It is a wonderful time to be Black and in theater in this country, because 2020 has proven to be an awakening of the societal consciousness that Black creative lives matter, and that Black people only hold a tiny percentage of the jobs on Broadway and in theaters across the country. With that in mind, all types of organizations, like Black Theatre United and Black Theatre Coalition, focus on opening doors for people of color in the arts, from actors to technicians to jobs across the board.
I was excited to learn that Lisa Dawn Cave, production supervisor for Disney’s “Frozen,” in the business both nationally and internationally for 25 years, and a co-founder for Black Theatre United; Beverly Jenkins, who’s managed Broadway productions for 30 years, currently with “Hadestown;” and Jimmie Lee Smith, stage manager with Disney Theatrical Group, currently with “Aladdin The Musical,” along with numerous other Broadway productions, have created a networking organization that aims to connect BIPOC stage managers early- and mid-career with industry professionals and job opportunities. The organization, called Broadway & Beyond will give upcoming stage managers a chance to connect with and learn from industry insiders. Broadway & Beyond will allow people of color to start, maintain and advance their career in the arts via free networking and educational events.
If you are a stage manager or just getting in the business, you will want to attend Broadway & Beyond’s, first free virtual event, taking place on Thursday, December 17 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. To do so, register online at BroadwayBeyondAccess.com no later than Sunday, December 13, as only 75 people will be able to participate. The event will be introduced by Tony Award winning director Kenny Leon and will include a panel discussion and Q&A with professionals from Broadway, national tours and regional theaters across the country. BIPOC stage managers interested in participating can learn more and submit an application at BroadwayBeyondAccess.com. Panelists will be provided with the résumés of all confirmed participants in advance of the event and will engage directly with attendees in small break-out groups.
This event is truly the place to be, as it will include an impressive array of panelists, BIPOC production supervisors, stage managers, and general managers representing organizations including Disney Theatrical Productions, Bespoke Theatricals, Foresight Theatrical, RCI Theatricals, The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), The Muny (St. Louis), The 5th Avenue Theatre (Seattle), and others. A full list of panelists is available at BroadwayBeyondAccess.com.
This is truly a time of positive, hopeful energy and actions towards change and improvement for Black in the theater. We don’t always have access to the people that do the hiring; well, now with Broadway & Beyond, guess what? You will.