A Closer Look at the Theatre Communication Group's New ON the STAGE Grants

We Americans tend to romanticize life on the road, and rightfully so. To quote the classic Townes Van Zandt tune "Pancho and Lefty," "Livin' on the road my friend, is gonna keep you free and clean." And while each funding opportunity certainly has its benefits, we can't think of anything better then getting paid to travel the country (if not the world) to perform.

That's the gist behind Theatre Communication Group's (TCG) Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Global Connections program, which provides cultural exchange grants of $5,000 to $10,000 meant to encourage international collaboration. Its ON the ROAD grants, for example, offer $5,000 for unrestricted travel support to "foster new relationships with international colleagues that will inspire future collaborations."

Meanwhile, its IN the LAB grants provide $10,000 to "further pre-existing international collaborations by supporting residencies that advance the development of a piece and/or explore elements leading up to a full production."

Now in its fourth year, the most recent round of the Global Connections program awarded a total of $33,045 to seven projects through ON the ROAD and a total of $30,000 to three projects through IN the LAB, with over $400,000 awarded to date. (Click here to see the winners.)

But you know how the road can be. When you're on the road, you're often thinking about home. And when you're home — to quote Willie Nelson — you "just can't wait to get on the road again." Well, the TCG is feeling restless again. The road beckons. So, thanks to additional support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, TCG recently announced ON the STAGE grants, a new pilot initiative of the Global Connections program.

This new program is designed to share U.S. culture with global audiences through sustained international tours and/or co-productions. Up to five grants between $10,000 and $15,000 will be awarded to theatres located in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to tour a work internationally or to present international work on their stages. The application process for ON the STAGE will launch along with the next cycle of IN the LAB and ON the ROAD grants, with a shared application deadline of March 11, 2015.

The premise of ON the STAGE, like all of the Global Connections programs, is an elegantly simple one, best articulated by Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, who noted, "From Live-Action Role Play to multi-lingual signed productions, from Sri Lanka to Lebanon, these Global Connections recipients are crossing both aesthetic and national borders to transform global theatre practice."