Billy McEntee is named first ATCA Helbing Program recipient

Billy McEntee is named first ATCA Helbing Program recipient

Billy McEntee. Photo by Jake White.

NEW YORK—The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) and Foundation ATCA have announced the first recipient of the ATCA Helbing fellowship for LGBTQ+ theater writers. Members of the Helbing Committee reviewed applications submitted from January through April of 2022 and selected journalist Billy McEntee of New York City for the program that will begin September 1, 2022 and run for a year. The program carries a stipend of $5,000.

McEntee (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based arts journalist and critic and Theater Editor at The Brooklyn Rail. He has also written for publications such as The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Travel + Leisure, American Theatre, them, Observer, and others.

McEntee has received grants from the Colorado Tourism Office and Queens Arts Council. He also wrote and produced the short film Lindsay Lindsey Lyndsey (coming soon). He has taught with The School of The New York Times, co-hosts the food and cultural podcast “Lasagna Time with Billy and Kyle” alongside cultural critic Kyle Turner, and was a Fellow at the 2018 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

In making the decision, the committee cited McEntee’s commitment to LGBTQ+ journalism, his desire to explore various media in a changing culture, and his passion for elevating LGBTQ+ visibility and telling stories of these individuals.

Named for the late Terry Helbing, a pioneer in Gay Theater during the 1970s and 1980s, the program has been designed to encourage the development of LGBTQ+ theater coverage and to develop and amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ arts writers through scholarship, mentorship, and professional development. In this way, we aim to make arts journalism a more progressive and inclusive profession.

“I am honored and humbled to be the inaugural ATCA Helbing Fellow,” McEntee says. “Queer journalists have shaped my career, and so much of my work involves writing about and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community. I love that this fellowship provides support for the next generation of queer writers, and I’m excited that it creates an intergenerational bridge between my cohort and those who have long shaped the field and given voice to LGBTQ+ art and issues, just as Terry did. This is a gift, and I hope to see more programs like it.”

The Helbing committee includes Christopher Byrne (chair), Martha Wade Steketee, Frank Rizzo, Jay Handelman, Karen Topham, and Richard Oliver.

For more information about the program, visit the ATCA website’s program page.

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