20th Annual Idea Swap



Idea Swap registration has closed; walk up registration will not be permitted. 

The Idea Swap is the annual event for New England-based nonprofit cultural organizations and touring artists to network and share ideas for touring projects. This year, we plan to reconvene in person at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. Capacity will be limited, and participants are strongly encouraged to register early.

Key Dates

  • Project Idea Submission Deadline: September 30, 2022
  • Early Bird Registration Deadline: October 7, 2022
  • Registration Closes: October 25, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET
    All participants must register in advance. Walk up registration will not be available.
  • Idea Swap: November 2, 2022

Schedule of Events | November 2

10:00 | Check In 

10:00-4:00 | CreativeGround 1:1 Sessions

Not sure how to make the most of the NEW CreativeGround.org? Sign up for a 5-minute appointment with Team CreativeGround to learn how to boost your existing CreativeGround profile or how to create a new one. You could get in the queue to be In the Spotlight on CreativeGround in the coming year!

10:30 | Welcome & Opening Remarks 

  • Pam Tatge, NEFA Board Member & Artistic and Executive Director, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 
  • Christal Brown, NEFA Advisory Council & Mother, Artist, Educator, Disciple, Coach, Founder of INSPIRIT 

11:00 | Project Presentations 

  • Mary Lou Aleskie and Karen Henderson, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College 
    The Ritual of Breath is the Rite to Resist
  • Jessica Roseman
  • Lori Jones, Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield University 
    Agathe & Adrien 
  • Catherine Siller 
    The Reveal 
  • Mwalim Peters 
    Bronx Jazz – Mwalim & The ZYG 808 
  • Shoshana Bass, Sandglass Theater 
  • Sue McFarland, Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts 
    Las Cafeteras 
  • Deborah Goffe, Scapegoat Garden 

12:00 | Lunch 

1:15 | Mini Swaps 

Mini Swap #1 

  • Loom Ensemble – Tell Me How You Breathe 
  • Sidy Maiga – The Bridge Where We Meet 
  • Articine – The Anxiety Piece 
  • Sam Plattus & Jay Eddy – Driving in Circles 
  • Carolyn Shadid Lewis – InterGeneration 
  • Aaron Jafferis – Smooth Criminal 
  • Avery Sharpe – I Am My Neighbor’s Keeper 
  • Colleen Ndemeh Fitzgerald – Ancestral Body 
  • Bess Welden – The Death Wings Project 
  • Rachel Linsky – Hidden 

Mini Swap #2 

  • Ali Kenner Brodsky – Moments
  • Emily Issacson - The [uncertain] Four Seasons
  • Deirdre Valente – NEFA’s Center Stage Program: Artists from Abroad 
  • Jessie Jeanne Stinnett – The Carol Kaye Project
  • Diane Edgecomb – A Thousand Doorways
  • Katie Melby & Sara Juli – Naughty
  • Brian O’Neill – Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica
  • Denise Casey – Playing the Game
  • Nat Seelen – The Wedding|Di Khassene
  • Kimberleigh Holman – Common Circus

Mini Swap #3 

  • Betsy Miller - american/woman project 
  • Jacek Zuzanski – PROJECT ALICE
  • Ryan Edwards – Ritual/System
  • Tanya Nixon-Silberg - Space for Change
  • Aaron Jungels - Bliss Body
  • Janoah Bailin – meSSes
  • Jussi Reijonen – Three Seconds|Kolme Toista
  • Maggie Cee – Ladies at a Gay Girls’ Bar: 1938-1969
  • Laura Sánchez – AFTER DARK
  • Aaron Myers – Beantown Get Down 

2:00 | Project Presentations 

  • Shannon Mayers, Stockbridge Theater, Pinkerton Academy 
    Kinetic Light 
  • Aimée Petrin, Portland Ovations 
    “DBR PLAY…” 
  •  Matthew Cumbie & Tom Truss 
  • Jason Slavick, Liars & Believers 
    Yellow Bird Chase 
  • Kathleen Pletcher, FirstWorks 
    Rhiannon Giddens 
  • Melissa Huber, International Festival of Arts & Ideas 
    Kristina Wong's Sweatshop Overlord 
  • Ronee Penoi, Arts Emerson
    BOOK OF LIFE Volcano Theatre, in partnership with the Woman Cultural Centre in Rwanda

2:45 | Next Steps 

3:00 | Closing Reflections 

  • Christal Brown, NEFA Advisory Council & Mother, Artist, Educator, Disciple, Coach, Founder of INSPIRIT 

3:30 | Social Hour hosted by Arts Presenters of Northern New England (APNNE) and New England Presenters (NEP) 


Schedule of Virtual Events | September-October

Welcome to the Field hosted by APAP (free and open to non-APAP members)

October 6 and November 3,  2:00-4:00 p.m. 

Are you new to the presenting, booking and touring industry or in a new role at a venue? Designed by performing arts professionals for performing arts professionals, Welcome to the Field provides practical information and advice on navigating the business of this industry as you prepare for the current programming, booking, touring and conference season.

How to Use CreativeGround as a... Performing Artist

Friday, October 7, 2:00-3:00 PM

Part of a series of webinars throughout October, where The CreativeGround team gives you tailored pro-tips on how to use the site based on your creative practice.

How to Make the Most Out of Idea Swap: A First Timers Guide

October 19, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Recommended for all first-time participants!

An insider’s guide to understanding NEFA, how the Idea Swap supports New England’s presenting and touring field, and how to make the most out of participating. It’s also a chance to meet NEFA staff and fellow participants in advance of November 2.

New England States Touring (NEST) 3 Webinar

Watch this webinar recording (or read the transcript) to learn more about the changes to our New England States Touring (NEST) Grant in advance of the Idea Swap. The deadline to apply for NEST 3 support is March 1, 2023. ASL interpretation provided by Elizabeth Nadolski and Lisa Gentile. 

Past Events

Attend an Informational Webinar about New England States Touring (NEST) 3 support

September 22, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Organizations based in New England are highly encouraged to attend the Idea Swap to learn more about potential New England States Touring (NEST) 3 tours and identify tour partners. NEST 3 grants support the presentation of artists from anywhere in the world and presenting partners across multiple New England states are required.

Learn How to Search CreativeGround

September 27, 7:00–8:00 p.m.

Learn how to use CreativeGround to find collaborators or explore your community. Increase your profile's chances of coming up in search results with pro-tips.

CreativeGround 101

September 30, 2:00–3:00 p.m.

Get a basic overview of the platform and how this tool can serve you and your community.

COVID-19 Policy  

We will continue to monitor and update safety precautions for Idea Swap regularly and coordinate with trusted national resources, state and local public health agencies, and Mechanics Hall, the venue hosting the event. See the complete list of Mechanics Hall Covid Safety and Cleaning protocols. 

To help attendees communicate their level of comfort in interacting with one another, NEFA will provide color-coded name badges to all onsite attendees: 

  • Red = Greet From 6 Feet  
  • Yellow = Elbows Only  
  • Green = Handshakes, Hugs, or Hi-fives  


NEFA strongly encourages individuals to be tested for COVID prior to traveling to Idea Swap. Individuals who test positive, or are experiencing symptoms should stay home. Your registration will be refunded.

All participants at the in-person Idea Swap, whether a presenter, attendee, exhibitor, staff, guest, or vendor will be fully vaccinated.*  The CDC updated their Vaccines website to indicate the status of "Fully Vaccinated" and "Up to Date."

  • "Full vaccination" means that either 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO authorized (or emergency use authorized) double-dozed vaccines or single-dose vaccine. 
  • "Up to Date" means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible. 

NEFA is following the CDC definition of fully vaccinated for vaccination requirement for the event, but we encourage individuals who are eligible to receive the booster prior to attending the event.

*Individuals who are unable to be vaccinated (for medical exemptions only) may attend if they have received a negative PCR Covid test result within 48 hours of the event. Please contact presentingtouring@nefa.org prior to attending to verify your exemption. Unvaccinated individuals will be expected to comply with all other guidelines outlined in this policy. 


Capacity will be limited, and whenever practical social distancing will be strongly encouraged. There will be fewer seats at each table, and options for eating alone or in smaller groups. We encourage all participants to take the precautions necessary to feel comfortable attending this in-person event. 


All participants of Idea Swap agree to correctly wear masks (KN95, N95) throughout the event except when presenting or eating/drinking. Please be mindful and respectful of other attendees’ comfort level when eating/drinking. A supply of KN95 masks will be available onsite for those who need them.


Breakfast will not be provided. Coffee/Tea/Water will be available throughout the day. Boxed lunches will be provided and additional spaces at Mechanics Hall will be made available for those wishing to maintain social distancing while eating. In addition, Worcester Common, a public green space, is located an approximately 5min walk away for those wishing to eat outside. 


Directions, Parking & Hotel 

See directions and parking at Mechanics Hall

The Waldo Street entrance at Mechanics Hall is wheelchair accessible, with direct access to elevators. 

Please note there is no free parking at Mechanics Hall. It’s recommended that participants staying overnight leave their car at the hotel if possible. The following hotels are a short distance to Mechanics Hall: 

What is the Idea Swap?


Read the Idea Swap Video Transcript

Learn more about last year's virtual event

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