The Black Seed, a national initiative aimed at strengthening Black-led theater groups, has announced grants to a hundred Black theaters.
Developed by the Billie Holiday Theatre in collaboration with the CRAFT Institute, Plowshares Theatre Company, and WACO Theatre Center, the initiative aims to build a "[twenty-first]-century ecosystem for institutional thrivability, collectively tackling racial injustices and inequalities, and creating profound, world-class relevant art and replicable institutional and national partnership models." To that end, the initiative, which was launched with a $5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the New York Community Trust, and the Doris Duke Charitable, Ford, and Howard Gilman foundations, awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 to Black-led and -serving theater institutions.
Recipients include the African American Shakespeare Co. (San Francisco), Ashe Cultural Arts Center (New Orleans), August Wilson Society (Washington, D.C.), Black Liberation Art Center (Oklahoma City), Floyd McCree Theater (Flint), Harlem 9 Inc (New York City), Karamu House (Cleveland), and Tuskegee Repertory Theater (Tuskegee).
"I look at The Black Seed as the North Star," playwright Donja Love, a member of the initiative's review panel, told Playbill. "It's guiding Black theater toward liberation. Never has an initiative come that holds such mighty space for Blackness. The Black Seed is saying all Black people matter. Black women, the Black queer and trans community, Black youth and elders, Black disabled [folks]. We all matter, and we are all worthy."
For a complete list of recipients, see the Black Seed website.
(Photo credit: Tuskegee Repertory Theater)