Theater Communications Group: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: The Theatre Communications Group is one of the most all-encompassing supporters of the performing arts. In addition to publishing American Theatre magazine, it provides programs and services including a number of individual and organizational grants, research tools, and advocacy resources.

IP TAKE: The group's programs and services target a wide variety of theater professionals and organizations. It seems to have something for almost everyone in the theater arts.

PROFILE: Founded in 1961 with a grant from the Ford Foundation, the Theatre Communications Group has a vast toolkit of resources for theater professionals at all levels of their career. The group seeks “to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit American Theatre.” It publishes the widely respected American Theatre magazine and offers a variety of services in addition to its grants programs. Some of these 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 it has a few different grant programs for organizations and individuals.

Grants for Organizations:

  • Audience R(E)volution - This is a "multi-year program designed […] to study, promote, and support successful audience engagement and community development models for the U.S. not-for-profit theatre.” It will award $1 million through two initiatives: Exploration Grants and Cohort Grants.

  • 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, and the deadlines can be found here. (Some are also available for individuals.)

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.

The Theater Communications Group also offers two individual grants for leaders of color: Rising Leaders of Color and SPARK Leadership Program. Both the Leadership U[niversity] and Global Connections grants are also available for individuals who qualify. And as mentioned, some of the ancillary services TCG provides is only available for members, so it is good to take a look at the various membership programs to see if it might be worthwhile to join.


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