2020 Leaders of Color Institute

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November 7th and 14th





Saturday, November 7th, 12-1pm (EDT)

Michael J. Bobbitt is the Artistic Director of New Repertory Theatre in Boston, MA.  He is an arts leader, director, choreographer, playwright and Anti-racist Arts Advocate.

Michael has been a leading voice for Inclusiveness in the arts beginning early in his career in his hometown of Washington, DC, and throughout his tenure at numerous prominent arts organizations, where he has been repeatedly recognized for his efforts in the advancement of Anti-racism, Equity, and Diversity. His practices, policies and procedures for creating and changing culture within arts organizations have been adopted by several organizations around the nation. His thought-leadership in this crucial area is now spreading to a number of national outlets including regional panels, national conferences, and his widely popular new series of webinars focused on building Anti-racist organizations.

In his first year at New Rep, Michael eradicated the debt, built three several months of reserves, increased ticket sales by 43%, donations by 24%, patronage by 26% and Board giving exceeded goal by 57%.  Additionally, he has made New Rep into a leading voice on building Anti-racist theatre.

Prior to New Rep, he served as Artistic Director for Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland, where he led the historic organization to be one of the leading theatre/training companies in the DC region and a nationally influential professional Theatre for Young Audiences.  He led the company through a merger, that increased the organizational budget by more than 600%, and led directly to an expansion of the audience base by over 400%. During his tenure, he commissioned 40 new works by noted playwrights, transferred two shows to successful Off-Broadway run in NYC, and oversaw the launch of an international tour that brought worldwide attention to Adventure Theatre-MTC. Michael founded and built a performing arts training academy for school-aged students in the Washington, DC area that became an important resource for young artists in a region where public school arts programs had been sacrificed in the name of cost-cutting. His productions received dozens of Helen Hayes Award© Nominations and featured eight wins.

Bobbitt has directed/choreographed at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Center Stage, Roundhouse Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Opera. His national and international credits include the NY Musical Theatre Festival, Mel Tillis 2001, La Jolla Playhouse, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Jefferson Performing Arts Center, and the 1996 Olympics.

As a writer, his work has been produced all over the country and international.  He has plays published by Concord Theatricals, Plays for Young Audiences and Broadway Licensing.  He trained at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, The National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, Professional Fundraising Certificate Program from Boston University, Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell, artEquity and People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and other top leadership programs. He earned the Excel Leadership Award (Center for Nonprofit Advancement) the Emerging Leader Award (County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities), and Person of the Year Award (Maryland Theatre Guide), among others.

Saturday, November 14th, 12-1pm (EDT)

STEPHANIE YBARRA began her tenure as Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage in 2018. Prior to working and playing in the Charm City, Stephanie served The Public Theater as the Director of Special Artistic Projects, where she led the Mobile Unit and Public Forum programs. Her career started in her home state of Texas, working with Dallas Theater Center and Dallas Children's Theater. She then fled to cooler climates, spending time at Yale Repertory Theater, Two River Theater Company, and Citizen Schools, a national after school program based in Boston. Stephanie serves as a faculty member at The Juilliard School, and repeatedly finds herself guest lecturing for artists and producing students at NYU, Yale School of Drama and more. During her time in New York, she co-founded the Artists’ Anti-Racism Coalition, a grassroots organizing effort to dismantle systems of oppression in the Off-Broadway community. Stephanie’s awards include the Josephine Abady Award for producing from New York's League of Professional Theatre Women, the Congressional Award for Achievement in Excellence from Zara Aina, an international nonprofit dedicated to community-engaged artmaking, and for her sustained work around diversity and inclusion, she received the prestigious Nation Builder Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in 2018. In 2019, she was named to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCA 100 list in recognition of her leadership in using her platform to enact social change. Stephanie serves on the boards of The Make Believe Association and Citizen University. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Jacob G. Padrón is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sol Project and the Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.

He was previously on the artistic staff of the Public Theater as the Senior Line Producer where he worked on new plays, new musicals, Shakespeare in the Park and Public Works. At The Public he supported the work of Tarell Alvin McCraney ("Head of Passes"), Zell Williams ("Urban Retreat"), Mary Kathryn Nagle ("Manahatta"), Universes ("Party People"), Stew & Heidi Rodewald ("The Total Bent"), Tracey Scott Wilson ("Buzzer"), Lemon Andersen ("Toast"), Richard Nelson ("The Gabriels"), Suzan-Lori Parks ("Father Comes Home From the Wars," Parts 1, 2 and 3) and Shaina Taub & Kwame Kwei-Armah ("Twelfth Night"), among others.

Prior to his post at The Public, Padrón was the Producer at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago where he oversaw the artistic programming in the Garage, Steppenwolf's second stage dedicated to new work, new artists and new audiences. In the Garage he produced new plays by Ike Holter ("Hit the Wall"), Christina Anderson ("Man in Love"), Janine Nabers ("Annie Bosh Is Missing"), Edith Freni ("Buena Vista"), and Carly Mensch ("Oblivion") among others. From 2008 to 2011, he was an Associate Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Appointed by Bill Rauch to his senior team, Padrón was instrumental in producing all shows in the 11-play repertory. In addition, he was a part of the producing team that transferred OSF productions to Seattle Rep, Berkeley Rep, Arena Stage and Brooklyn Academy of Music ("Throne of Blood," Next Wave Festival). He was the producer of Suzan-Lori Parks' "365 Days/365 Plays" for Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles under the mentorship of Diane Rodriguez and Emilie Beck.

Padrón is also a co-founder and organizer of the Artists Anti-Racism Coalition, which works to undo racism within the Off-Broadway. In this context, he is a passionate advocate for the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) and ACRE (Artists Co-Creating Real Equity).

In addition to his work on The Sol Project and at Long Wharf Theatre he is also on faculty at Yale School of Drama where he teaches artistic producing in the graduate theater management program. Most recently, he was on staff at Time Warner Inc. (HBO, Warner Bros., and Turner) in Cultural Investments where he supported the theater and film portfolios and identified storytellers for future media projects. 

A graduate of Loyola Marymount University (BA) and Yale School of Drama (MFA), Padrón dedicates this initiative to his first artistic home, El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista, California. 

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