ALLIANCE OF TEATROS LATINOS NY ANNOUNCES “TEATROFEST NYC 2023”, A CITYWIDE EXTRAVAGANZA OF LATIN DRAMA, DANCE AND MUSIC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
BLACK THEATRE COALITION
ANNOUNCES LANISE ANTOINE SHELLEY AS RECIPIENT OF THE 2023 AMERICAN EXPRESS DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP
FORMED IN 2020, COALITION WORKS TO ELIMINATE RACIAL INEQUITIES IN EMPLOYMENT IN THE AMERICAN THEATER
New York, NY (February 17, 2022) – Black Theatre Coalition co-founders T. Oliver Reid, Warren Adams, and Reginald “Reggie” Van Lee, along with Executive Director Olivia Jones, and Program Director Nik Whitcomb, announced today that Lanise Antoine Shelley has been chosen as the recipient of the 2023 American Express Directing Fellowship.
Formed in 2020 to eliminate racial inequities in American theater, the Black Theatre Coalition currently has more than 50 fellows placed throughout the industry. The Directing Fellowship provides a $50,000 annual salary and the opportunity to participate in the efforts of mounting a Broadway production. Each fellow in the cohort will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in their area of the industry, working alongside current industry leaders at the highest levels, learning the process of theater making from the executive, creative, and administrative areas. The Fellowship also provides mentorship and guidance from Black professionals currently working in the industry and from BTC Accomplices within offices where fellows are placed. Additionally, Black Theatre Coalition will produce “Pop Up Events” in which the full cohort of fellows will have the opportunity to put skills into practice.
The Black Theatre Coalition currently has fellows working with specific productions on and off Broadway as follows: Taylor Courtney, Devon Miller, David Norwood, Carrli Cooper, Brandon Kelly, Nia Blizzard, John Bronston, Adam Hyndman, Tyra Wilson, Amy Marie Haven, Jourdan Miller, Amina Alexander, Jordan Booker Medley, Lori Tishfield, Crystal Monee Hall, Danielle Covington, Brandi Knox, Michael Leon Thomas, TaNisha Fordham, Jorge Pluas (in partnership w/ BFRJ), Kevin McAllister, Matthew Johnson Harris, and Aaron Ward.
Lanise Antoine Shelley (She/her/hers) is a Haitian actress, director, visual artist, and podcaster who is the host and creator of “When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees.” In Shelley’s new role as American Express Directing Fellow, she will direct a reading of Phaedra, by Jean Racine at the Red Bull Theatre February 20, starring Jennifer Ehle and David Strathairn.
Shelley directed her full-length play Pretended (Paramount Theater), The Tragedy of King Christophe, adapted The Snow Queen (The Chopin); an audio adaptation of Rastas and Hattie with 16th St Theater, starred in and associate produced indie horror film Fresh Hell, directed in the Rites of Spring Festival with Rising Sun Performance Company.
2022 Inaugural Director Fellow, TaNisha Fordham was hired full time with Company after her Black Theater Coalition (BTC) fellowship and selected as the directing fellow in October 2021. Fordham’s recent accomplishments include current Associate Director for Bad Cinderella, post show moderator for a talk back of Fat Ham at the Public Theatre, and Assistant Director at Houses on the Moon with BTC co-founder Warren Adams.
Other Industry Partners helping fund these fellowships include Madison Wells Media, Disney Theatrical Group, Jujamcyn Theatres, Bespoke Theatricals, Foresight Theatricals, 101 Productions, RCI Theatricals, Showtown Theatricals, Thompson Turner Productions, Sony Music Group, Adventureland, Mara Isaacs, Tom Kirdahy Productions, Hal Luftig Company, Doug Denoff, Hunter Arnold, Daryl Roth Productions, Stage Entertainment, Moulin Rouge, Come From Away, Hamilton, Tara Rubin Casting, Telsey + Co, Spotco, DKC/O&M, Broadway Women’s Alliance, Bond Theatrical, American Express and The Theatre Leadership Project (TTLP).
Over the 155 years since the very first Broadway musical (The Black Crook) premiered in 1866, the “Great White Way” has seen 3,002 musicals and 8,326 plays. Across all of these productions, there have been only Ten Black directors of a musical (0.3%) , Eleven Black directors of a Play (0.13%) and Seventeen Black choreographers of a Musical (0.56%). All of this directly correlates to the fact that there have only ever been Two Black lead producers of a musical (representing 0.06% of all Broadway musicals). Furthermore, the numbers for Writers, Composers, Scenic, Lighting, Costume, Sound, Video, Music Contractors, Musical Directors, Arrangers, Orchestrators, Hair/Wigs/Makeup, Casting, General Management, Stage Management, Company Management, PR and Marketing/ Advertising range from 0 to 5 in each category.
In a joint statement, Mr. Reid, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Van Lee said, “Once we identified just how vast the disparity is between the perceived inclusivity on stage and the utter dearth of black professionals off stage, we began outlining ways in which we could address and ultimately eradicate this invisible imparity. This outline provided a clear path forward for our organization and our entire industry. It’s time to reshape the theatrical ecosystem for those who have been marginalized by systematically racist that has been part of American theater.”
For more information about the Black Theatre Coalition, visit their website www.BlackTheatreCoalition.org
For partnership inquiries email – Partnership@blacktheatrecoalition.org