TCG is pleased to announce the launch of THRIVE!, a regranting program to provide unrestricted funds and professional development and technical assistance for U.S.-based Black, Indigenous, Theatres of Color (BITOC). With $1,635,000 in support from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, TCG is working in partnership with an Advisory Circle of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to craft a program that will include regranting, leadership development, convening, and widespread dissemination of learnings. At the core of this new program is a call for emergent, complex thinking to help BITOC thrive and reach their highest potential, with opportunities for reflection and collective action. The THRIVE! Program is launching as part of THRIVE! Week, a virtual convening from June 7-11 with programming by, for, and about theatremakers who identify as BIPOC, POC, or People of the Global Majority.
“W.E.B. Du Bois defined Black Theatre as about, by. for, and near Black people. In that spirit, TCG defines BITOC as those who are founded by and making theatre by, for, about, with, and near communities of color,” said Emilya Cachapero, director of grantmaking programs, TCG. “THRIVE! will build on the long legacies of these theatres to create BITOC-specific programs, connect BITOC to equitable funding from grantmakers, and bring national visibility to and support for the ingenuity of BITOC.”
Working in emergent partnership with BIPOC leaders, THRIVE! will have three main areas of activity:
GRANTMAKING: The program will provide rapid response grants to address immediate conditions as well as larger unrestricted grants to empower BITOC to self-determine areas of their programming and operations that are most in need of funds. Field Conversations with BITOC and BIPOC community leaders will be held early in the program activity period to inform the grant program's structure.
CONVENING: The experiences of BITOC and BIPOC communities will be centered in THRIVE! Convening programming to uplift their leadership and wisdom, which is not regularly shared with the field at large.
DISSEMINATION: TCG will disseminate learnings and ideas to the U.S. theatre field and beyond through American Theatre magazine, the TCG Circle, convenings like TCG’s National Conference, and other online and in-person platforms. Additionally, BIPOC who are not yet theatre journalists or critics but who exhibit the talent for and interest in writing for the field will be invited to participate as contributing writers.
Working closely with an Advisory Circle of BIPOC theatre leaders and representatives of BITOC throughout the life of the program will ensure that the components are relevant and useful. Advisory Circle members include:
Andrea Assaf, Founding Artistic Director, art2action; Miranda Gonzalez, Producing Artistic Director, Urban Theatre; Andre Harrington, Professor of Design at California State University, San Bernardino; Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley, Artistic Director, KC Melting Pot Theater; Leslie Ishii, Artistic Director, Perseverance Theatre and Board President, Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artist; Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, National Black Theatre; Alexandra Meda, Artistic Director, Teatro Luna; Kate Moore Heaney, Artistic Producer, Noor Theatre; Meena Natarajan, Executive and Artistic Director, Pangea World Theatre; Ryan Opalanietet Pierce, Artistic Director, Eagle Project; DeLanna Studi, Artistic Director, Native Voices; K. Zaheerah Sultan, Founder and Executive Director of Mind Your Business Art; Meredith Suttles, Managing Director, Marin Theatre Company and Steering Committee Member, Black Theatre Commons; and Torange Yeghiazarian, Founder, Golden Thread Productions.
A note about terminology: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color represent over 80% of the global population. TCG acknowledges that BITOC and BIPOC are terms used here for solidarity purposes representing a multiplicity of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. The terms “BITOC” and “BIPOC” are imperfect and not universally embraced by People of the Global Majority. Language is in a constant state of reimagination and redefinition, and the language used by THRIVE! will likely evolve over the course of the program.