April 12, 2021. CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte nonprofit Theatre Gap Initiative announced today it is accepting applications for its 2021-2022 class. Theatre Gap Initiative (TGI) is a nonprofit college-preparatory program for high school Students of Color who seek to apply successfully for Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) programs in America’s universities. This inaugural cohort of 24 students will spend 8 months in intensive independent study with teaching artists. Through one-on-one and group training, as well as mentorships with theatre professionals, each student will prepare her or his strongest BFA audition and college applications.

Theater Gap Initiative is the brainchild of Tony Award winner Corey Mitchell, inaugural recipient for Excellence in Theatre Education and long-time theater educator at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. He retires from public education in June 2021 and is launching TGI. “I’ve seen so many gifted students’ theatre dreams derailed – not because they didn’t have the talent, but because they and their families had no idea how to navigate the grueling BFA-admissions process. That is the gap we want to fill. We believe Theatre Gap Initiative students will be successful in college and go on to become the next generation of Black and Brown theatre professionals.”

THE TGI STUDENT EXPERIENCE. From August 2021 to March 2022, TGI students will meet Monday-Friday from 8 AM to 2:30 PM for classroom, dance, and theatre instruction. In January and February, students will attend National Unified Auditions, the cooperative, simultaneous auditions held by many of the nation’s BFA theatre programs.

In addition to theatre training, TGI students will meet regularly with a college-admission and financial-aid counselor, as well as other professionals, to build skills invaluable to college success: stress management, budgeting, time management, nutrition and healthy living, and conflict resolution. Students will regularly interact with Acting and Musical Theatre professors and theatre-arts role models who will reinforce the message: TGI students belong in the college culture.

ENDORSEMENTS Theatre Gap Initiative’s Advisory Board consists of college students, business leaders, college professors, Arts advocates, and professional artists. Notable Advisory Board members include Billy Porter (Pose, Kinky Boots), Colman Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fear the Walking Dead, Euphoria), Lillias White (Search Party, Fela!), Aunjanue Ellis (Lovecraft Country, When They See Us), Seth Rudetsky (Stars in the House, Seth’s Big Fat Broadway), Rutina Wesley (Queen Sugar, True Blood) and Charles Randolph-Wright (Delilah, Motown; the Musical).

WHY A NONPROFIT? Mitchell weighed launching TGI as a for-profit studio, but he saw quickly the strategic imperative that could only be met as a nonprofit organization. “I want TGI to attract the most promising students – not the most-promising-students-who-can-afford-tuition. So we launched as a nonprofit, encouraged we could enlist scholarship support from a broad community of donors.”

WHO SHOULD APPLY? Theatre Gap Initiative accepts applications from any eligible student, with an intentional focus on accepting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as students from economically challenged backgrounds. Applicants must be:
• High-school graduates taking a year off before applying or reapplying for college admission or
• College students on leave who intend to either return to or reapply for college programs.

WHAT ARE THE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS? In addition to the online application, a student must submit: 1. A transcript showing the student earned a GPA of 2.75 or higher in the last year of study; 2. One letter of recommendation from an arts teacher or equivalent; 3. A Statement of Artistic Purpose, not to exceed 250 words; 4. A performance video consisting of two songs and a monologue; 5. A resume of pertinent training and performance experience. Thanks to a generous partnership with Acceptd.com, students may apply to TGI free of charge. Students must submit an online application by the deadline of May 17, 2021. Acceptance decisions will be announced June 7.

WHAT IS THE COST? This is a tuition program lasting eight months and encompassing travel and expenses for National Unified Auditions (held virtually in 2021). Fees are based on ability to pay; thanks to scholarships and sponsorships covering up to 90% of the tuition, we are able to urge all prospective students who have fire in their bellies for theatre to apply. For more information, see the TGI website. Please make note of the application deadline, above. (Prospective donors who wish to support this program are invited to click here.)

ABOUT FOUNDER COREY MITCHELL. Theatre Gap Initiative’s Founding Artistic Director Corey Mitchell was selected as a top 50 Finalist for 2017 Global Teacher Prize and named North Carolina Outstanding Theatre Arts Educator by the North Carolina Theatre Conference. In 2020, Mitchell was the first recipient of the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Educational Theatre Association and the ASCAP. He also received The Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award from the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte. Corey has twenty-five years’ experience in the classroom, including twenty years as Theatre Arts Educator at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC.

As noted, visit the Theatre Gap Initiative website to learn more about applying for the 2021-22 school year and supporting the TGI Scholarship Fund.