21st Annual Idea Swap




Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St, Nashua, NH 03060

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 will convene in-person at the brand-new Nashua Center for the Arts in southern New Hampshire. Registration has closed.

$60 early bird | $80 regular | $25 post-event online access

The Idea Swap convenes New England-based presenters and artists around the shared goal of programming live performances within our region. 

Organizations 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. 

Organizations may register up to three staff members. It’s strongly recommended that staff who directly participate in artistic or community programming attend.

Key Dates

  • Project Idea Submission Deadline: October 16, 2023 (more info, below)
  • Early Bird Registration Deadline: October 19, 2022
  • Registration Closes: November 6, 2023 at 11:59 PM
  • Idea Swap: November 13, 2023


How to Upload Your Project to Our Online Platform

As of October 17, we closed submissions for project presentations. But if you have a project that you’d like to share on our online platform, Whova, you’re not too late! All attendees will be able to see your project details online now and also after Idea Swap, along with those of the projects that were presented in person.

To add your project profile to Whova, first register to attend Idea Swap. This is required. Then fill in your details in this form by November 7. You will receive an email from Whova with the link to your project profile and directions about adding more information. Please be aware that this email will not come immediately – thank you for your patience!

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Ripp at presentingtouring@nefa.org.

Schedule of Events | November 13

9:30 | Registration Opens & Light Breakfast

Pick up your nametag, meet NEFA staff, and grab some food before making your way to your assigned table.

10:00 | Welcome and Networking

Hello and welcome from NEFA’s Senior Director of New England Presenting & Touring, leaders of New England Presenters, and local representatives. We’ll set expectations for the day, as well as an opportunity to meet everyone sitting at your table.

11:00 | Project Presentations

Hear from presenting organizations and touring artists about artistic projects seeking presenting partners for performances across New England. You can apply to present your project idea at the morning or afternoon sessions through Wednesday, October 11 through our project idea submission form. Approximately 15 projects are selected in advance for five-minute presentations at the Idea Swap.

12:00 | Lunch

1:15 | Mini Swaps

Break into smaller groups to hear rapid fire project ideas from colleagues.

2:00 | Project Presentations

Project presentations continue in the audience chamber.

2:45 | Closing Remarks

Hear from Harold Steward, NEFA’s new executive director, with reflections on Idea Swap, the performing arts field, and what’s next for NEFA.

3:00 | Reception/Social Hour

Snacks & cash bar, presented in collaboration with New England Presenters.

Schedule of Virtual Events | October-November

Check out 2022's How to Make the Most Out of Idea Swap: A First Timers Guide to learn more about how other artists and presenters maximize their impact at NEFA’s largest annual event. 

October 12, 2023 | New England States Touring (NEST) 3 Webinar

Watch this webinar to learn more about the changes to our New England States Touring (NEST) Grant in advance of the Idea Swap on November 13. Deadline to apply for NEST 3 support is March 1, 2023.

Read the Transcript

October 24, 2023 | How to Make the Most Out of Idea Swap 

This one-hour virtual webinar will provide a brief overview of NEFA and of Idea Swap, and a panel discussion with past Idea Swap attendees with different creative identities and perspectives on the event.  

Whether you will be attending Idea Swap for the first or 20th time, this webinar will help understand the goals of Idea Swap and consider various ways one can participate in and experience the gathering. 

Live ASL and live captioning will be available during this session. 


November 2, 2023 | Connecting Before (and During) Idea Swap 

Idea Swap can be a whirlwind day. Between all the people both familiar and new to you and all the project presentations, you may come home wishing you had connected with more people with whom you share commonalities.  In this interactive online session, you’ll be connected with others who share interests and affinities with you, so that you can find one another in person in Nashua and continue your conversation! Get some additional tips about how to make even more new connections at the event. 

If you require ADA accommodations, services, or auxiliary formats to support your full participation, please contact Falyn Elhard by October 6. 


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 Nashua Center for the Arts, the venue hosting the event.

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 who are experiencing symptoms should stay home. Your registration will be refunded.

NEFA asks that all participants at the in-person Idea Swap, including presenters, attendees, and NEFA staff, 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 double-dosed vaccines or single-dose vaccine. 
  • "Up to Date" means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including at least 1 dose of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, depending on the number of doses they’ve previously received and their age.  

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

* Individuals who are unable to be vaccinated (for medical exemptions only) are strongly encouraged to attend only if they have received a negative PCR Covid test result within 48 hours of the event. Unvaccinated individuals will be expected to comply with all other guidelines outlined in this policy. 


The Idea Swap is a mask-affirmative space where we aim to work together to meet each other’s individual and communal needs.

While we encourage participants to consider masking to protect everyone from airborne illnesses, we also acknowledge that everyone's needs are different. Masking can provide benefits, as well as barriers to communication and participation.

We invite you to make the choice that is right for you and to ask for support from others in communicating what is most helpful to meet your needs. We also know that comfort levels or needs may shift during the conference. Our team will have masks available at registration should you need one.


Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Coffee/Tea/Water will be available throughout the day. Additional spaces at Nashua Center for the Arts will be made available for those wishing to maintain social distancing while eating. 

Directions, Parking & Hotel 

The Nashua Center for the Arts is a brand-new, state-of-the-art, fully accessible facility. Ample parking is available in the area (as detailed from the venue’s parking map).

A map with three zones for parking. Zone 1 is 90 minutes  and is available on most streets surrounding the venue. Zone 2 is 2 hours and is available on the street about two blocks in every direction from the venue. Zone 3 is nonlimit and it's in parking decks a block from the venue or streets three or four blocks from the venue. Timed parking without a meter is available on some streets but it is always a 2 hour limit.

NEFA has a room block available with Sheraton Nashua, less than 15 minutes from NCA. You can book our special rate for Sunday, November 12 through this page. Please make your reservation by Monday, October 23 to ensure you receive the group rate.

Nashua Center for the Arts also recommends the following venues:

  • Clarion Inn (mention the NCA directly to receive 10% off your booking)
    8-minute drive, under 10 minutes from the NCA
  • Homewood Suites Nashua
    15-minute drive, walking distance to Sheraton Nashua



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