Wanna be an Associate Producer? Introducing the DTE AP Scholarship.

On my birthday last August, I wrote a blog about my concern for the lack of Broadway Producers under the age of 40.  Our research indicated that only 8% of the Producers in the Broadway League were 39 or younger (read the blog here).

At 8%, that’s a problem!  Producers only get better by producing.  So it’s important that 20 somethings and 30 somethings get opportunities to produce shows now, so by the time they are in the crux of their career, they’ve got the experience necessary to contribute to the theater in the way they want to, and the way that we need them to.

Of course, the problem in our biz is that the admission price for producers is usually a few hundred grand or more, right?  It’s the ultimate entertainment catch 22.  Sure, we need more Producers in their 20s and 30s, but how many of those folks have access to the capital required to earn them that credit?  And without that credit, or the on-site experience that comes with it, how do they convince investors to give them money for their own shows in the future?

‘Tis a conundrum.

I got a lot of feedback from the future Producers of America when I posted that blog last August expressing that kind of concern.  So for the last six months I’ve been trying to come up with some way that I could help.

It’s part of my mission to get more Producers producing . . . or should I say to get more smart Producers producing.

And that’s why I’ve decided to put my money where my blog is.

Introducing the first ever, Davenport Theatrical Associate Producer Scholarship.

What do I mean?

We’re going to accept applications, and one person, between the ages of 18-30, is going to be awarded an Associate Producer position on my upcoming production of Macbeth.

What does that mean?

The winner of the scholarship will receive title page and house board billing, a bio in the program, etc . . . but more importantly, this person will be embedded into the day-to-day process of producing Macbeth and will learn all aspects of what I do . . . from General Management to Investor Relations to Guerrila Marketing to planning the opening night party (and oh, we have such a cool idea for it).  And yes, you’re going to have to do some blogging along the way to let my readers know what you’re learning.

It’s going to be a lot of work.  And it’s not for everyone.  The application process rivals a college app.  And even if you’re chosen to be one of the ten finalists, you’ll then participate in an in-person group interview that will test how you produce/market/manage on your feet.

It’s going to be a challenge.  Because just because we’re producing a play, doesn’t mean it’s play time.

Applications are due on March 6th.  You can get the full details and apply here.

I look forward to working with one of you.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Kevin Rhodes says:

    I enjoyed reading the article about the Associate Producer Scholarship and it’s sounds like a terrific opportunity for a young, driven aspiring producer. However, I am wondering where this kind of opportunity is for those of us who have discovered our drive, passion, and interest for theatre producing late in life and never achieved the financial ability to support his way into this role? I have got all the stuff, skills and then some which you mention it takes, and I turn 50 in July.

  • Kevin Lambert says:

    I am also an older fledgling producer and I agree with Kevin Rhodes. Isn’t youth wasted on the young?

  • Keni Fine says:

    Great, great idea, Ken.
    I must add my “Hear, Hear!” to the two posts so far about excluding the post-30 universe who came later to the producing table.

    If you haven’t heard, 50 is the new 30. Soon to be 60.

    The greatness of the idea – initiating new producers into the heart of Broadway producing – ought not be limited by age. The digital age is not restricting people by age – ask Mr. Sulu!
    Heck, it’s such a good idea, I’d apply myself, and I’m over 30, and quite a catch, if I do say so myself. (And I do.)

  • Ken, this is awesome. Leave it to you! Hope that you locate the next Ken Davenport. And I hope you can use this great idea to generate media about the person you select and the show. (I’ll never forget the three part series Newsday did on an aspiring actress named Ellen Greene.)

    As to the older folks who are complaining, hopefully folks our age have some connections and might be able to raise a few hundred grand for a show. If you want opportunities, there is a Broadway Producers group on LinkedIn. There were at least three major producers who were open to help raising money, including one for a musical of an iconic romantic comedy from the 80s which is being done at a regional theater in Los Angeles this year.

  • Kyle Abraham says:

    I would apply for this position in a heartbeat if I wasn’t in school March 25 through April 21.

  • Joey P says:

    Such an amazing opportunity. Too bad this happened at the wrong time for me. When I was in my

    twenties, I did not know I wanted to be a producer,.alas now I am too old for your scholarship. Bravo Ken.

  • Paige says:

    Ken! This is amazing!! You can certainly expect to see my application in the very near future!!

  • Ronni says:

    Just chiming in to agree about the age thing. What’s the percentage of producers between 30 and 45? I am guessing most producers are over 50, no?

