Black Theatre Coalition Names Tom Andre Bardwell as New Program Director

Bardwell will expand BTC programming and lead the search and hiring process for BTC placements.

Broadway Grosses: Week Ending 5/28/23

Black Theatre Coalition has announced their new Program Director Tom Andre Bardwell who will continue the work of Nik Whitcomb, previous Program Director. Bardwell will expand BTC programming and lead the search and hiring process for BTC placements. As a key team member, Bardwell will develop relationships with program participants, partner offices, and other external stakeholders.

"As Black Theatre Coalition (BTC) continues to grow and expand our reach for black professionals in the American Theatre, we feel truly fortunate to have such an insightful and caring human being joining our team as Program Director," says the BTC founders. "Tom Andre's knowledge and, already apparent, care for our fellows is inspiring and will be a guiding force with each of our partners as well as our fellows and apprentices."

I have met the version of myself no longer living in survival mode, but thriving in community," says Tom André Bardwell. "Joining BTC at this inflection point very much feels like fate. I am grateful to the team for seeing my worth and talent! I look forward to doing the work to make Broadway, nonprofit theaters and the intersecting creative institutions places where Black artists and administrators are truly valued, safe, and empowered."

Over the past year, BTC has been able to support its 40 plus Fellows and Apprentices with more than $1,000,000 of funding. Their goal is to raise a glass to 2030 and celebrate the 500% growth of black professionals working in the theater industry, and

they are well on their way. In their second year, the program will work with 18 offices, 16 productions, and 7 program collaborators. There are 48 participants in the program this year, including 26 Broadway fellows, 18 apprentices, 6 Broadway Across America fellows, and one observer.

In their first year, the program placed BIPOC theatre professionals in crucial positions in offices and on productions across Broadway. The majority of their participants were Black, but they have since expanded by partnering with Ma-Yi Theatre & AAPAC to place a Fellow of Korean descent, Taeuun Yeo, on KPOP, partnering with Broadway for Racial Justice to place an Apprentice of Latinx descent, Jorge Pluas, on Beetlejuice, and partnering with Classic Stage Company to place their first Apprentice on an off-Broadway production with a nonprofit institution.

Additionally, the program itself has expanded and has many different options for applicants including the fellowship program, the apprenticeship program the Sony Music Group composition fellowship, the general management fellowship, the American Express Direction Fellowship, and the BAA Regional Fellowship.

"Our mission, "to remove the illusion of inclusion in the American Theatre by building a sustainable, ethical roadmap toward employment for Black Professionals" continues to lead us into meaningful partnerships throughout our industry and beyond. We realized from the very beginning that this would be no Band-aid fix but a true shift in the theatre model...on Broadway and throughout the entire industry. We are beginning to mobilize, implement and transform through the work of our fellows and apprentices. This is truly just the beginning of a theatrical shift." - Founders of Black Theatre Coalition


Tom Andre Bardwell is a performance artist and arts administrator known for facilitation, people and culture management, budget operations, and copywriting.

His creative leadership style inspires teams to produce and develop transformative programs and projects while prioritizing financial health, clear communications and cultural responsiveness. Barwell earned a M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College and a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Hiram College.

He is a member of the 2022-2023 cohort of artEquity's BIPOC Leadership Circle; Hue, a social impact, tech-enabled community platform; and Public Art Exchange (PAX), an open and transparent network for the Public Art field. Prior to this, he served as an advisor to ARTS at King Street Station, a cultural hub that highlights communities of color and honors indigenous origins.His administrative background includes contributions to the work at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Cascade Public Media, ACT Theatre, School's Out Washington, and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth.


Black Theatre Coalition was founded by T. Oliver Reid and Warren Adams during the Summer of 2019. They identified the disparity between the growing inclusivity onstage, versus the almost non-existence of Black professionals off stage. They invited their colleague, Reggie Van Lee, to join them as Co-Founder in their march towards dismantling the systemically racist and biased ideology in the theatrical job space. Black Theatre Coalition officially filed as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) in June of 2020. Get the latest news regarding Fellowships and BTC programming by subscribing to any of our several social channels:

Recognizing the underrepresentation of BIPOC professionals in the commercial theatre industry, this paid apprenticeship program has been dedicated to fostering and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, access, and inclusion while providing an invaluable, in-depth education in the business of commercial theatre.

The Black Theatre Coalition provides paid opportunities for emerging, mid-career, and career-changing Black theatre professionals to gain real job experience while developing a viable pathway to continued work in the industry as producers, managers, designers, directors, choreographers, and all other offstage positions. The goal of BTC Fellowships and Apprenticeships is to support working artists in fostering meaningful relationships with industry leaders and forming a sustainable pipeline to change the American theatre fundamentally.

For more information about the Black Theatre Coalition, visit their website

For more information about the Black Theatre Coalition, visit their website

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