Quita smiles with her arms crossed over her lap.
Senior Program Director, Theater

The March 11, 2019 National Theater Project Creation & Touring application deadline resulted in 107 eligible Preliminary Applications! Here is a picture of this year’s applicants:

  • 131 Total Inquiries were started; 108 Inquiries were submitted; 1 ineligible – Total 107 eligible inquiries
  • 45% of applicants have not previously applied to the National Theater Project
  • 20 states are represented: CA; CO; FL; GA; IL; KY; LA; MA; MD; MI; MN; NC; NJ; NY; OH; OR; PA; TN; TX; WA
  • We received applications from all 6 regions: Mid Atlantic (MD, NJ, NY, PA); West (CA, CO, OR, WA); Midwest (IL, MI, MN, OH); New England (MA); South (FL, GA, KY, LA, NC, TN); Mid-America (TX)

Review of the applications has begun, and from those 107, ultimately only 24 will be asked to complete a final application and only 8 will then receive a Creation & Touring Grant. The application review is an in-depth process that requires reading and commenting on applications; a commitment to funding diverse artists from all parts of the country; and very hard conversations. Those conversations include discussions about the applicant pool; theater and its many intersecting forms; equity; aesthetics; and resources. It is a conversation that requires maintaining a generous and open heart and a mindful ruthlessness to move from such a large applicant pool to a significantly smaller Finalist and then Grantee pool.

To make these difficult decisions, NTP relies heavily on its 12 advisors who make grant recommendations during the preliminary and final stages of the process. NTP advisors are drawn from leaders in the theater field – artists, presenters, service organizations, and thinkers.  Selection of NTP advisors considers many factors, including geography, gender, sexual orientation, and cultural and racial equity, and includes new and established leaders in the field. And, it requires a willingness to do more than reading applications. During the final application process, advisors work directly with the NTP Creation and Touring finalists as they prepare their final applications, reviewing language, budgets, and work samples, in order that each applicant submits the best application possible.

In addition to application review, during the year, advisors also serve as programmatic and policy advisors, and as ambassadors for the program. Their input is invaluable and has led to innovations, such as the NTP regional convening and the Finalist Development grant.

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

For NTP, this means that every year, we have an opportunity to look at the advisor “ensemble” and invite new advisors with this value in mind. No one year can represent the entirety of the diversity of this country, and still we strive to bring as many voices into the room as possible. This year’s 12 advisors hail from six U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and “the itinerant state.” They are presenters, artists, former grantees, and thought partners. They come from major universities, small colleges, large and small presenting organizations, producing organizations, and service organizations. They belong to different communities – racial, ability, gender, geographic, etc. What they all have in common is experience in the theater field, a love of theater, and a commitment to making NTP the best it can be.

The NTP advisors are a core part of the NTP model, and we like to take every opportunity to acknowledge them for their hard work. Advisors commit to serving staggered three-year terms to ensure that there are always new voices as well as experienced voices representing many different aesthetics and perspectives in the room. It is with immense gratitude for their service that we say goodbye this year to Patricia Cruz, Robert Richter, Lisa Steindler, Mark Valdez, and Clyde Valentin. Thank you for your exceptional and tenacious work that allows NTP to support some truly amazing artists.

Five headshots of the new National Theater Project advisors.
from left: Claudia Alick, Jonathan McCrory, Ronee Penoi, Steven Raider Ginsburg, and Leslie Tamaribuchi

With this new round of applications and the rotation of advisors, NTP is thrilled to welcome five new advisors:

  • Claudia Alick
    Artistic Producer
    Calling Up Justice
  • Jonathan McCrory 
    Artistic Director
    National Black Theatre 
    Harlem, NY
  • Ronee Penoi
    Associate Producer
    Octopus Theatricals
    Washington DC
  • Steven Raider Ginsburg
    Autorino Center for Arts and Humanities
    University of St. Joseph
    West Hartford, CT
  • Leslie Tamaribuchi
    Cultural Organizer, Strategist
    Los Angeles, CA

We are so looking forward to working with our new and returning advisors!