NY Theaters to Get $2 Million to Diversify Behind the Scenes

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Harlem Gospel Choir / Festival uličnih svirača

January 12, 2017; New York Times

NPQ has, over the past year, covered increasing calls for diversity in theater. One of the pieces we ran as part of the EDI (equity, diversion, and inclusion) series, with which NPQ has partnered with Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, was “Blackness in Nonprofit Theater: Where Representation Becomes Marginalization.” We have also covered the New York scene with a tighter lens because of the level of scrutiny there.

While diversity among performers in New York City’s theaters has become a big issue, less attention has been paid to diversity behind the scenes—in administrative and production and sales jobs, where 70 percent of the workforce is white. In the city, only 33 percent of residents are white.

Now, the New York City Theater Subdistrict Council has announced that it will make $2 million in grants towards diversification of that workforce, specifically to fund training and mentorship opportunities in fields like arts administration at nonprofits such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harlem Stage, Roundabout Theater Company, and the New York Theater Workshop.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who sits on the council, commented:

New York is a theatre town. From the dynamic cluster in Midtown’s Theater Subdistrict to stages around the city, NYC’s theatre scene attracts the very best performers, producers, and technicians, engaging audiences from across the city and beyond with performances that express the full breadth of our collective creativity, imagination, and emotion. Bringing this level of excellence to our theaters takes a collaborative effort from a huge range of trained professionals. With the help of the Theatre Subdistrict Council, New York can take the lead in expanding access to good paying career opportunities in theater for historically underrepresented communities, paving the way for theater to remain a vibrant sector that speaks to all New Yorkers.

—Ruth McCambridge