New York, NY – Theatre Communications Group (TCG) is pleased to announce THRIVE! Week 2023, a 4-day virtual convening to uplift the leadership and wisdom of U.S.-based Black, Indigenous, and Theatres of Color (BITOC*). Featuring plenaries with featured speakers, round table conversations, panel discussions, and the Intergenerational Leaders of Color (ILOC) meeting, the programming will be created by, for, with, and about BITOC and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC*) communities. The programming is open to everyone to attend through a pay-what-you-will style structure with the exception of ILOC, which is an affinity space. Learn more and register here.
THRIVE! Week 2023 is part of TCG’s THRIVE! Uplifting Theatres of Color program. With $1,635,000 in support from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), TCG is working in partnership with an Advisory Circle of BIPOC to provide unrestricted funds through RESPOND and RECOGNIZE grants for BITOC based in the U.S. (including Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories). In this inaugural round of the program, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation has joined as a supporting partner for theatres in Western states. Additional THRIVE! Week 2023 support has been provided by ALJP Consulting.TCG is looking to partner with additional funders to further augment the reach and impact of the THRIVE! program, and interested parties should contact LaTeshia Ellerson for more information.
“Recent research has confirmed what many working within Theatres of Color have long known—that BITOC are among the most visionary and resilient theatres in our country,” said Teresa Eying, executive director and CEO, TCG. “While these theatres do contend with systemic racism in terms of funding, media coverage, and more, the vibrancy of their work defies any deficit narratives. When we center their leadership and wisdom, the theatre field as a whole grows stronger.”
“There are few intercultural theatre convenings where BITOC from across the U.S. come together to celebrate their resiliency, engage in a mutual exchange of ideas, and build deep relationships with each other,” said Emilya Cachapero, director of grantmaking programs, TCG. “These are nutritious conversations for our times and TCG is excited to share what we learn with the larger field.”
Sessions will include:
Tuesday, July 11, Pathfinders & Our Road Ahead: THRIVE! Week will open by honoring the visionary work of BIPOC leaders who founded Theatres of Color in the 60’s & 70’s, BITOC history and BIPOC Leaders working in the field today.
2:00-2:30 ET, Welcome & Opening Convocation: Guest artist: Tammy Haili’ōpua Baker, artistic director, Ka Hālau Hanakeaka, Honolulu, Hawaii
2:30-3:15 ET, From Their Wildest Dreams: BITOC timeline co-creation: Celebrate the legacy of BITOC and co-create a timeline of major markers. Facilitators: Mei Ann Teo; Khanisha Foster; Alex Meda
3:30 - 4:45 ET, Change = Opportunity: Concerns about leadership succession and transition loom large today, particularly as the workforce has changed and theatres grapple with the impact of the last 3 years. Participants will be encouraged to share learnings, highlights, tips, a-ha moments, fears and challenges - both to help each other work through situations and to inform how others might approach leadership transition in the near future. Facilitator: Jocelyn Prince/ALJP Consulting.
5-6:30 ET, Intergenerational Leaders of Color (ILOC): A TCG Conference cornerstone, this session is an affinity space for Conference attendees who identify as BIPOC/People of the Global Majority.
Wednesday, July 12, Serving Our Communities: Deeply ingrained into BITOC missions is the commitment to meet their chosen communities’ needs and to serve in ways that go beyond theatre-making.
2-3.30 ET, Cultural Centers, Community Centers and More: Many BITOC are expanding their physical space and programming, even in the current financial climate. In a facilitated roundtable, participants will share the ups and downs experienced while building new venues designed with their community at the forefront of the process.
4 - 5:30 ET, Advocating for our Communities: How are BIPOC theatre-makers educating and informing elected officials, the public, and the media about the importance of the performing arts for their chosen communities? What makes advocacy through a BIPOC lens different? Facilitator: Miranda Gonzalez/Urban Theatre, THRIVE! Program Advisory Circle, and Chicago Mayor’s transition team.
Thursday, July 13, Nourishing Our Roots: Community-centric service has always been a core tenet for BITOC, and BIPOC communities are often working in ways that are different from traditional not-for-profit structures.
2-3:00pm ET, Toward a Resilient Future: The Solidarity Economy Movement embodies values of economic and social justice, diversity, cooperation, self-management, and ecological sustainability. How can alternatives to traditional not-for-profit approaches be embraced and activated by theatres? Guest speakers: Seema Sueko, Daniel Park, and Marie-Monique Marthol.
4-5:15pm ET, Interrupting the Norms: A Conversation with Grantmakers
Grantmakers and arts organizations are often characterized as being in opposition. How are grantmakers changing philanthropy by working in partnerships with each other and with BITOC to strengthen the arts field? Facilitator: LaTeshia Ellerson/TCG, with panelists Eleanor Savage/President & CEO, Jerome Foundation and Suellen Burns/Senior Program Director, Driehaus Foundation.
Friday, July 14, Claiming Our Stories: Congressman John Lewis, a standard bearer of the civil rights movement and racial equity in this country, said, “The movement without storytelling, is like birds without wings.”
2-3:15pm ET, Disseminating Our Stories How are BIPOC media leaders and journalists developing, producing and distributing work reflecting a BIPOC POV? As more theatre-makers use media, what can theatre-makers learn from siblings in media? Facilitator: Erica Lauren Ortiz, with panelists Francene Blythe/Vision Maker Media; Jason Delane Lee/Lagralane; and Jason Tiangco/Visual Communications.
3:30 - 4:45 ET: Uplifting Cultural Capital: BIPOC journalists and critics are the key to unlocking meaning in work created by BIPOC theatre-makers that may not be seen otherwise. How are BIPOC writers bringing national visibility to the ingenuity, effective strategies and tenacity of BIPOC theatre-makers? Facilitator: Elena Chang/TCG with panelists Jose Solis, journalist and found BIPOC Critics Lab; Regina Victor, founder and editor-in-chief, Rescripted; and Shannon Lee, founding editor The Amp.
5-5:45 ET: Celebration & Onward: THRIVE! Week will close with a celebration of BIPOC & BITOC artmaking. Guest artists: UNIVERSES.
In addition, Office Hours with THRIVE! Program Advisory Circle members will be throughout the week.
Please find the full agenda here: https://circle.tcg.org/events/calendar/thrive-week-2023.
TCG is inspired by the writings of W.E.B DuBois and defines BITOC as organizations that have been founded by, for, about, with, and near BIPOC communities. THRIVE! recognizes that communities of color often disperse beyond one geographic area. Also, during this pandemic time, TCG recognizes the difficulty of being in physical proximity to community members. For these reasons, TCG defines “near” and “with” broadly to include digital and cultural proximity. In addition to these elements, BITOC are led by BIPOC.
*A note about terminology: BITOC and 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.
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support to the performing arts on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them. DDCF is one of only two foundations in history to have received the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, in special recognition of DDCF’s support of creative expression across the United States and “bold commitment” to artistic risk, which has helped performing artists share their talents and enriched the cultural life of the nation.
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation works to advance equitable change by creating access to systems and solutions that expand economic opportunity, promote innovative approaches to education, improve access to supportive care for life-threatening illness, and lift up social impact theatre. We practice active philanthropy, support outstanding leaders with bold ideas, and explore innovative approaches and models that can be tested locally and, if successful, implemented nationally.
ALJP Consulting puts inclusion and equity at the heart of our practice. We employ planning and search services to address the contemporary challenges of nonprofit organizations in the arts and culture sector. We strive to create more diverse and inclusive environments for artists, administrators and patrons.
Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 20 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring. www.tcg.org.