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NEXT WAVE INITIATIVE

A statement from Douglas Lyons,

Founder and Director of the Next Wave Initiative: 

Our nation is currently mourning, while simultaneously healing itself. In times like these I always look towards a solution; a way to pave a path towards America's future. The Next Wave Initiative allows the conversations around "Broadway equality" to become action. This program will fight to erase the ugliness of our past, while investing in the future of our profession. 

Mission Statement: 

The Next Wave Initiative is a developmental branch of The Directors Company, committed to amplifying future Black voices in The American Theatre. 

The Directors Company thanks Sony Music Group for its support to the Next Wave Initiative.

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Your Part: 

100% of the the donations directly funds our scholarships, awards, grants, outreach programs and operational costs. Your support today finances a Black artist's dream tomorrow.  For more information, please reach out to nextwave@directorscompany.org.

AWARDS and SCHOLARSHIPS 

Applications for the 2021/2022 Award Cycle are below. Applications are due January 15, 2022

 

The Lorraine Hansberry Writing Scholarship (Download the Application)

A scholarship payment of $1,959 honoring 1959, the year Lorraine Hansberry made history as the first African-American playwright to debut on Broadway with A Raisin in The Sun. This scholarship is granted to a promising Black artist pursuing a career in Literature, Creative writing, Theatre or Screenplay writing. 

 

The Spike Lee Directing Scholarship (Download the Application)

A scholarship payment of $1,986 honoring 1986, the year Spike Lee made his directorial debut with She's Gotta Have It. This scholarship is granted to a promising Black artist pursuing a collegiate education in direction for stage or screen.

 

The Hattie McDaniel Acting Scholarship (Download the Application)

A scholarship payment of $1,940 honoring 1940, the year Hattie McDaniel became the first Black actor to win an Oscar award for her performance in Gone with The Wind. This scholarship is granted to a Black actor/actress pursuing theatre or film acting on the collegiate level.

 

The Alvin Ailey Dance Scholarship (Download the Application)

A scholarship payment of $1,958 honoring 1958, the year Ailey founded his Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This scholarship is granted to a Black artist pursuing dance on the collegiate level.  

 

The Black Excellence Impact Award (Download the Application​)

A prize of $1,000 awarded to a Black collegiate artist who's used their art to impact their community. 

DEVELOPMENT WING

The First Burp Grant- This grant is awarded to a new play or musical written by a Black artist that has yet to be produced. The grant of $1,000 goes directly towards funding the first 29 Hour reading presentation of said new work. 

 

OUTREACH

The James Baldwin Group a partnership between Black youth ages 12-18 and Black Broadway performers using poetry, art, dance, and writing as a means of healing. 

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The 2020/2021 Next Wave Initiative Winners

THE SPIKE LEE DIRECTING AWARD

Ifeyinwa Arinze (NYU, MFA in Film Production, Class of 2022)

 

THE ALVIN AILEY DANCE AWARD

Quashierra Muhammad (Montclair State University, B.F.A. Dance Major, Class of 2021) 

 

THE LORRAINE HANSBERRY WRITING AWARD

Sally Dean (George Mason University, Creative Writing, Class of 2023) 

 

THE HATTIE MCDANIEL ACTING AWARD

Omolade Wey (UNC-Chapel Hill, MFA Acting, Class of 2022) 

 

THE BLACK EXCELLENCE IMPACT AWARD 

 Ural Grant  (MFA in Acting at Michigan State University. Class of 2024)