About the National Theater Project Grant Program

Visit the National Theater Project Program page to learn more about the program and its advisors.



  • The National Theater Project will consider projects submitted by U.S.-based theater ensembles and individual theater artists with identified collaborators. Only one application per ensemble or artist will be accepted per year.
  • Organizations must be able to prove nonprofit status; for individual artists, an organizational partner may serve as the fiscal agent.
  • All projects must have one committed development partner relationship.*
  • Preference is given to those projects which are within two years of being ready to tour from the NTP award date.
  • Preference is given to those projects with at least one interested presenting partner.**
  • Returning Artists: All NTP-supported presentations are completed and it has been one year since the last NTP-supported presentation.
  • Applicant must be able to fulfill the Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients if awarded. 

Theater artists apply to receive support for both the development and U.S. touring [virtual or in-person] of artist-led, ensemble, devised theater projects. Grants support the development of the project, costs and incentives needed to establish a plan for touring, and subsidies for presentation of the work. Funded projects are expected to complete an evaluation within one month of the project premiere as designated in the contract.

Awards range from $80,000 to $130,000. Part of the award is distributed directly to the artist to support creation and development. The remaining grant amount is set aside as artist-directed allocations distributed to presenters of their choice to cover part of their artist fee (Presentation Grants).

* Development partners provide a variety of resources during the development of a work including, but not limited to, residency space, virtual platforms, audience for work-in-progress showings, administrative guidance or support, marketplace advocacy, tour planning assistance, and the leveraging of additional funds for the project. It is understood that the need and level of assistance between development partners and artists varies from artist to artist, but NTP believes strongly that partnerships greatly benefit the development and distribution of devised, ensemble theater.

** A presenting partner is the operator of a virtual platform or in-person venue that offers the work to an audience, including but not limited to U.S. arts spaces, presenting organizations, producing theaters that also present touring productions, and festivals.

Funding Criteria

  • Support the creation/development and U.S.* touring [virtual or in-person] of new artist-led devised, ensemble theater works that demonstrate excellence in the artists’ practice. NTP uses the following definitions in consideration of grant applications:
    • Ensemble: A group of two or more people committed to working together over time to develop a distinct practice and body of work.
    • Devised: A process of co-creation and joint discovery that prioritizes generative artists, which may include but does not prioritize playwrights, is iterative, and results in original work.
  • Support work that contributes to the cultural and aesthetic diversities of today’s theater. NEFA values an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world, which we interpret as all people having fair access to the tools and resources they need to realize creative and community endeavors. We acknowledge structural inequities that have excluded individuals and communities from opportunity based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, language, culture, nation of origin, and geography, and strive to counter those inequities in our work.
  • Reflect meaningful partnerships with presenters, producers, and other organizations that are involved in the development, performance, engagement, and/or touring and promotion [virtual or in-person] of the new work.
  • Offer the potential to deepen engagement because of the work’s relevance, originality, and/or timeliness.
  • Produce a viable plan for touring [virtual or in-person] the supported work in multiple communities in the U.S. and its territories*.

*NEFA defines U.S. as all 50 of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

NTP is interested in artist-led, ensemble, devised theater projects developed using a variety of methods and types of collaborations. These could include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Ongoing ensembles of collaborating artists with a history of devising work.
  • Artists and ensembles who lead projects and engage collaborating artists on a project basis.
  • Artists and ensembles with touring experience who have innovative project proposals.
  • Artists and ensembles who have little previous touring experience, but have relationships with presenters or other theaters.
  • Artists and ensembles with local support and organizational partners who will assist in development and tour planning.

Types of projects that will not be considered:

  • Projects focused solely on children’s and family theater.
  • Projects by solo performers.
  • Projects developed by lead artists who are non-U.S. based.


The Creation & Touring grant selection process is divided into two rounds:

Preliminary Round

  • January 8, 2021: NTP Creation & Touring Grant preliminary application available.
  • March 8, 2021 11:59PM Eastern: NTP Creation & Touring Grant preliminary application deadline.
  • May: Applicants are notified of preliminary decisions. Finalists are invited to submit in the full proposal round and are paired with a NTP advisor who serves as the project's advisor during full proposal development.

