New Federal Theatre was overlooked when Mayor Michael Bloomberg made an anonymous gift of $10 million to 162 New York City cultural institutions in Feb. 2003 via the Carnegie Foundation ("Bloomberg Gives $10M to NYC Arts," Back Stage, Feb. 21). I believe New Federal Theatre has contributed significantly to the betterment and the cultural life of New York City for over 32 years. I do not believe the Carnegie Foundation was acting on the mayor's wishes when they ignored New Federal Theatre two years in a row.
We simply ask: How is it possible that the Carnegie Foundation dismissed or ignored New Federal Theatre's contributions to the cultural life of the city?
New Federal Theatre's mission is to integrate minorities and women into the mainstream of American theatre through training and presentation of plays by minorities and women. Our programming includes: two acting workshops, a playwriting workshop, and three mainstage productions per year.
The plays have broken new ground and set standards of excellence that have resulted in numerous awards as well as critical acclaim. NFT provided opportunities for numerous individuals that reads like a who's who in the world of theatre and film, including Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Ntozake Shange, and Trazana Beverly.
The audiences for these programs are culturally diverse: 37% come from Manhattan; 27% from Brooklyn; 11% from the Bronx; 9% from Queens; 5% from Westchester County; 2% from Long Island; and the others from the tri-state area.
Woodie King, Jr.
New Federal Theatre