A Three-Year Initiative to Educate & Train a New Generation of Theatre Professionals
March 6, 2017 - Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO) and Education at Roundabout (Jennifer DiBella, Director of Education) are proud to announce the Theatrical Workforce Development Program (TWDP), the theatre industry’s first workforce development program to train and place young adults in professional technical theatre careers. This new initiative aims to break down the barriers that prevent young adults from joining the industry and empower a diverse new generation of theatre professionals. In partnership with the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the youth development non-for-profit, The Door, Roundabout’s new program marks the first collaboration between a theatrical employer and the union that represents backstage workers to train and place young adults in professional careers as Stagehands, Riggers, Electricians, Sound Engineers, Carpenters, Hairstylists, Makeup Artists and Wardrobe Workers. This program adds another arm to the 20-year Roundabout education program that reaches 35,000 students, educators and patrons annually in all five boroughs of New York City and around the country.
The Theatrical Workforce Development Program, with substantial funding and support from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), includes three years of training, job placement and one-on-one mentorship with top industry professionals to ensure a smooth and successful transition from high school graduate to working theatre professional. Each year, the program will provide a group of up to 20 fellows with a living wage, relevant skills and industry knowledge, work experience, access to world-class venues and resources and support services to navigate this environment. The $500,000 earmarked by MOME in support of this program marks the first City partnership to specifically address diversity in the theater industry workforce. In partnership with SBS, MOME also played a key role in the development of this program through early convening of industry leaders.
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Small Business Services are proud to partner with the Roundabout Theatrical Workforce Development Program to establish the Made in New York Stagecraft Boot Camp. The Boot Camp will train the fellows in safety, workforce readiness and technical skills. This six-week intensive will kick off the longer 10-month hands-on technical training and will serve as a vital component preparing fellows for their future job placement.
This initiative comes on the heels of a spate of programming from MOME this year focused on increasing economic opportunities for New Yorkers in the City’s booming entertainment sector. These include the Made in NY Writers Room, a fellowship program for TV writers from diverse backgrounds presented in partnership with SBS and the Writers Guild of America, East; and the MOME Women’s Fund for Film and Theatre, a first-of-its-kind $5 million grant program for filmmakers, playwrights, and theatre producers working on projects by, for, or about women.
“The Theatrical Workforce Development Program is a necessary extension of the work Roundabout has been doing for the past 20 years in New York’s public schools through Education at Roundabout. Our programs have always aimed to leverage the resources of the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre to create partnerships with students, educators, early career professionals, and audiences, always using theatre as a tool to both captivate and mobilize the communities we serve. We are so proud to be adding to that important work by now joining with IATSE and The Door to provide this pathway into technical theatre careers for New York City public school graduates. And we are thrilled to spearhead this first-in-the-industry initiative, which we hope can become a model for similar programs nationwide,” notes Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO of Roundabout Theatre Company.
Roundabout employs more than 400 technical theatre professionals annually and its education programs reach more than 35,000 people each year. For over twenty years, Roundabout has trained teachers, teaching artists, and high school students in technical theatre skills. In addition to lead partner IATSE, additional partners include: IATSE, The Door, The Public Theater, Theatre Development Fund (TDF), the Apollo Theater, Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (ART/NY).
Roundabout has cultivated a strong relationship with IATSE through five years of collaborating on other technical theatre education programs for high school students. Given both parties’ existing impact on the technical theatre workforce and technical education, the goal of the program is to solidify a bridge from Roundabout’s youth development programs into industry-leading technical theatre jobs throughout the City and beyond. The Door is a new partner, contributing vital career readiness and social skill building that are essential for a successful professional career.
“The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) represents over 130,000 technicians in live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, broadcasting, and concerts. Roundabout’s Theatrical Workforce Development Program will play an important role in creating tangible pathways for economically disadvantaged students into sustainable well-paying careers. IATSE is proud to partner with Roundabout in providing this new program, and welcomes this as an opportunity to build a more economically and racially diverse technical theater workforce. We feel this partnership is vital to strengthen the ties of the arts to the larger New York City community,” notes Matthew Loeb, President of IATSE International.
Based on data from the New York State Department of Labor, the demand for stagecraft jobs is projected to grow up to 24% by 2020. The need for individuals to receive subsidized training, paid experience, and a growing professional network to fulfill the growing need in the field has become even more apparent. This program seeks to strengthen and expand the ecosystem of the theatre community.
“New York City’s $13 billion theater industry creates a vast array of career opportunities, and we’re committed to connecting New Yorkers with training and resources to access these jobs,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “The Theatrical Workforce Development Program and its Made in New York Stagecraft Training will provide participants with technical skills that will prepare them for productive careers in the City’s booming entertainment sector. We thank Roundabout for creating this highly sophisticated program and look forward to seeing substantial results.”
“The theatre industry is an essential part of the fabric of New York City, and this program will open doors for more New Yorkers to work in the field,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “A local theatre industry that reflects the rich diversity and talents of all New Yorkers is an industry that is built for success.”
“For more than 50 years, Roundabout Theater has been a pillar of New York’s theater community, producing exciting new work and cultivating generations of talent both on and off the stage,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner and Chair of the Theater Subdistrict Council Tom Finkelpearl. “Along with the Department of City Planning, we are proud to support this innovative new partnership as part of the most recent round of Theater Subdistrict grants aimed at opening up positions to New Yorkers from all backgrounds, strengthening our dynamic theater community by building pipelines to new talent. I applaud Roundabout, IATSE, and my colleagues at MOME and SBS for this commitment to training and mentoring the next generation of workers who make New York theater happen behind the scenes.”
“The Door is gratified to join the Roundabout Theatre Company and IATSE in its commitment to creating real, living wage career pathways for young people who often have no access to high quality training programs” says Andrea Vaghy Benyola, Managing Director of Career and Education Services, The Door.
Developed as an initiative of JobsFirstNYC’s Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP), the YASEP provided Roundabout and its partners with an opportunity to collectively plan the program while learning from workforce development experts and peer programs, and continues to shape our understanding of how we are poised to affect change in industry-wide practices.
“The Theatrical Workforce Development Program represents an unprecedented opportunity to affect change at the systems level by simultaneously bringing great value to the industry in terms of a ready and available pipeline of young, trained talent, and affording young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to embark in careers that will ensure their economic mobility and professional growth over time. We have been privileged to have the Roundabout Theater Company leadership and all their partners join us in the YASEP, where we have been able to share best practices and to continue to support and build this work over time,” notes Lou Miceli, Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC.
COMPONENTS OF THE PROGRAM
The Theatrical Workforce Development Program will accept applications from young adults from New York City who have completed their high school degree or HSE within the past five years. This includes alumni from the existing Roundabout partner schools and on-site after school programs.
The first cohort of fellows are currently enrolled in their first year of training, with the hopes of retaining up to 50 young adults in financially-sustaining careers by the end of the three year pilot period.
In the first year, fellows receive 38 weeks of training at Roundabout Theatre Company in their education spaces and theatre venues. This first phase includes 30 hours a week of instructional skill and theory overview, hands-on training in all departmental disciplines including observing theatre professionals on the job at Roundabout and the Apollo Theater, and a 2-month summer internship at a participating theatre. Throughout the training program, fellows will receive a living wage, reimbursed travel, one-on-one mentorship with an IATSE professional, access to IATSE training workshops, and retention support services.
The second year includes placement in an entry-level job at a not-for-profit theatre in their chosen trade. Fellows will continue to receive one-on-one mentorship with IATSE professionals, Roundabout-led wrap-around career programming, IATSE trainings, and retention support services from The Door. At the end of this phase, in the third year of the program, fellows will continue to be supported while they pursue contract work from their new professional networks and our cultivated network of theatres and performance, sports, cruise line, and conference venues.
Roundabout’s Theatre Workforce Development Program is made possible through the visionary generosity of Denise R. Sobel and the Tikkun Olam Foundation, Inc. and The Kaplen Foundation.
Major funding is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, and the Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC.
This program and other Education at Roundabout initiatives are also supported by JobsFirstNYC’s Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project, The New York Community Trust, the State of New York through the New York State Council on the Arts, and NYC’s Human Resources Administration and Center for Economic Opportunity’s joint support through the Work Progress Program.
ABOUT EDUCATION AT ROUNDABOUT
Education at Roundabout turns Roundabout’s theaters into classrooms and classrooms into theaters, for more than 35,000 people each year throughout all five boroughs of New York City and around the country. For over 20 years, Roundabout has developed education programs that provide students with access to the arts, encourage social and emotional learning, cultivate skills they will need to succeed in college and careers, and give their teachers the tools to help students flourish. Education at Roundabout has expanded to include diverse programming ranging from student matinees, to classroom residencies and school-wide partnerships in the NYC public schools, to professional development workshops for teachers, to audience engagement programming for our subscribers, to an apprenticeship and internship program, and our after-school program, Student Production Workshop. For more information, visit roundabouttheatre.org/education, and youtube.com.
If you are a young adult interested in applying to TWDP, or if you are an organization that would like to become an employment partner, please visit roundabouttheatre.org/twdp for more information.
ABOUT ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
Roundabout Theatre Company is committed to producing the highest quality theatre with the finest artists, sharing stories that endure, and providing accessibility to all audiences. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the production of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate and engage all audiences.
Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays, musicals, and new works on its five stages, each of which is specifically designed to enhance the needs of Roundabout’s mission. Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design, is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics. Roundabout’s Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions. The Stephen Sondheim Theatre offers a state of the art LEED certified Broadway theatre in which to stage major large-scale musical revivals. Together these distinctive homes serve to enhance Roundabout’s work on each of its stages.
American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Roundabout’s season in 2017 includes Arthur Miller’s The Price, directed by Terry Kinney; If I Forget by Steven Levenson, directed by Daniel Sullivan; Marvin’s Room by Scott McPherson, directed by Anne Kauffman; Napoli, Brooklyn by Meghan Kennedy, directed by Gordon Edelstein; and the national tour of Sam Mendes & Rob Marshall’s Tony Award-winning production of Cabaret. The spring 2017 Roundabout Underground production is On the Exhale, a new play by Martín Zimmerman, directed by Leigh Silverman.
Roundabout’s new off-Broadway season dedicated to new work at the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre in 2017-2018 will include The Last Match, by Anna Ziegler, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch; Amy and the Orphans, by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Scott Ellis; Skintight, by Joshua Harmon, directed by Daniel Aukin.
Roundabout Underground’s 2017-2018 season will include Too Heavy for your Pocket, by Jiréh Breon Holder.
ABOUT THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is comprised of two divisions. The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting encompasses film, television, radio, theatre, music, advertising, publishing, digital content and real estate as it relates to the creation of creative content. It serves as a one-stop shop for the entertainment industry. The Office promotes New York City as a thriving center of creativity, issuing permits for productions filming on public property, and facilitating production throughout the five boroughs. The Agency also oversees NYC Media, the City’s official broadcast network and media production group, which has a reach of over 18 million people and provides programming for six local cable stations, including award-winning programs on the popular NYC Life (channel 25), as well as one radio station. For more information, please visit: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/mome/index.page
ABOUT THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building thriving neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.