The Rising Leaders of Color program is no longer accepting applications for the 2024 round.

Deadline: Friday, February 23, 2024 at 6pm CT. Please note the time zone.

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Overview What Who How When 



Who is the RLC program for?


Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. RLC acknowledges that leadership takes place throughout the theatre field and is not necessarily defined by a position or title.

RLC 2024 seeks to develop and highlight six exceptionally talented early-career leaders of color based in Chicago, IL who are committed to upholding equitable practices in the U.S. theatre field.

RLC is created for leaders in early stages of their career, for whom participation would accelerate their leadership development and knowledge of the theatre field. Leaders who have already had significant national recognition and participated in similar programs would be beyond the scope of this program. At the same time, those who are not yet at a point in their career to take full advantage of this type of program will generally not be competitive.

RLC acknowledges that leadership takes place throughout the theatre field and with that in mind, the program supports leaders working in all areas of the theatre field, including but not limited to acting, administration, craft areas, design, directing, dramaturgy, literary management, producing, stage management, technical production, and theatre criticism/journalism. Please note that the RLC 2024 cohort will not include individuals specializing in theatre criticism or journalism, as the RLC 2023 national cohort specifically focused on theatre criticism and journalism.

The program defines a leader as an individual who has had experience leading staff and/or organizations as well as those who have led artistic processes and programmatic initiatives.

Applicants of diverse backgrounds representing the full spectrum of leadership experience, including those who have worked in non-traditional organizations and structures, are encouraged to apply to this program.


Who is eligible?


RLC applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years old by the program orientation on May 13, 2024;
  • Be able to receive taxable income in the US;
  • Be based within 50 miles of the League of Chicago Theatres office;
  • 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, and education), at a performing arts organization, or a community-based organization;
  • Self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). 


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 and BITOC 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.