Arts Midwest is a vigorous funder of the arts, specifically bringing in performance groups from all over the world to perform for and engage with Midwestern audiences.
If you have a theater project in the last stages of development, partnering with a Midwest presenting organization through the Arts Midwest Touring Fund is profitable way to work through the finishing touches and share the piece with early audiences.
Your theatrical work doesn't have to be nascent; it can also be one you've settled into. Either way, use of the funds requires that you perform the piece at least once publicly, as well as conduct some sort of community engagement. This can include open rehearsals, post-show talkbacks, workshops, meet-and-greet receptions, or behind-the-scenes tours.
Receiving these funds also means making a commitment to reaching an underserved audience through either the performance itself and/or the engagement activities. Arts Midwest defines underserved as K-12 students, seniors, as well as those who are limited by economics, ethnicity, disability, or geography (addressing the rural parts of its region).
These funds you receive flow through the Midwest organization that will be presenting you, and they are earmarked for paying your artist appearance fees. It's the presenting organizations that apply for this grant with Arts Midwest, and they will typically receive 20 percent of your total appearance fee, typically maxing out at $4,000.
This means that the presenting organization still has to foot a significant portion of your bill, which means that you still need to stand out from the pack and provide a theater experience that compels the presenting organization to include you in its season.
Midwest organizations showcasing theater through use of Arts Midwest Touring Funds are an eclectic bunch. They include city and community performing arts centers, college campuses, museums, interdisciplinary arts organizations, and festivals. Some of these organizations have their own permanent performance venues; others use/rent a variety of venues to suit the needs of a particular production.
Arts Midwest’s website has a search engine for you to take stock of all the previous theater groups who have come through the region, and who they have partnered with in order to do so.
The deadline for Midwest presenting organizations to apply for this grant is the end of March, so be sure to reach out and pitch your project with that calendar in mind.
Related - Arts Midwest: Grants for Theater