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NC Black Rep Announces Plans For Inaugural Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artists Awards At 2022 NBTF

The Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artists Awards will present six scholarships to acting, directing, and design students (two in each discipline).

NC Black Rep Announces Plans For Inaugural Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artists Awards At 2022 NBTF

The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep), in partnership with the Southeastern Theatre Conference and Black Theatre Network, will present the inaugural Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artists Awards at the 2022 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), August 1-6, 2022 in Winston-Salem, NC.

The Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artists Awards will present six scholarships to acting, directing, and design students (two in each discipline) to attend the 2022 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), the 2023 Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), and the 2023 Black Theatre Network Conference (BTN). NC Black Rep Artistic Director Jackie Alexander believes events like these play a crucial role in a student's career by introducing them to industry veterans and the academic/professional theatre community, allowing them to showcase their work, and providing future learning/work opportunities. However, he realizes that economics dictate which students are allowed to experience such events, commenting, "I've spoken with countless instructors who bemoan the fact that many talented kids can't capitalize on these opportunities because it's simply too expensive; this program is our first step in attempting to rectify that dynamic." To level the playing field, there will be no application fees, auditions/application materials will be submitted virtually, and travel/housing/per diems will be provided, assuring no student's exclusion due to financial constraints.

NC Black Rep is thrilled to partner with SETC and BTN on the awards. SETC's yearly conference provides students opportunities to audition for undergraduate and graduate academic programs across the country, along with Summer Stock theatre opportunities. SETC Executive Director Susie Prueter feels this program is an important step for the organization, commenting, "SETC is privileged to partner with the North Carolina Black Repertory Company and the Black Theatre Network to offer training, networking, resources, and employment opportunities for emerging Black theatre artists. It is sadly evident that Black theatre artists are under-represented in the industry at large, both on and off stage. It is imperative that we center these emerging Black professionals and their potential ... taking action for better representation, tearing down barriers to participation, creating clear employment entry, and offering supportive mentorship beyond. In addition to opportunities at NC Black Rep and BTN, SETC will be persuasive in encouraging and financially supporting its professional company constituents to hire these emerging Black artists through its Ready-to-Direct, Ready-to-Design, Professional Auditions, and Staffing Development Matching Grants. We're grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for approving a grant in the amount of $10,000 to support this project. SETC looks forward to encouraging and following the careers of the first Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artist Award winners." BTN, a longtime NC Black Rep collaborator, allows students to be introduced to the best and brightest of the Black Theatre Academic Community. Reflecting on the new initiative, BTN President K. Zaheerah Sultan noted, "We are thrilled to partner with NBTF and SETC by providing access to the best and the brightest scholars in theatre. The significance of this next-level career development training birthed on 'Black Theatre Holy Ground' is historical."

The awards are named in honor of Mabel P. Robinson, a Broadway/Television/Film veteran, educator, and former Artistic Director of NC Black Rep. Upon hearing about the creation of the awards, Ms. Robinson shared, "I'm truly humbled and honored to have my name attached to an award that will allow new emerging artists to be exposed to people, organizations and events that will direct them to the right and positive opportunities. These opportunities will enhance and help them to strengthen the art form in which they are interested. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Submission dates and instructions can be found at: www.ncblackrep.org/2022-mabelrobinson-emergingartists



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