The creators behind “Sesame Street” have launched a new fellowship program aimed at discovering, nurturing and increasing the presence of writers with diverse voices in children’s media, the non-profit group Sesame Workshop announced Tuesday.
The intensive six-week program called the “Sesame Street Writers’ Room” will be held at Sesame Workshop’s New York City office and lead to a development deal for two successful participants, who will then be mentored by Sesame Workshop executives.
“Since its inception, ‘Sesame Street’ has represented the diversity of our world through our inclusive cast and rich variety of stories,” Brown Johnson, Executive Vice President and Creative Director, Sesame Workshop, said in a statement.
“Studies show that kids engage and learn more fully when they see themselves reflected onscreen, and having a diverse writing team is an important part of the process. We are excited to introduce ‘Sesame Street Writers’ Room’ to recognize new voices and provide a venue for their creative talent to shine.”
Kay Wilson Stallings, Senior Vice President, Creative Development, Sesame Workshop, continued: “‘Sesame Street Writers’ Room’ will help talented and diverse writers gain access to industry decision-makers.
“We want to get them in the room where they can be heard, and further develop the skills needed to create compelling characters and stories that engage and inspire young viewers on various media platforms.”
The program participants will meet once a week with industry writers, producers, agents and executives, who will expect them to complete at least one script.
The “Sesame Street Writers’ Room” is open to writers 21 and older who have not written for network or cable series exceeding 13 episodes, according to its creators.
Applicants will be invited to submit an 11-minute script, based on a specific assignment, which will be evaluated by industry executives.
For more information and to apply for the fellowship program, please visit: www.sesamewritersroom.org.
The “Sesame Street” universe showed its commitment to diversity last April with the introduction of the first Afghan character, Zari, described as “a curious and eager six year-old girl.”