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Theater Resources Unlimited Town Hall: The Steps Taken Towards Gender Parity

March 21 @ 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


Theater Resources Unlimited returns to live monthly panels and discussions simultaneously streamed for artists outside New York City. The first Live Town Hall of 2024 will take place on Thursday, March 21, 2024 with networking at 6:30 pm and an open forum beginning at 7:00 pm ET. The event will be held at Polaris North Studio, 245 W 29th Street, 4th Floor, NYC. For more information and to register, please visit https://truonline.org/events/steps-towards-gender-parity/.

The Town Hall will be co-hosted by Danielle DeMatteo, founder and artistic director of SheNYC Arts, a nationwide nonprofit showcasing new, original works by gender-marginalized writers, composers and directors; actor, singer, author Lynnie Godfrey, president of the League of Professional Theater Women; Sarah Rose Leonard and Brittani Samuel, co-executive directors of The Lillys, creator of The Lilly Awards to honor the work of women in the American theater, as well as advocating for BIPOC women in theater; writer, director and producer Lauren Yarger of Gracewell Productions, co-founder of League of Professional Theater Women, Connecticut branch. Moderated by TRU co-founder Cheryl L. Davis, general counsel for The Authors Guild, and TRU executive director Bob Ost.

TRU monthly conversations continue about issues of current cultural significance. This month, dedicated to Women’s History, TRU puts the focus on the ongoing uphill battle for gender equality, with a look at organizations dedicated to breaking through the barriers, overturning cultural assumptions and achieving progress towards greater parity. What programs do they offer, and what initiatives do they have in place that help increase opportunities for women and female-presenting artists? What else needs to be done? Admittedly, change happens slowly, and it all starts with awareness.

Attendees are encouraged to talk about their own experiences with gender discrimination. TRU offers this as an opportunity for everyone to learn from actual experiences and find ways to support each other while exploring initiatives that might bring us closer to genuine respect and acceptance. All attendees are encouraged to participate in the conversation.

Doors open at 6:30pm for networking and roundtable introductions of everyone in the room – come prepared with your best 20-second summary of who you are, and what you need. The Open Forum will start at 7:00pm. Free for members of TRU, Polaris North and members of SheArts, LPTW and The Lillys; $15 for non-members (with a $5 ticket option available to anyone who needs it). Please use the bright red reservation box here on our web page, or email or phone at least a day in advance (or much sooner): e-mail TRUStaff1@gmail.com

DANIELLE DeMATTEO is a writer/composer, photographer, and Artistic Director of SheNYC Arts. After working in the creative department at Jujamcyn Theaters (working on such shows as Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, The Book of Mormon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Something Rotten!, two seasons of Encores! at New York City Center, and more), she focused her work on fixing the gender gap in the Broadway industry. She founded SheNYC Arts in 2015 and is eternally grateful to all of the other talented arts workers who have helped it grow and develop since then into a nationwide nonprofit organization that operates in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Outside of SheNYC, most recently she was on the worldwide Production team at Disney Theatrical Group, working on Frozen, The Lion King, and Aladdin around the globe. As a writer, her musicals have run off-Broadway, in Boston, and Chicago; her most recent piece, Queen Anne, was the 2021 recipient of the Brooklyn Arts Council grant for musical theatre. In addition to her work in theater, she was one of the original organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, and has worked on a number of New York political campaigns, including as the Campaign Manager for Art Chang’s 2021 Mayoral run. She was recently featured in Forbes Magazine and was named one of Five Women to Watch as Broadway Returns by Shonda Rhimes’ publication, Shondaland.

LYNNIE GODFREY is a multifaceted talent, with experience as a performer, director, and producer. She trained under Broadway luminary Lloyd Richards (renowned for directing A Raisin in the Sun) and Carnegie Hall’s Dr. Chauncey Northern Sr. She was honored with the Scrimshaw Distinguished Visiting Artist Fund. Notable achievements include a drama desk nomination for her Broadway debut in Eubie! and receiving the Tyrone Guthrie Award for directing excellence. She’s also earned NAACP recognition for producing. Further accolades include Dramalogue and NAACP Awards for Supporting Actor, and an AUDELCO Award for her performance in Shuffle Along. Her recording of “Snow Queen” garnered both the Audio Earphone and Benjamin Franklin Awards, while her CD’s received Grammy nods. Actively engaged in the arts community she serves on board such as the New York board of the League of Professional Theatre Women and Artsquest’s E.D.I.A. Council, among others. As president and CEO of GodLee Entertainment, Inc., and the Artistic Director of Essence of Acting Inc., she’s a driving force in both business and nonprofit spheres. Her radio /podcast program “Lynnie Godfrey Straight No Chaser,” explores the arts’ societal impact. Notable performance productions like Charles White’s Unentitled and readings of new works such as Celeste Bedford Walker’s Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed. In television and film, she appeared in Norman Lear’s 704 Hauser, 227, Amen, and LA Law, among others. She is an active member of various professional organizations and is currently President of The League of Professional Theatre Women and is the author of Lynnie Godfrey, Sharing Lessons Learned While Seeking the Spotlight. www.lynniegodfrey.com

SARAH ROSE LEONARD (she/her) is a dramaturg and creative producer. She is currently a Live Events Producer at KQED, Northern California’s NPR and PBS member station. Previously, she was the Literary Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Literary Associate at Signature Theatre. She dramaturgs plays nationally, reads on a bunch of committees, and her curating/producing work includes three PRELUDE Festivals and a myriad of downtown NYC theatre projects. In 2024, she joined Brittani Samuel as co-Executive Director of The Lillys.

BRITTANI SAMUEL (she/her) is a Caribbean-American arts journalist, theater critic, and the co-editor of 3Views on Theater. Her work has appeared in American Theatre Magazine, Broadway News, The New York Times, and several other publications. She is an alum of the BIPOC Critics Lab and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute, as well as the inaugural recipient of ATCA’s Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism. In 2024, she joined Sarah Rose Leonard as co-Executive Director of The Lillys. To read more of her published work, visit BrittaniSamuel.com.

LAUREN YARGER With her company Gracewell Productions, Lauren produces the Table Readings Series at the Palace Theater, CT; “Staged Intent” Series Ivoryton Playhouse; Women of a Certain Age in Westport County Playhouse. She is the executive producer of the Outer Critics Circle awards, co-founder of the CT chapter of the League of Professional Theater Women and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a thirty year old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, opportunities and productions; presents weekly Community Gatherings; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through the TRU Voices Play Reading Series, TRUSpeak: Hear Our Voices evening of short plays, Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation, The Storyline Project and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org


March 21
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


Polaris North
245 W29th St
New York, 10001 United States
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