Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lynn Nottage, Clint Ramos & More Announced for Inaugural BIPOC Theatre-Makers Program

Each participant will be embedded in a specific WTF department this summer, working alongside seasoned practitioners while also learning in a classroom setting.

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Black Theatre United and Williamstown Theatre Festival have announced the participants, visiting luminary artists, and guest professors participating in the inaugural Early Career Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Theatre-Makers Program, a central new component of the Festival's training program. Launched with the support of a generous lead gift from the Tiger Baron Foundation, the Early Career BIPOC Theatre-Makers Program represents the first piece of a new structure that seeks to eliminate systems of racism at the Festival.

This unique program puts early career BIPOC theatre-makers at the heart of Festival operations and in the company of BTU mentors, provides them with instruction and access to affinity groups, and prepares them for careers in the American theatre.

Each participant will be embedded in a specific WTF department this summer, working alongside seasoned practitioners while also learning as a cohort in a classroom setting combining seminars, panels, and structured mentorship with founding members of BTU. Together, both BTU and WTF have built a program that provides each participant with room, board, and a stipend of $2,500.

The 2021 participants and their departments are Veshonte Brown (community works), Isaac Castillo (lighting/electrics), Penzi Hill (development), Jahquale Mazyck (literary), Shaun McBride (producing), Joy Nesbitt (production management), Edmond O'Neal (stage management), Anthony Shepard (audience engagement), Madeleine Winter (costumes), and Raven Zhan (props). Jason B. Lucas is program coordinator.

Visiting luminary artists include director Saheem Ali (Dangerous House at WTF), Tony Award-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Tony Award-winning designer Clint Ramos, and casting director Destiny Lilly and other representatives from The Telsey Office. Each of the visiting luminary artists will offer participants seminars throughout the summer giving them unique insight into their lives and career in the theatre.

This year's guest professors, who will offer rigorous, curriculum-based lectures spanning a variety of disciplines with an emphasis on Black performance, are Rashida K. Braggs, PhD; E. Patrick Johnson, PhD.; Javon Johnson, PhD.; and WTF Trustee LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant, PhD.



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