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The T Fellowship honors the legacy of Broadway producer T. Edward Hambleton. The Fellowship is designed to support the development of gifted emerging theatrical producers.
The T Fellowship is committed to sustaining the finest traditions of creative producing. Although the environment in which theatre is produced continues to change, the underlying principles that have historically shepherded great works of American theater continue to have validity today and must be understood and adapted if the art form is to thrive
The T Fellowship will expose the fellows to the best contemporary producing practices, but will not teach those practices as the only or most effective way to produce theater. The philosophy is that which is good for the art form is good for business. The Fellowship will emphasize that the creative producer's role is to be the instigator, the collaborator, and the leader who gets art on the stage and to the public.
The T Fellowship neither wishes to turn back the clock to 1950 nor settle for the status quo. The T Fellowship is looking to empower new producers to reinvent the wheel themselves on their own terms, following their own tastes, in their own style.
The Founders and Columbia University.
The T Fellowship grew out of an idea that T., a long time Theatre Development Fund trustee, first had in the mid nineteen-nineties. T. worked with Harold Prince, the late Geraldine Stutz, Ed Wilson, and TDF and the idea for the fellowship took shape. The founders felt the needs of the fellowship would be best served in an educational environment. Working in cooperation with Columbia University, The Columbia Arts Initiative (Gregory Mosher, director), the Theater Arts Division of the Columbia School of the Arts (Steven Chaikelson, chair), and the Theater Development Fund (Victoria Bailey, Executive Director), they have defined the vision for the fellowship.
The T Fellowship, as a partnership between theater professionals and Columbia University, will draw on working professionals in the field as well as the extraordinary academic and cross disciplinary strengths that Columbia University offers. Columbia's participation will ensure that in addition to providing hands on experience, the fellowship will also provide an opportunity for an overview of the challenges facing theater producers in a cross-disciplinary, collaborative forum.
Each year, the T Fellowship will select one or two outstanding individuals to participate in a two-phase program.
The first phase, the six-month Rotation Phase will expose the fellows to the widest possible range of contemporary theatrical producing practices while providing opportunities to discuss the shifting role of the creative producer. During this phase, fellows will be placed in "the field" with working professionals. The placement will vary depending on what skills the fellow most needs to develop. It is anticipated that fellows might work in a general manager's office, a production office, or be involved in a production process. In addition, fellows will be able to audit Columbia University courses on producing, management, entrepreneurship, and other topics which will help address the particular learning needs of a given fellow.
Rotation programs will be individually designed based on each fellow's previous experience. The fellows will make a full-time commitment to the program during the Rotation Phase, therefore need-based stipends will be offered.
In the second phase, the Project Phase, the fellows will produce a presentation of work they have developed. The Oversight Committee (defined below) will retain an "advice and consent" role in the selection of the project. However, the goal is for the fellows to exercise maximum freedom as a producer in all creative areas. The T Fellowship will provide financial, legal, and production support of the project development and presentation.
Administration and Oversight
The T Fellowship will be administered by the Theater Arts Division of the Columbia School of the Arts.
An Oversight Committee will be formed. It will include the Founders, the Director of the Columbia Arts Initiative, the Chair of the Theater Arts Division of the Columbia School of the Arts, working theater professionals, and members of the Columbia University faculty. The Oversight Committee will approve fellow selection, rotation programs, project selection, and budgets. In addition, the Oversight Committee will make itself available to the fellows on a one-on-one basis; additionally they will be a resource to the broader Columbia student population through participation in seminars and the bi-annual conference.
Launch and Bi-Annual Conference
The Launch Conference will be the first in a series of bi-annual conferences presented by Columbia University as part of the T Fellowship. It will be a two-day event which will bring together the theater community at Columbia, the intellectual resources of Columbia University with working theater professionals. Speakers and seminars will address a variety of topics determined by the Oversight Committee. The aim will be to stimulate discussion about the economic and artistic challenges of producing theater today. Through these conferences, Columbia will be identified as a leader in continuing to bring together individuals committed to strengthening one of New York City's most important cultural components: live theater.
The T Fellowship is committed to locating extraordinary individuals to become fellows. Limiting selection to one or two candidates a year is fundamental to the program. The limitation on the number of fellows will allow for maximum attention to the individual goals and needs of the fellows. In addition it will insure that the fellowship can maintain a high degree of selectivity. Selection will be based on an application, essays, and interviews.
The first application process will begin in the fall of 2005. The first fellow will begin the program in the fall of 2006.