Black Theatre Girl Magic was awarded the United Arts of Central Florida’s Diversity in the Arts grant for their Director’s Circle program. Winning the award along with 10 other grant recipients, BTGM will receive $5000 to support Black and Brown people in the arts. For the Director’s Circle program, this grant assists in increasing the visibility of Black women, BIPOC women, and femme-identifying persons in the decision-making process.
The Director’s Circle is a self-lead group created to build and refine the art of directing. BTGM Director’s Circle organizer, Natalyn McCants compares the program to a garden: a place for novices seeking to grow from those already rooted in the field. The program functions through weekly educational and interactive courses. It also provides networking opportunities through a theatre match initiative, which will match the Director’s Circle’s students with theatres interested in finding up-and-coming BIPOC directing professionals. Spearheaded by McCants and BTGM Education Director MaRah Williams, this grant provides tangible means for supporting these initiatives as well as teacher and staff labor.
When asked about the process of applying for the grant, Williams expressed, “Applying for the grant was an all around positive experience. It was my first time doing a grant application process, and I could not be more pleased with the outcome. It is absolutely incredible that United Arts recognizd the work we do at Black Theatre Girl Magic and believes that it is serving the community’s needs.”
The Director’s Circle is offered free of charge in the hopes of limiting barriers of entry, which makes this grant all the more vital for BTGM. “We will continue creating mutually beneficial partnerships to provide opportunities for our BTGM members,” promises McCants. BTGM strongly believes costs shouldn’t prevent people from learning and growing but also that labor should be compensated.
For BTGM, receiving the United Arts of Central Florida’s Diversity in the Arts Grant is one more step towards their mission of creating a more equitable and racially inclusive entertainment industry.