American Theater Wing: Grants for Theater

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

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

PROFILE: Founded in 1917, the American Theatre Wing “invets in brave work, supports creative growth, and celebrates excellence to bring diverse stories to our national culture through theatre” and seeks to use “theatre to advance human experience, empathy and cultural growth like never before.” It is best known as the creators of Broadway's prestigious Tony Awards, but it also provides two distinct grant programs as well as an assortment of different services for theatre professionals.

The National Theatre Company Grants support 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 decided to expand their scope after a review by its Board of Trustees and allow "promising emerging theatre companies" from across the U.S. to apply. An average of ten grants of $10,000 per year support "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. View past grant recipients here.

The Jonathan Larson Grants prioritize musical theatre. These grants support 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 fund individual artists and do not support 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. $2,000 was also granted 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. It also provides educational resources like the Theatre Intern Network, which makes professional development opportunities available for interns working in New York City theaters, and its SpringboardNYC, an "intensive summer boot camp for actors."

As with any organization like this, it is highly recommended to join the email list to stay informed about new developments. ATW also maintains a news and events page with regular updates about the theater world and extensive news about the Tony's.


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