By Southwester Staff 

The Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Southwest DC has relaunched 

 the Allen Lee Hughes BIPOC Fellowship Program. The Fellowship Program, named for the Tony Award-nominated lighting designer, is reclaiming its roots as a professional training program for individuals who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). 

“Arena has been committed to providing training to aspiring BIPOC artists and administrators since its inception,” said Artistic Director Molly Smith. “We are renewing this commitment with a specific focus on providing mentoring and educational aspects, as well as on-the-job experience for BIPOC fellows. This reinvigorated commitment comes with the necessary resources to support fellows while they are living with us in Washington, DC.”

Since 1990, Arena Stage has supported young artists through the Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship Program. Arena Stage’s Founder and Artistic Director Zelda Fichandler and Artistic Associate Tazewell Thompson co-founded the theater’s fellowship program for individuals of color as part of Arena Stage’s cultural diversity program. The fellowship program has trained more than 700 young theater professionals and aims to cultivate the next generation of BIPOC theater professionals by providing the highest standard of training through immersion in the art and business of producing theater.

“The fellowship program was founded to bring people of color into the Arena family, train them and promote them,” said Allen Lee Hughes. “I am very happy to see it return to the original intent, and I am so proud of Arena Stage’s commitment to emerging talent.”

The full-time program, which includes a weekly stipend, offers personalized training and in-depth, hands-on experience with top-tier professionals in artistic and technical production, arts administration, arts education and community outreach. Fellows are mentored by Arena Stage staff members, participate in professional development workshops and attend monthly meetings with directors, designers and senior staff administrators who provide insight into the overall management of the theater.

Fellowship opportunities are available in categories such as artistic development, arts administration, community engagement, and production, including costumes and lighting. 

 Applications will be accepted through February 11, 2022. To apply, visit

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