Master Artist-in-Residence Program



The Master Artist-in-Residence program reinforces the Apollo Theater's commitment to celebrating African-American arts and culture, supporting emerging and established artists of color, and serving as an artistic, educational and community resource. This three-year initiative, which will include events on the Apollo’s iconic stage, the digital stage stage, and in the new Apollo spaces in the Victoria Theater in fall 2021, will further deepen the relationship between Ta-Nehisi Coates and the nonprofit theater.

Ta-Nehisi Coates was announced as the Apollo Theater’s first Master Artist-in-Residence in September 2019 after developing a unique relationship with the theater that began with the development of the theatrical adaptation of his novel Between the World and Me. As the book gained critical acclaim and sparked much needed social discourse across communities, Apollo’s executive producer Kamilah Forbes saw the natural bridge between the power of Coates’s written words and the vision of the Apollo as a home for a new American canon centered on contributions to the performing arts by artists of the African diaspora. From this vision, Between the World and Me the theatrical adaptation was born and toured in Washington DC, Atlanta, and had two sold out runs on the legendary Apollo stage. Most recently, the theatrical adaptation expanded its reach in partnership with HBO in a star-studded special television event of the same title.

In February 2018, Coates led a discussion on the global cultural impact of the film Black Panther with two of its lead actors, Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o. A few months later, the Apollo presented the groundbreaking theatrical presentation of his book, Between the World and Me with subsequent performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In November 2018, the Apollo hosted a discussion with Coates and journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones on his book We Were Eight Years in Power.

In September 2019, the Apollo Theater hosted a special conversation between Coates and with Oprah Winfrey on the occasion of the launch of The Water Dancer.

The Master Artist-in-Residence program is a testament to the Apollo Theater’s mission to be a home for artists and creative exploration across disciplines.

About Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author, journalist, screenwriter, executive producer and professor. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, The Water Dancer, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. In April 2018, Between The World And Me was adapted for the stage and premiered at the iconic Apollo Theater. In November 2020 it was adapted for film and aired on HBO, and for which Ta-Nehisi was an Executive Producer. His novel The Water Dancer will be turned into a film adaptation – with Ta-Nehisi writing the screenplay - and will be produced by Plan B Entertainment, Harpo Productions and MGM Studios. He is also the current author of the Marvel comic Captain America. Ta-Nehisi is the recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship. He is currently in his fourth year as a distinguished writer in residence at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

About the Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in commissioning new works, cultivating emerging artists, and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo, 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; with global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Ta-Nehisi Coates In the News:

Rolling Stone (November 20, 2020): ‘RS Interview: Special Edition’ With Ta-Nehisi Coates

CNN (November 19, 2020): 'Between the World and Me' turns Ta-Nehisi Coates' book into a powerful special

New York Times (November 18, 2020): ‘Between the World and Me’: From Page to Stage to Screen

Variety (November 10, 2020): Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt to Produce Adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘The Water Dancer’ for MGM

The Grio (August 5, 2020): Ta-Nehisi Coates to guest edit Vanity Fair September issue

Past Events:

Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation with Oprah Winfrey: The Water Dancer

 September 23, 2019

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Between the World and Me

October 25 - 28, 2019

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The inaugural Master Artist Residency is supported by the Ford Foundation. The Master Artist Residency program is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.