NEW YORK CITY: The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation has announced a shift in the way funds will be distributed for the 2020 Idea Award for Theatre. The foundation will offer a total of $100,000 in the form of 40 emergency grants of $2,500 each to playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists who have had a full professional production canceled, closed, or indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foundation’s mission is to give money to writers to write plays with ‘big ideas.’ However, during this crisis, the foundations big idea is to help those artists whose art has been put on hold.
“The economic model of theatre in the 21st century works much like it did in the 16th century,” said foundation vice president and board member Bruce Ostler in a statement, “in that a playwright receives a percentage of the box office sales; without an audience, the box office receipts and royalty to playwrights dry up. In no uncertain terms, the business of theatre today has ground to a shocking halt due to the pandemic. Playwrights are not salaried workers and therefore are not eligible for unemployment for a canceled production. That is the harsh reality of theatre today.”
Eligible playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists can submit their name and proof of a professional show’s closure online. (Professional is defined as “LORT, Off-Broadway, or Broadway.) Should there be more than 40 applicants, the grants will be awarded by lottery. The deadline to apply is April 14, with the foundation making funds available to artists as quickly as possible.