The KCACTF/LORT ASPIRE Leadership Fellows Program

The KCACTF/LORT ASPIRE Leadership Fellows Program is designed to cultivate a new generation of artistic and administrative leaders for the American Theater with a focus of engaging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and members of other groups that are historically underrepresented in the field. This diverse national cohort of fellows assembled from all of KCACTF’s eight regions will engage in topics concerning equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism as well as leadership skills building, investigation of institutional challenges, and professional networking opportunities.

This week-long fellowship occurs as part of the annual national convening of the American College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The curriculum is designed and led by professionals from LORT institutions in partnership with staff from the Kennedy Center and the American College Theatre Festival Regional Chairs.

The fellowship includes, but is not limited to:

  • Workshops in management of institutional processes within the regional theater model.
  • Discussions with Kennedy Center leadership and staff, using the Kennedy Center’s resources for discussions about challenges and opportunities in the performing arts
  • Site visits to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and DC-area theaters including Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, and others to examine real world examples of leadership and institution Discussions with professionals from around the country within the field around the issues they face in their various communities

To apply for the fellowship, applicants will:

  • Participate with candidate’s school in an KCACTF regional festival and its Arts Administration Program (where offered).
  • Participate in workshops or panels led by LORT representatives and/or guest artists at the regional festival. 
  • Submit a resume to Region’s Chair for consideration for the fellowship.

Applicants for the Aspire Leadership Fellows Program are evaluated based on potential and interest to:

  • Create and articulate an artistic or administrative vision.
  • Lead and inspire others.
  • Collaborate with all members of a team.
  • Engage within the community at large.
  • Think outside the box and innovate.
  • Articulate the theatre's role and relevance in global diversity and current events.


For more information about the ASPIRE program and the application process, please contact LORT EDI Co-Chair Kelvin Dinkins, Jr. (General Manager, Yale Repertory Theatre, or Stefanie Sertich (KCACTF National ASPIRE Coordinator,

THE LEAGUE OF RESIDENT THEATERS (LORT) recognizes that the lack of representation among people of color and women in the leadership of American theaters is a problem for the field and its ability to represent the spectrum of the American story now and in the future.  Statistically, the leadership of American theaters is predominantly male and predominantly white. LORT has launched several programs through its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative to expand the number of field leaders who identify as women and/or people of color.

THE KENNEDY CENTER AMERICAN COLLEGE THEATER FESTIVAL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION STATEMENT:  The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival affirms its commitment to policies and practices of promoting inclusion and diversity in its leadership, both regional and national, as well as in its programming. We pledge to nurture talent in all areas of the theater based solely on merit and achievement. We encourage production respondents to avoid discriminatory comments and embrace the variety of artistic choices generated by the diversity of perspective that exists on college campuses across the country. We promote collegial exploration of new ideas, supported by a clear understanding of long-held artistic practices, fully respecting the communicated intentions of the playwright. We encourage discourse that effects positive change in the ways that under-represented groups are portrayed onstage, and we oppose acts of cultural appropriation and character depictions that deepen existing cultural divides. We embrace the idea that diversity in experience and perspective makes our organization stronger and more relevant and is therefore essential to our educational mission of training the future artistic leadership in American theater.