Rising Leaders of Color


The Rising Leaders of Color program is now accepting applications for the 2022 round.


The deadline to apply has been extended to Friday, April 29, 2022 at 6pm ET.


The Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) Program is a core TCG professional development program for BIPOC, and is an expansion and re-envisioning of TCG’s Young Leaders of Color Program (YLC) which launched in 2008 and TCG’s SPARK Leadership Program. The program’s structure brings national recognition to a cohort of early-career leaders, creates a learning space for affinity and accountability, and expands their network of empowering relationships with leaders across the country.

In 2022, RLC will form a cohort of six exceptionally talented early-career leaders of color from Pittsburgh, PA who are advancing their careers in the U.S. not-for-profit theatre and related sectors, and who demonstrate the potential to impact the field in a positive way.

Activities will span from May 2022 through June 2023:

  • Late May 2022 (Online): Two-Part orientation meeting. The exact meeting dates will be announced at the time of notification. A detailed agenda will be provided in advance of each event.
  • June 14 - 19, 2022 (In-person): Professional development workshops and events in Pittsburgh during the 2022 TCG National Conference.
  • July - October 2022 and February - June 2023: Individual coaching, full cohort meetings, and professional development webinars on topics selected specifically for the needs of the cohort.

Please visit https://circle.tcg.org/2022pittsburgh/home for the full agenda of the TCG National Conference.

To learn more about this program, please download the RLC Program Guidelines. Questions? Accessibility request? Please contact Raksak Kongseng (she/they), TCG's Assistant Director of Grantmaking Programs, at rkongseng@tcg.org.

Info Session

An info session webinar with TCG program staff was hosted on Facebook Live to provide an opportunity for applicants to learn more about the program and ask questions. Watch the recording and download the slide deck via the links below:



RLC applicants must: 

  • Be based within 70 miles of the Westin Pittsburgh, PA;
  • Have experience in a leadership role in the theatre field* or related sector(s) for approximately 2 - 5 years. This may include positions in the theatre field (including but not limited to artistic, production, administration, education, and theatre criticism/journalism), at a performing arts organization, a community-based organization, or an arts publication; 
  • Self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC*).

Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed based on the following and must demonstrate:

  • Talent, skills, and professional experience as an early-career leader;
  • Maturity, flexibility, and ability to adapt to change;
  • Degree to which the program will impact the participant;
  • Potential to take on greater leadership responsibilities;
  • Potential for positive impact on the theatre field;
  • Commitment to anti-racism and EDI in their work;
  • Commitment to a career in the U.S. not-for-profit theatre.

Program Support

Funding for Rising Leaders of Color activities is supported in part by Howard Gilman Foundation and Walt Disney Imagineering.


Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City. www.howardgilmanfoundation.org

Walt Disney Imagineering is the creative engine that designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, and cruise ships worldwide, and oversees the creative aspects of Disney games, merchandise product development, and publishing businesses. https://disneyimaginations.com

Past support for the Rising Leaders of Color program has included The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Knight Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis, and the Weissberg Foundation.

Past Recipients of the Rising Leaders of Color program

A complete list of past recipients of the Rising Leaders of Color program can be found here.

*RLC embraces the broadest range of models and methods for theatre-making and understands that theatres are not uniform in aesthetic, approach, context, structure or delivery. At its core, theatre is an expressive and collaborative art form using any combination of words, voice, movement, media and visual elements to convey an idea, emotion or feeling.

*BIPOC are terms used here for solidarity purposes representing a multiplicity of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. We acknowledge that the terms “BITOC” and “BIPOC” are imperfect, not universally embraced by many who identify as People of Color and/or People of the Global Majority, and that language is in a constant state of reimagination and redefinition. For reference, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color represent over 80% of the global population. It is possible that during the program period, the language may shift again.