Full Proposal Round

  • Mid May: NTP Creation & Touring Grant request application available to finalists.
  • June 21, 2021 11:59PM Eastern: NTP Creation & Touring Grant request application deadline.
  • July/August: NEFA announces NTP Creation & Touring Grant recipients.
  • September: NEFA publishes details of NTP Creation & Touring Grant recipients and projects.

Full Proposal Process for Finalists

Useful Information to know if your NTP Inquiry proposal moves to the Finalist (Full Proposal) round.

  • All eligible applicants are notified by Mid May if their project has moved forward to the Finalist round. Finalists are announced publicly on NEFA’s blog in June.
  • In addition to the ten Creation and Touring Grant recipients, three to five finalists will be awarded an NTP Artist Development Grant. These small grants offer development support between $5,000 and $10,000 to projects reviewed in the final application round who were not ultimately selected for a Creation and Touring Grant. Advisors select projects and recommend specific developmental work that would advance the project, regardless of whether it ultimately receives an NTP Creation & Touring award. Grantees have used the support for the creation of better work samples, construction of crucial set elements, dramaturgical assistance, and the creation of workshop opportunities to generate interest in the project.
  • All finalists will receive a $2,500 Finalist Award to compensate the time and expenses required to go through the full proposal process. For artists who receive the Creation and Touring Grant or Artist Development Grant this finalist stipend will be deducted from the final grant amount.
  • Finalists will be paired with a NTP advisor panelist who will help in preparing the full proposal; this assistance may include discussion of the project and new developments, reading narrative answers, budget, and work sample feedback. Advisors will present the full application at the final Proposal meeting in August. NEFA staff is also available and ready to work with you on your proposal development and answer any questions about the form or process.
  • The Full Proposal form asks for a five minute work sample (Vimeo or Google Drive with downloadable capabilities). This can include up to three selections of at least one minute in length but should not be a promotional video. NTP staff can provide guidance on this.
  • All applicant organizations are required to provide an IRS W-9 Form (see www.irs.gov for current version) and a DUNS (Dun & Bradstreet) Number in the application. Applicants who are applying with a Fiscal Sponsor or plan to receive payment through a Fiscal Sponsor should provide a W-9 from their Fiscal Sponsor. Individual applicants are not required to provide a DUNS Number.
  • The invited proposal is due at 11:59 PM EST on June 21, 2021, all applicants will be notified by the end of July.
  • Participation in the cohort meeting, which will take place in Spring 2022, is required. Cohort meeting location to be determined.
  • NTP staff will be available during the application process to answer your questions, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET Mon-Fri.


Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients


Participation in the cohort meeting, which will take place in Spring 2022, is required. Cohort meeting location to be determined.

Grant disbursement is made in three parts:

  1. Upon receipt of signed contract agreements: NEFA will issue 50% of the development funds of the Creation & Touring Grant to the artist or the artist’s fiscal agent. 
  2. Upon receipt of interim report and supplemental materials: NEFA will issue 25% of the development funds of the Creation & Touring Grant to the artist or artist’s fiscal agent. Requirements for payment:
    1. Creation & Touring Interim Report (completed and submitted online)
    2. Copies of publicity materials showing required crediting (if applicable).
    3. Hi-res photos of the work in progress (if available).
  3. Upon receipt of evaluation and supplemental materials: At the end of the development period and once the project has premiered, NEFA will issue the final 25% of the development funds of the Creation & Touring Grant. Requirements for payment:
    1. Creation & Touring Grant Evaluation (completed and submitted online).
    2. Copies of program and publicity materials showing required crediting.
    3. Video recording of the work (if available).
    4. (Strongly Encouraged) Hi-res photos of the NTP-funded engagement.


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Looking For Projects Eligible For Touring Support?

View our list of projects eligible for touring support.