Empowering new leaders in theatre

The Fellowship is a leadership development program for early-career people of color. Fellows will hold an apprenticeship in their department of interest while being given additional paid professional development opportunities both in and out of Steppenwolf Theatre. Separate of their Apprenticeship experiences, Fellows will participate in monthly professional development seminars, bi-weekly cohort check-ins and pursue an externship connecting them with industry professionals to explore their individual learning goals. As a part of the Fellowship cohort, participants will be able to go even deeper into their practice to build a clearer sense of their leadership styles and to spring board them into the larger professional world.

All Fellow applicants will be able to apply for the Fellows cohort through their Apprenticeship application. In addition to the information below, please visit the Apprenticeship page for more information on how to apply.  

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Application Information and Important Dates

Please read this information carefully:

  • The 2020/21 Fellowship will run concurrent with the 2020/2021 Apprenticeship from August 31, 2020 – May 28, 2021. In special circumstances, these dates can be slightly flexible depending on the needs of the candidate and hiring department.
  • All applications will go through a preliminary screening process to determine the final candidates. Final candidates will be asked to interview in April. It is encouraged that candidates who do not live locally visit Chicago and Steppenwolf when interviewing, however, phone or Skype interviews are also available.
  • Fellows must apply to at least one Apprenticeship (up to two). Fellow applicants will also be asked to submit a personal statement responding in short answer form to the prompts listed below (the personal statement should not exceed two pages).


  1. Where do you see yourself in your career in 5 years? Where do you see yourself in your career in 20 years? As you picture this timeline, consider not only the position you would want to hold but the values and opportunities you would want within your work.
  2. The Fellowship provides participants with roughly 30 hours of externship opportunities to explore aspects of the industry that may or may not correspond with their apprenticeship focus. Please share one way you would utilize these hours and how it could help you work towards your career goals.
  3. Please describe your leadership style. What skills to do you bring to a leadership role? Where do you still wish to grow as a leader?


To be eligible for consideration, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Identify as a person of color
  • Reside in, or be able to relocate to, Chicago
  • Have a strong desire to work in their selected department
  • Carefully read through the instructions and submit a thoughtfully completed application


During their tenure, Fellows receive:

  • Compensation: Fellows will be paid minimum wage for 28 hours/week or 40 hours/week of Apprenticeship work, depending on department. Minimum wage in Chicago, IL will be $13/hr as of July 1st, 2019. Fellows will receive additional paid hours specifically focused around professional development opportunities both in and out of Steppenwolf Theatre. Fellows will receive a modest monthly stipend to help defray their cost of living.

  • Perks: Professional Development and networking opportunities, free tickets to Steppenwolf productions, mentorship opportunities at Steppenwolf and in the Chicago theatre community, and more.


To apply for the 2020/2021 Apprenticeship and Fellowship Program, please visit the Apprenticeship page. Application deadlines for the 2020/2021 Fellowship Program correspond with the Apprenticeship application deadlines.

Note: Please have all documents ready before starting the application. You will not be able to save and return to your application once you begin. For more information on the specific application requirements for your apprenticeship of choice, please visit that departments page.