American Theater Wing: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: The American Theater Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, provides a number of services under their professional development, artistic advancement, and media & educational outreach programs. They have two grants under their artistic advancement program and a series of educational and career resources under their other programs.

IP TAKE: The American Theater Wing offers two grant programs in addition to Broadway's Tony Awards—one for regional theatre companies and one for musical theatre. Given the historical calibre of past recipients, competition for these grants can be tough, but the rewards can extend beyond the sum of the grants alone.

PROFILE: The American Theater Wing has been around for close to a century. They are best known as the creators of Broadway's prestigious Tony Awards, but they also provide two distinct grant programs as well as an assortment of different services for theatre professionals.

The National Theatre Company Grants are given to not-for-profit theaters around the country that show "outstanding new play development, education and community engagement." Before 2010, eligibility for these grants was restricted to New York City companies, but the American Theatre Wing saw fit to expand their scope after a review by their Board of Trustees and allow "promising emerging theatre companies" from across the U.S. to apply. An average of ten grants of $10,000 each are given each year to "companies or organizations that have been in continued existence for at least five years but not longer than fifteen years." These organizations must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits with a "clearly defined mission," with an operating budget of less than $3 million. Past grants have gone to places like TheatreSquared in northwest Arkansas and TimeLine Theatre Company in Chicago. Deadlines are in mid-July of each year.

You can find past grant recipients here.

The Jonathan Larson Grants are focused exclusively on musical theatre. These grants are given to composers, lyricists, and librettists who work in musical theatre and are "creating new, fully producible works for the theatre, and advancing the art form." These grants are intended for individual artists and not meant for support of specific works or projects. Collaborative teams may apply and those who regularly work together are strongly encouraged to apply in this way. Grant amounts vary, but past awards include a grant of $8,000 to the team of Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham for their cumulative work, which includes the Off-Broadway musical I Love You Because. A $2,000 grant was also given to theater, film, and concert composer Kamala Sankaram for her work. Deadlines are at the end of September of each year.

ATW also produces a series of interviews and profiles of theatre professionals called Working in the Theatre. They also provide educational resources like the Theatre Intern Network, which makes professional development opportunities available for interns working in New York City theatres, and their SpringboardNYC, an "intensive summer boot camp for actors."

As with any organization like this, it's highly recommended to join the email list to keep up with various goings on. ATW also maintains a news and events page with regular updates about the theatre world and extensive news about the Tony's.

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