Theater Communications Group: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: Originally founded with a grant from the Ford Foundation, the Theatre  Communications Group is one of the most all-encompassing supporters of the performing arts. In addition to publishing American Theatre magazine, they provide a wealth of programs and services to a constituency of "nearly 700 member theaters and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide." This includes a number of individual and organizational grants, research tools, and advocacy resources.

IP TAKE: TCG's programs and services are fine tuned to a wide variety of theater professionals and organizations. They may not be everything to everyone, but they do at least seem to have something for almost everyone in the theater arts.

PROFILE: The Theatre Communications Group has a vast toolkit of resources for theater professionals at all levels of their career. They are publisher of the widely respected American Theatre magazine and have a huge amount of services in addition to their grants programs, including a jobs listings board, a number of research assets, and an in-depth advocacy section. Some of these areas can only be accessed by members, but much of it is publicly available.

TCG currently spends an average of $8.5 million on its various program services annually, with more than $2 million of that spent on grants each year to theaters and individuals. TCG's grants program is broken into three general categories: Professional Development Programs, Travel Grants, and Innovation and Leadership. Under these categories they have a few different grant programs for organizations and individuals.

Grants for Organizations:

  • Audience R(E)volution - This is a "four-stage program to study, promote and support successful audience engagement and community development models across the country." It includes up to $65,000 to "(Re)Model or (Re)Imagine successful audience engagement and/or community development models." These (Re)Modeling and (Re)Imagining initiatives are particular to this grant.
  • Leadership U[niversity] - This program is a partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation offering individual grants of $75,000 to "early-career leaders from all areas of theatre," and continuing ed grants of $5,000 to mid-career and veteran professionals. It's meant to prepare recipients "from all areas of the theatre for greater leadership responsibilities and long-term careers in the theatre." Deadlines vary, but can be found here. (Some are also available for individuals.)
  • Global Connections - This program, also funded by the Mellon Foundation, is composed of cultural exchange grants meant to encourage international collaboration that range from $5,000 travel grants to $10,000 project development grants. There are two application cycles a year, with deadlines in March and October. (Some are also available for individuals.) Currently, the application cycle is not open.
  • MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program - This is a program that was established to "enable theatres to dare to try new approaches to problem-solving artistic, managerial, production and/or technological challenges [and] to try things the organization doesn't and couldn't normally do." It does this through "Think It" grants of $25,000 and "Do It" grants of $50,000. Registration deadline is in May.

Grants for Individuals:

  • Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships - This is a partnership grant with the William & Eva Fox Foundation providing $15,000 and $25,000 respectively for the professional development of actors and to help sustain actors who already have a long career history. Application deadline is at the end of each April.
  • Alan Schneider Director Award - This is a $7,500 award for "travel, research or other activities specifically focused on the development of the directing craft." Awards are given through a nomination process, which are due each February.

Both the Leadership U[niversity] and Global Connections grants are also available for individuals if they qualify. And as mentioned, some of the ancillary services TCG provides is only available for members, so it's good to take a look at the various membership programs to see if it might be worth while to join.

        KEY PEOPLE:

        • Emilya Cachapero, Director of Artistic Programs & International Theatre Institute/U.S.
        • Kevin Bitterman, Associate Director of Artistic & International Programs

        LINKS: