Interview: American Theatre Wing Shares Details on Free Summer Theatre Program

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, May 31st!

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The American Theatre Wing is a nonprofit organization, founded on the eve of America's entry into WWI by seven suffragists and theater-makers who came together to support the nation by harnessing the power of theater.

Through a powerful suite of programs that address all aspects of the national theater ecology, ATW encourages the discovery of theater by people of all ages, nurtures talent on stage and off, creates pathways for success for students and young professionals, and encourages the development of the art form itself by recognizing and supporting innovative and excellent work with awards and grants. Building a just, equitable, and inclusive American theater is a guiding principle of all of ATW's work and programs.

In partnership with Design Action, Springboard to Design is a tuition-free program that encourages and mentors students from underrepresented populations in the industry to explore the process of theatrical collaboration and the many avenues of American Theatre design. Springboard to Design aims to provide students with access to theatre education they may not otherwise receive. Therefore, no prior experience is required to participate. Applicants with an interest in sewing, fashion, drawing, painting, building, creating, and storytelling are highly encouraged to apply. Students who already have a love for theater but don't know where they fit in are also encouraged.

We sat down with American Theatre Wing to learn more about Springboard to Design.

What is the benefit of students applying to Springboard to Design?

For so many students, their first and only experience in theatre is performing on stage. Yet we know that theatre is an entire ecosystem of players, and performers only make up a small (but important) percentage of the team responsible for putting on the stories our stages tell. Springboard to Design is a program that not only demystifies the nature of behind-the-scenes work, but also provides access to the industry at an early but crucial age. Led by renowned members of the contemporary theatre in the heart of NYC, Springboard to Design is a FREE program that includes workshops, seminars, and access to important work on Broadway and off. Instructors will consist of award-winning artists who will create a collaborative environment for students, as they explore costume, set, lighting, projection, and sound design.

What made you decide to offer a free program?

Springboard to Design was created to get more students from underrepresented populations into the pipeline for disciplines of theatrical design, so making sure it is accessible is a top priority in order to truly make an impact.

Who is involved with the program?

The program is a partnership between the American Theatre Wing and Design Action. Past speakers and guest artists include Clint Ramos, David Zinn, Natasha Katz, Leigh Silverman, Rachel Chavkin and more!

What is the hope/goal for this program?

The goal is to expose more students to careers in design before they embark on the college/university application process. Additionally, our goal is to expand the pipeline for the design field so that it is reflective of the world we live in.

Who is this program designed for?

In addition to students from underrepresented populations, this program is ideal for the student that has an interest in theatre but doesn't know where they fit in. It's also great for the student who wants to further explore creative outlets like painting, drawing, sewing, etc., and learn more about career paths that stem from those interests.

What does the schedule look like during the program?

A sample schedule for the program can be found here. A final schedule will be circulated to accepted students closer to the start of the program.

What would you like our readers to know specifically about the program or American Theatre Wing?

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, May 31st at 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET). For more information on Springboard to Design, including FAQs, a sample schedule, and a link to the application, please visit our website.

Visit to learn more about the extensive programming and grant opportunities for students, theatre professionals, and audiences. For the latest updates and news, follow the Wing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.



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