Rising Leaders of Color


Applications for this program are not being accepted at this time.
Future cycles of funding have not been announced.



Since 2016, Theatre Communication Group’s Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) program has nurtured, supported, and uplifted 44 Black, Indigenous, Asian American-Pacific Islander, Latinx, Middle Eastern-North African, and Mixed-race early-career leaders from across the country.

RLC develops and highlights highly talented early-career Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders across the U.S. who are committed to initiating and upholding equitable practices in the theatre field. The program acknowledges that leadership takes place throughout the theatre field and its related sectors. With that in mind, the program supports leaders working in all areas of the theatre field, including but not limited to acting, administration, casting, craft areas, design, directing, dramaturgy, literary management, producing, stage management, technical production, and theatre criticism/journalism.

Funded in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation, an organization that supports performing arts organizations in all five New York City boroughs, RLC 2021 will form a cohort of eight highly talented early-career BIPOC leaders based in New York City who are advancing their careers in the U.S. not-for-profit theatre and related sectors, are committed to advancing an equitable theatre field, and demonstrate strong potential to become change agents impacting the field in a significant way.

The program combines practical skills building, professional connections and opportunities to develop empowering relationships, as well as tools and resources to navigate a career in the theatre field as a BIPOC leader. 

Program Support

Rising Leaders of Color 2021 is supported in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation. Support for alumni activities is supported in part by Hearst Foundations 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

The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations and institutions working in the fields of Education, Health, Culture and Social Service. The goal of the Foundations is to ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives. The charitable goals of the Foundations reflect the philanthropic interests of William Randolph Hearst. www.hearstfdn.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 Knight Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis, and the Weissberg Foundation.