The Band’s Visit), Lia Vollack (MJ the Musical, Almost Famous), Alecia Parker (Waitress, Chicago), Patrick Daly (The Mountaintop; August: Osage County) and Travis LeMont Ballenger (MJ the Musical, Almost Famous). TTLP, together with its Advisory Council, will advise on TTLP programming and act as mentors to the fellows. Leah Harris, formally of Dallas Theater Center and Milwaukee Rep, will serve as program manager.
“It is our belief at TTLP that long-term financial support alongside training/mentorship and networking opportunities will provide successful outcomes for the program’s participants. We are thrilled to be in partnership with existing organizations such as Black Theatre Coalition, supporting the leadership work they are already doing at the forefront of change,” said Broccoli and Vollack.
For General and Company Management Fellowships, TTLP will partner with Black Theatre Coalition (BTC), which has created year-long fellowship programs aimed at bringing Black artists and managers to all areas of the theatrical field. In collaboration with TTLP, Black Theatre Coalition will create six two-year General and Company Management Fellowships with six leading Broadway general management offices. After the first two years in Black Theatre Coalition program, TTLP will work to assist fellows with job placement.
BTC Co-Founder and Artistic Director T. Oliver Reid said, “We realized that there was a necessary element that no one has talked about: long-term, sustained, paid apprenticeships and fellowships. Through Black Theatre Coalition’s Management Fellowships, in partnership with TTLP, we can make certain that when these general and company management fellows are given opportunities, they are ready for it.
Being in these rooms and building relationships, alongside the knowledge gained during the fellowship will help us move the needle towards equity in the American theatre.”
Each year, the distinguished Prince Fellowship (formerly the T. Fellowship, in association with the Columbia University School of the Arts) provides one early career producer with the network, financial resources and mentorship necessary for a career as a creative producer. Beginning in 2021 for three successive years, TTLP will partner with the program to fund an additional fellow. TTLP Creative Producing Fellows will each spend the second year of their fellowship working in a production office. In the third year, TTLP will use its financial resources and networks to help the fellows find job placement opportunities.
TTLP has also contributed to the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program for stage management; an additional announcement will be forthcoming on TTLP stage management fellowships.
All TTLP Fellows will receive a compensation package that includes healthcare. Please see the TTLP website, www.theatreleadershipproject.org, for more information on the package.
TTLP has been generously supported by the Dana & Albert R. Broccoli Charitable Foundation; Diana DiMenna; John Gore, Lauren Reid and the John Gore Organization; K Period Media; MGM; and the Shubert Organization, Inc. All donations are tax-deductible through The Theatre Leadership Project’s 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF).