EXCLUSIVE: TheFrontOffice Foundation , the charitable arm of director/producer Wendy C. Goldberg's TheFrontOffice entertainment company, announced today that it will award a $25,000+ mid-career grant to a female identifying theater director, one of the largest financial awards given to an individual director.
The grant will be both merit- and need-based, and honor both the recipient as well as shine a spotlight on gender inequities in theater.
Applications will be accepted from October 1-31, with the award announcement expected by December.
The selection committee will be led by Wendy Goldberg, Patricia McGregor, Robert O'Hara, Lisa Peterson and Chay Yew, and leading funders for the grant include directors Rachel Chavkin ( Hadestown ), Tamilla Woodard, Lear DeBessonet ( Into The Woods ), Wendy C. Goldberg and TheFrontOffice, Lila Neugebaur and individual donors Peggy J. Koenig and Jerry and Roz Meyer.
"This is not a pipeline issue," said Chavkin in a statement. "This grant is simply about recognizing an artist already thriving in her/their career, which sadly may not translate to financial stability. Hopefully this award both sheds light on that challenging reality, encourages more hiring of people who haven't yet made their Broadway debut in the commercial sphere, and helps inspire new necessary funding for mid-career directors. It's an honor to stand with these treasured colleagues in supporting this grant."
Said FrontOffice's Goldberg, "Just prior to the pandemic, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers released a study entitled 'On The Edge,' where we finally learned the truth to what we all already anecdotally knew: once a female director hits what should be the height of her/their career, they instead drop off and out of the active working membership at a startling rate. Gender bias, overall lack of equity, lack of resources, and lack of consideration for larger and even more commercial opportunities are all barriers to this progress. With the help of some additional leaders in these efforts, we're creating a mid-career grant for a female identifying director which is one of the largest financial grants to a theater director.
"Currently, there is no support quite like this," she continued. "It's also special because it's designed to encourage directors to also give back to our community and many of my colleagues have gratefully stepped right up."
Founded in 2019, TheFrontOffice is an entertainment development company that specializes in crossover content from live theater to new media. TheFrontOffice Foundation, the company's charitable arm, was established in 2020 to support the live theatrical community in the time of the industry shut down.
Applications will be in the form of nominations as well as self-nominations. More information can be found by emailing [email protected]
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