NEW YORK: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the launch of the initiative THRIVE! Uplifting Theatres of Color. TCG will work with an advisory circle of BIPOC representatives to provide unrestricted funds for Black theatres, Indigenous theatres, and theatres of color (BITOC) based in the U.S. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has provided $1,635,000 in financial support for the initiative.
“For too long, funding in the theatre sector has mirrored the racist inequities and scarcity mindset of our broader culture,” said Teresa Eyring, TCG executive director and CEO, in a statement. “As our country continues to reckon with systemic racism, we know that BITOC will continue to lead the way. That’s why, as part of our new strategic plan and mission, we’ve committed to centering BITOC and BIPOC theatremakers in all our programming, knowing that when we do, the whole of our field will benefit.”
THRIVE! will provide two grant opportunities, RESPOND and RECOGNIZE, and will also host REBUILD: A Learning Cohort, which will strengthen participating theatres’ effectiveness in areas like financial planning, crisis management, scenario planning, and program evaluation. To address historical funding inequities, a minimum of 30 percent of the grants will be awarded to Indigenous theatre organizations, a minimum of 20 percent will be awarded to Black theatre organizations, and the remaining amount will be open to all other theatres of color.
“In last year’s field conversations, we heard directly from BITOC leaders and worked to incorporate valuable learnings into THRIVE!,” Emilya Cachapero, TCG’s director of grant-making programs, said in a statement. “Not all BITOC have tax-exempt status. Unrestricted funds are both the most difficult to source and the most essential, and the theatre’s budget size should not determine the level of funding.”
The RESPOND grants aim to address immediate, time-sensitive challenges that prevent ongoing work with a theatre’s community. THRIVE! will provide 25 rapid-response, unrestricted grants of $10,000 each. Recipients of RESPOND grants will still be eligible to apply for RECOGNIZE grants, which will be rewarded to BITOC demonstrating a deep level of service to their chosen communities, a clear vision guiding their ongoing and future work, and the highest potential for the program to positively impact their organization. THRIVE! will provide 20 general operating, unrestricted RESPOND grants of $50,000 each.
During the grant program period, RECOGNIZE grantees will participate in REBUILD: A Learning Cohort, working with BIPOC in specific areas. Additional opportunities will be created for peer learning through grantee virtual meetings on selected topics, which will include disability inclusion and trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) inclusion.
Members of the advisory circle who will work with TCG to identify grantees include art2action founding artistic director Andrea Assaf; UrbanTheater Company producing artistic director Miranda Gonzalez; Andre Harrington, professor of design at California State University San Bernardino; KC Melting Pot Theatre artistic director Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley; Perseverance Theatre and board president of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists Leslie Ishii; National Black Theatre executive artistic director Jonathan McCrory; Teatro Luna artistic director Alexandra Media; Noor Theatre artistic producer Kate Moore Heaney; Pangea World Theater executive and artistic director Meena Natarajan; the Eagle Project artistic director Ryan Opalanietet Pierce; Native Voices artistic director DeLanna Studi; Mind Your Business Art founder and executive director K. Zaheerah Sultan; Marin Theatre Company managing director and Black Theatre Commons Steering Committee member Meredith Suttles; and Golden Thread Productions founder Torange Yeghiazarian.
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.
Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for theatre, offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, and is the publisher of this magazine.
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