Being selected as a Young Leader of Color by TCG was an important turning point in my life and career. I was introduced to a cohort of tremendously talented young leaders from across the country who shared similar experiences and passions, which was invigorating and reassuring. The carefully curated experiences led by TCG staff which allowed us to share and develop our voices around issues we deemed important were vital. I felt connected to a supportive community across the country with whom I remain close today, over a decade later, and continue to admire as I witness their successes. TCG provided a platform for growth, visibility, connection, and mentorship for which I will always be grateful.
It is my sincere hope to be able to return some of what was invested in me in the SPARK leaders coming up. Programming like this undoubtedly shapes the field for the better.
Co-Artistic Director, Penumbra Theatre
TCG has a long-standing history of providing theatre professionals with opportunities to expand their artistic boundaries, increase their knowledge of the field, and sharpen their leadership skills.
Each year, TCG highlights recent individual recipients of different programs through Spotlight On activities at our annual National Conference. As the largest annual gathering of theatre people in the country, the TCG National Conference is the ideal opportunity for TCG to present outstanding individuals identified as a critical part of the next wave of leadership in the field. These future leaders have the ability to interact with a diversity of theatre-makers from across the country—and the world—for model sharing, knowledge exchange, as well as the opportunity to witness great local performances celebrating the local theatre scene.
In honor of our longstanding commitment to professional development across the field, we feel the time is right to expand the Spotlight On brand beyond the Conference. With this in mind, we are excited to be hosting the Spotlight On Series on TCG’s blog, the TCG Circle, throughout May and June—all content leading up to the Conference.
For the 25th National Conference in Cleveland, TCG is highlighting the current recipients of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship and the SPARK Leadership Programs. These programs are unique to our field, and provide critical support and mentorship for the future leaders of our art form.
(Photo by Michael Daniel of Fox Fellow André De Shields’ breakout session at the 2014 TCG National Conference: Crossing Borders.)
The Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships program is designed to provide substantial support for exceptionally talented actors to further their artistic and professional growth and deepen their relationships with a host theatre. This program acknowledges the physical and intellectual demands on an actor’s life. It recognizes that an essential component of the actor’s artistic growth is a commitment to continued development of the human instrument: voice, body, intellect and imagination. This program allows actors to define themselves in the broadest way possible in regards to aesthetic and organizational structure, such as: traditional theatre organizations, avant garde collectives, ensembles and more.
For more information about the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships program, look HERE.
Currently in its inaugural year, the SPARK Leadership Program is focused on supporting rising leaders of color and is an expansion and re-envisioning of TCG’s Young Leaders of Color Program (YLC).
(Photo of the SPARK Leaders at the Center for Creative Leadership.)
The YLC Program, launched in 2008, convened theatre professionals of color from across the country at TCG’s National Conferences to learn from one another, network, and engage in a dialogue about the next generation of theatre leadership. There are 79 alumni of the YLC Program working around the country in all areas of theatre.
The intent behind the SPARK Leadership Program is to create a more diverse theatre landscape by supporting the professional development of exceptional leaders of color who aim to take on executive leadership positions at U.S. not-for-profit theatres in the areas of artistic direction, management, and/or producing. SPARK will provide 10 rising leaders who self-identify as leaders of color with the opportunity to participate in a curriculum that will focus on Knowledge & Skills-Building, Networking & Professional Connections, and Self-Awareness & Inclusion.
Through this blog series, we proudly introduce this cohort of future leaders to you. We hope you will enjoy getting to know them by their responses to our questions regarding their career, their thoughts on the field, and how they define and practice leadership in their work as theatre professionals. Over the next six weeks, TCG will be posting these interviews here on the circle. You can keep up to date on these posts by following TCG on Facebook and Twitter, where we announce them as soon as they are up.
Thanks for reading and see you in Cleveland!