National Theater Project Creation & Touring Grant

Provides funds for creation and U.S. touring of artist-led, ensemble, devised projects. These grants are highly competitive and are awarded to ten projects annually.

Radical Evolution (Cedric Lamar, Sara Ornelas, C.K. Edwards, Xiaoqing Zhang, Jessica Ranville) | photo by Valerie Terranova

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.
  • Ensembles must have nonprofit status or a contract with a nonprofit fiscal agent.
  • This grant supports the creation of new work. The project development end date must be at least 3-6 mos post award date to ensure that the project is still in development at the time the grant is awarded.
  • All projects must have one committed, U.S.-based 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 the creation of the new work. 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).

*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, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. 

** 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.

Projects Not Supported

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

Funding Criteria

NEFA’s values statements regarding Equity, Diversity, Intersectionality, and Accessibility informs National Theater Project Programs, including the Creation & Touring Grant selection process: 

“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, and geography, and strive to counter those inequities in our work.” 

We acknowledge that throughout NTP’s 13+ years of grant making history, at times our processes may have resulted in exclusion, and are we actively and continuously seeking pathways to mitigate harm. NTP is committed to disrupting the perpetual exclusion and erasure of artists representing forms, genres, practices, traditions, lineages, experiences, and/or identities through their projects that have historically been structurally suppressed, marginalized, or invisibilized. We value how artists are choosing to advance, enhance, or subvert various forms of theater, contributing to the ever-evolving landscape. We believe in the right of the artists to self-determine the value of their work, including defining success for themselves. 

As the landscape continues to change, we continue to listen and to deepen and evolve our practices. We remain committed to supporting all participants in the devised ensemble theater community on and offstage - artists, presenters, and community.

National Theater Project Creation & Touring Grants: 

  • Support the creation/development and U.S.* touring of new artist-led devised, ensemble theater works that demonstrates excellence as defined by 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 or directors, is iterative, and results in original work.
    • Tour/Touring: Sharing of the work in multiple communities, locations, or formats, including in-person performance, virtual performance, or hybrid modalities.
  • Support work that contributes to the cultural, aesthetic, and form-diversities of today’s theater. Why this project? Why this ensemble? Why now?
  • Demonstrate meaningful partnerships with organizations that are involved in the development, performance, promotion, engagement, and/or touring of the new work. (see “Eligibility” for definition of development partner).
  • Center engagement with/for communities and audiences via the work’s process and performance. 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to sharing the work with communities in the US via tour (see above for NTP’s definition of tour/touring and “Eligibility” for definition of US).


Preliminary Round

  • July 12, 2023: NTP Creation & Touring Grant preliminary application available.
  • September 27, 2023, 11:59PM Eastern: NTP Creation & Touring Grant preliminary application deadline.
  • Fall 2023: 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

  • February 14, 2024, 11:59PM Eastern: NTP Creation & Touring Grant request application deadline.

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 the end of November if their project has moved forward to the Finalist round. Finalists are announced publicly on NEFA’s blog before the end of the calendar year.
  • Any finalists who do not receive one of the ten Creation and Touring Grants will receive an Artist Development Grant. These small grants offer development support of $10,000 to projects reviewed in the final application round who were not ultimately selected for a Creation and Touring Grant. Grantees have used the support operational costs, 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.
  • 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 March. 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 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 February 14, 2024, 11:59PM Eastern. All applicants will be notified by the end of May.
  • Participation in the cohort meeting, which will take place in August 2024, 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 2023, 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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August 2023 Info Session with HowlRound

Watch the video or read the transcript.

Looking For Projects Eligible For Touring Support?

View our list of projects eligible for touring support. 

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