NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the second round of Audience (R)Evolution Cohort Grants. Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the program will award $75,000 or $150,000 to theatre organizations to implement and refine ways to increase audience engagement and community development, with a focus on young audiences.
In total, $750,000 will be awarded to six projects representing 22 partnering organizations, with an additional $187,500 for general operating support.
“The inaugural round of Cohort grants showed the power of collective action, deepening participants’ relationships to their communities and fostering movement-building on a national scale,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG (which publishes American Theatre), in a statement. “Thanks to renewed support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we look forward to this next Cohort continuing that work through the lens of theatre for young and multigenerational audiences.”
The recipients are listed below with a brief description of each project.
- African-American Shakespeare Company, AfroSolo, SFBATCO, and Cultural Odyssey, all based in San Francisco, will work collectively as the AATAIN (African-American Theater Alliance for Independence) to create experiences specifically designed for youth audience members of color within the San Francisco Bay Area community.
- California Shakespeare Theater in Berkeley, Calif.; RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, Calif.; and Allen Temple Arms in Oakland, Calif. will partner to work on the 1000 Ships Project. The community-based project will conduct inter-generational Story Circles to contribute to Marcus Gardley’s new play, A Thousand Ships.
- COCA-Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis; the Black Rep in University City, Mo.; and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis will launch a multi-year collaboration designed to expand the pipeline of opportunities, particularly for students of color, to thrive in the creative industry.
- Court Theatre, Illinois Humanities Stony Island Arts Bank (Rebuild Foundation), and the Chicago Public Library Foundation, all in Chicago, will work together to build an audience of South Side residents for Court Theatre productions.
- Dallas Children’s Theater, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, and First Unitarian Church of Dallas, all located in Dallas, will partner to support teens and their parents in raising a collective voice that advocates understanding and acceptance of transgender youth. The 2020 production of Bruce Coleman’s ANDI BOI will include pre-show readings, an online town hall, advocacy opportunities, and more.
- TeAda Productions in Santa Monica, Calif.; University of Hawai’i, Hawaiian Theatre Program in Honolulu, Hawaii; Alliance for Drama Education, T-Shirt Theatre in Honolulu, Hawaii; Lili’uokalani Trust in Honolulu, Hawaii; and Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists in New York City will partner to produce a series of gatherings over 12 months with the aim to develop audiences for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theatre practitioners and programming.
“The most successful audience engagement efforts are built on a foundation of authentic and meaningful relationships from which all parties might benefit,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, in a statement. “TCG’s Audience (R)Evolution Cohort Grants help theaters move beyond their walls to connect with youth, families, and community-serving organizations. This funding will undoubtedly help participants not only grow their audiences, but also grow their contributions to the neighborhoods and communities they intend to benefit.”
To date, the Audience (R)Evolution program has awarded over $2.4 million to performing arts and community organizations through its grant-making, and has dedicated over $800,000 to support research, national convenings and dissemination of program findings.