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Initiative to Help Women in Theater Names Grant Recipients

  • Northern Stage’s producing artistic director Carol Dunne works with actors at a rehearsal in White River Junction, Vt., on Sept. 23, 2015. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/7/2018 10:14:58 PM
Modified: 2/7/2018 10:15:04 PM

The BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle, the $1.25 million program that Northern Stage’s producing artistic director Carol Dunne founded last year to address the dearth of women artistic directors in the theater world, has announced its first “cohort.”

The four BOLD Circle theaters — five, counting Northern Stage, the White River Junction theater company based in the Barrette Center for the Arts — will each receive a $250,000 grant for during the 2018-2019 season.

“There’s a lot of funding that goes with this,” Dunne said in a recent interview. “Our vision is to change the face of leadership in American theater.”

Along with Dunne, cohort members are Susan V. Booth, of the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta; Eileen Morris, of the Ensemble Theatre in Houston; Sarah Rasmussen, of the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis; and Lisa McNulty, of WP Theater in New York City.

BOLD Circle members must use their funds toward specific initiatives, which include hiring 20 percent more female directors and designers over a three-year period; supporting four female designers, writers or directors per season; developing at least one new musical theater piece, written by at least one woman, per season; joining and participating in the Theatre Communications Group, a major professional theater consortium; and — most importantly to Dunne — hiring a competitively-paid woman associate director to mentor, who will have opportunities to direct main stage productions and who will ideally move on to an artistic director position within five years.

The grant may also support artistic research, underwriting the artistic director’s salary up to $80,000 in the spirit of an academic endowment, travel expenses and other initiatives to identify and address the gender-based obstacles women experience in the theater industry.

The grants are funded by the Pussycat Foundation, a nonprofit that honors the late Helen Gurley Brown, the founding editor of Cosmopolitan magazine who was also a theater-lover and a lifelong advocate of women’s rights.

To learn more about the BOLD Circle program, visit

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