  • I’m 65. About to go into a LLC production with my new theatre, The Other Theatre Company, in Los Angeles. I’m Producing “Brecht On Brecht” and Directing the 40th Anniversary Production of my original Alternative Theatre, Scorpio Rising Theatre’s reinvented multimedia piece by George Tabori that I Produced and Directed in 1973, 1974, and 1975 which received great reviews, great audiences, and ran for seven months each year at SRT. It is a multimedia introduction through Brecht’s poems, scenes, song, audio from his testimony before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee(HUAC), and images that introduce the life and work of one of the most important influences on Modern Theatre. Originally Produced by the American National Theatre Association on the apron of the stage in front of the set for the 1950’s Original Off Broadway Production of “The ThreePenny Opera”. A little bit of theatre that may be more relevant in today’s uncompromising uncooperating extreme political reactionary America. I’m a recipient (as Scorpio Risng Theatre) of a Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Special Margaret Hartford Award, ” For the continued focus on new playwrights and contemporary theatre”, and other recognition. I’ve Directed, and Produced a fair number of pieces, Coordinated a fair amount of significant and powerful Theatre as a Project
    Director all in Los Angeles with the Mark Taper Forum, LA TheatreWorks, Los Angeles Theatre Projects, LA Opera, the Los Angeles High School for the Arts, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Juvenile Court and Community Schools, Alternative Schools, and others, etc. Sure, I’d love an opportunity to work with you. Or even your Help, Ability to ask questions, Access to your legal, accounting, thinking outside the box resources, and Mentorships on this current Project. But it looks like you get to make your own rules. Good luck and best wishes. The Scottish Play isn’t often seen in a creative innovative production. I’ll take intern(s), with a simple interview, and volunteers to help with my production in Los Angeles too! How do we partner to make that happen? Enjoy the experience!

  • Ed says:

    I am a managing director of an active theater and I’m wondering what kind of opportunities there are out there for those of us over 30 to advance to producing in your arena? Why limit this scholarship to that age range? What about those of us who are looking to move up and forward in this business?

  • Matthew says:

    Guys! I’d like to respond to all the older producers who are inquiring about the restrictions on age for the scholarship. I have the feeling the desire for your own opportunity has blinded you to the thrust of the article. Here are some lines to review:

    Producers only get better by producing. So it’s important that 20 somethings and 30 somethings get opportunities to produce shows now, so by the time they are in the crux of their career, they’ve got the experience necessary to contribute to the theater in the way they want to, and the way that we need them to.

    In my understanding, Ken is concerned about the future of showbusiness because of the dearth of young producers. Yes, you may be in desperate need of guidance as a 40, 50, or 60 year old producer, but that doesn’t solve the larger issue or Ken’s concern. That’s why the scholarship is limited to young producers. Surely you can set your ambition aside for a moment and see that.

  • Suzanne Lofthus says:

    Hi all, think it’s a fabulous idea. Am 50 myself but agree with Ken, we need to nurture and enable, passing on skills.

    There is a great scheme here in the UK called Stage One where you can attend a 3 day course which starts you off as a Producer and they have mentoring schemes too. But I think offering someone such an opportunity to be Associate Producer and learn on the job with such a fantastic production is amazing. If I was younger and not working in Scotland already – I’d apply! All the very best with it. Love reading your blogs each day and being challenged by them to think outside the box.

  • Wambui says:

    How great is this? Over the top great! What a fabulous opportunity for someone! Congratulations in advance to whoever you are — and, congratulations to you, Ken, for -, well, for just being so Ken Davenport. PEACE-

  • Ashley says:

    Damn me being 31!!!!!!

  • Jennifer Jenkins says:

    Brilliant idea.

    I hope you’ll do this for every show.
    Then our students who aren’t available for this time frame can prepare for their chance.


  • Joe G says:

    Amazing idea! Well done, Ken.

  • Lynn says:

    Now I’m like a broken record -but my first thought was I’m offended it has an age limit. I’m new to theater in my 40’s. so its a shame you have an age bracket on it.
    And I don’t think its about setting our ambitions aside – we are also the future – many producers are still going in their seventies and that would be my future. still far away…Besides having the ambition already and the work ethic.

    Let us know when it can be for ‘anyone’ willing to give the time and passion to just learn…good idea though…

  • chicava says:

    What I find most of interest about this initiative and true need to cultivate producers is that, in my opinion, it speaks to the impact of celebrity in our current cultural climate. The under the hot lights jobs are most(over)valued.

  • MaryAnne says:

    Kudos to you! This is really a wonderful idea. I was just curious about the professional practicalities of this scholarship (for those holding down another job). Is there financial compensation/insurance offered for that period? How long do you forsee this lasting? And do you think this would open up any long term opportunities? Thank you!

  • Karen Campbell says:

    Do I wanna be an associate producer and work with/learn from you? YES!!! – and it eats me up each time I read your question and know I don’t qualify. Love the idea! Love many of your ideas since you seem to be well outside the box. Kudos. I will continue to be gratified by learning through as many great volunteer jobs as I can handle, reading your blog and knowing that doing what I love will lead to more of doing what I love.. and then, who knows?

  • Kim says:

    Is it just me or is this just an ask for an intern?

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