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The BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle, led by Northern Stage Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne, is a visionary initiative created to bridge the career gaps for women+ in the American theater.  The Circle’s mission is to create a diverse network of women+ artistic directors in professional theaters across the United States and empower them to address the issues preventing women+ from advancing in theater leadership.  The Circle offers major support of artistic initiatives driven by women+ artists and has created a formal mentorship program that trains and prepares future women+ artistic directors to lead, create, innovate, and deepen the impact of theater on American culture. 

The first cohort of the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle includes Susan V. Booth (The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA), Eileen Morris (The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, TX), Sarah Rasmussen (formerly the Jungle Theater, Minneapolis, MN; now the McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, NJ), Lisa McNulty (WP Theater, New York, NY), and BOLD founder Carol Dunne (Northern Stage, White River Junction, VT).

Conceived in 2017 by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation as a major grant to support female identifying (women+) artistic directors, designers, and artists, the Circle was launched in 2018 and is already changing the face of professional theater leadership in the United States.  Since the Circle’s founding, five BOLD associates have been promoted to theater leadership, over 60 new works by women have been developed, and five musicals by women are currently in development. Our story proves that when women who have achieved major leadership in predominantly male fields are given the support and tools to focus on mentoring the next generation, they are a powerful force for systemic change.