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Stephen Byrd & Alia Jones-Harvey to Establish Front Row Productions Fellowship With Columbia University School of the Arts

The fellowship will launch during the 2021-2022 academic year.



Stephen Byrd & Alia Jones-Harvey to Establish Front Row Productions Fellowship With Columbia University School of the Arts

Founders of Front Row Productions and award-winning producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey have announced the launch of the Front Row Productions Fellowship with Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program. The Front Row Productions Fellowship, a partnership between theater professionals and the University, is designed to support the development of gifted emerging theatrical producers and will be used to increase the diversity of participants and work produced within the professional Broadway theater industry. The fellowship will launch during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Modeled after the long-standing and highly successful T Fellowship Program, the Front Row Productions Fellowship will be supervised by an Oversight Committee made up of leaders working in the Theater industry and Steven Chaikelson, Head of the MFA Theatre Management & Producing Concentration. The Oversight Committee will select one or two fellows to participate in the year-long fellowship. Applicants who have demonstrated potential, achievement and/or leadership in and support for the African-American theatre community will be given preference during the selection process.

In a joint statement Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey said, "The lead producers, at the helm of every Broadway show, determine how diverse and inclusive it will be. As two in the shockingly small club of only five Black lead producers in the history of Broadway, our mandate has been to create opportunity for people of color on and off the stage. Recognizing the systemic hurdles to mounting Broadway shows, we have mentored many emerging producers of color. This fellowship draws on our experience as lead producers, on the collective experience of many lead producers who have embraced us in this industry, and on the renowned academic prowess of Columbia University's graduate-level Theater Management and Producing program to equip future Black lead producers with the tools for Broadway. We believe that establishing this pipeline is vital for the inclusive Broadway we imagine."

Steven Chaikelson added, "We're honored that Stephen and Alia have chosen to establish the Front Row Productions Fellowship at Columbia. For the past several years, Stephen and Alia have made important contributions to our MFA Theatre Management & Producing Concentration as guest lecturers. I'm thrilled to be building on that relationship and partnering with them to help recruit, educate and inspire a new generation of creative producers for the commercial theatre."

During their time participating in the year-long Front Row Productions Fellowship, each fellow will develop a new play or musical; receive a stipend and a separate budget allocation to cover development costs; receive one-on-one mentorship from Oversight Committee members; have access to the Columbia University resources including the library system, classes offered through the MFA concentration in Theatre Management & Producing, and selected courses throughout the University; and have the opportunity to participate in the Theatre Management & Producing Concentration's Producer Exchange Program with Stage One in the UK.

Front Row Productions was established to bring major works to Broadway and the West End featuring diverse casts, creative teams and management. Additional application details, deadlines, and information will be announced at a later date.




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