Black Theatre United (BTU) was formed in 2020 as an advocacy organization to pursue equity within theater communities.

In 2020 as Broadway shut down with the rest of America, Black theater artists, mainly from Broadway, formed Black Theatre United (BTU). The group’s overall mission is to advocate for equity within the theater community. BTU is also committed to pursuing opportunities for students and industry professionals who have been historically marginalized in the theatre community.

Norm Lewis is on the BTU executive leadership committee. He is currently in the national touring company of “A Soldier’s Play.” Lewis was also recently elected treasurer of BTU.

“We started early during the pandemic when we had so much time off,” Lewis said. “We put many things in place for BTU’s vision. Now that things have opened back up, we’ve gone through some restructuring but are still moving forward.”

With actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage managers, BTU created a plan called “The New Deal.” That brought
together BTU with theater owners, producers, creatives, and unions on initiatives to honor Black theater artists. Notable recent accomplishments saw the Shubert Organization officially rename Broadway’s Cort Theatre to the James Earl Jones Theatre in September. In November, the Nederlander Organization rechristened Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre as the Lena Horne Theatre.

“We’re trying to do phenomenal things by giving scholarships and opening doors in jobs not only on stage but in management, administration, casting and other theater careers,” said Lewis.

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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