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New York, NY (March 11, 2022) – Co-founders T. Oliver Reid, Warren Adams, and Reginald ReggieVan Lee and Executive Director, Olivia Jones announced today new leadership within the organization. Black Theatre Coalition (BTC), the organization aiming “to build a sustainable, ethical roadmap to increase employment opportunities for Black theatre professionals” brings on Nik Whitcomb as Program Director.

Whitcomb states, “I could not be more thrilled to join the team of BTC as Program Director! Creating space for Black artists to have a real seat at the table has been central to my work for many years now and I am excited to bring that mission to this new role. There is much work to be done and I am ready to hit the ground running to change the American theatre for the better!”

Nik Whitcomb, Program Director, is a theatre artist, casting director, producer, educator, and equity & inclusion advocate that has spent the majority of his life in the entertainment industry. Nik has worked in various capacities with nonprofit arts institutions across the country such as Guthrie Theater, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Omaha Performing Arts among others. He is a member of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education where he serves as a mentor for the Leaders of Color Institute and a reader on the Distinguished Play Committee. Nik developed, mentored, and produced the Puppeteers of Color Incubator in Chicago (alongside collaborator Jamillah Hinson), managed education programs at both the Omaha Community Playhouse & The Rose Theater, and consults with creative organizations around the nation on strategic planning and implementation of sustainable business models. He is an Ensemble Member with the Performing Arts Collective at The Union for Contemporary Art, the Education Coordinator with The Stillwell Institute for Contemporary Black Art, the Communications Strategist for The House of Afros, Capes, & Curls, an Associate Member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, and was named a “Theatre Worker You Should Know” by American Theatre Magazine in April of 2020.

T. Oliver Reid, Warren Adams and Reggie Van Lee, co -founders of Black Theatre Coalition are enthusiastic about the growth of the team and organization with the addition of these two extremely talented professionals.

BLACK THEATRE COALITION recently completed its inaugural Apprentice Program with the opening of the critically acclaimed Broadway revival, Company and is currently working with Hangmen and Beetlejuice with more productions planned. BTC also has an ongoing Broadway Fellowship Program which has currently funded 35 fellows with more to come in this first year, as well as a regional fellowship program in cooperation with Broadway Across America/JGO.

Over the 154 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 high time to end this ‘illusion of inclusion’ by reshaping the theatrical ecosystem for those who have been marginalized by systematically racist and biased power structures that have endured since the dawn of the American theater.”

BTC encourages Black Theatre Professionals to add their information for the upcoming database by visiting their website.
For partnership inquiries email – Olivia@blacktheatrecoalition.org
For submissions – Submissions@blacktheatrecoaliton.org
For more information about the Black Theatre Coalition, visit their website www.BlackTheatreCoalition.org

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