A young man with a short beard and glasses; the backdrop includes the trees of Boston Common and buildings in Back Bay.
Program Coordinator, Theater

NTP Creation & Touring Grants 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. 

The NTP team recorded an Info Session in January and hosted a Q&A Session about the grant and the process. The recordings are below and include ASL. Transcripts of both sessions are included as well.

Info Session, January 2022

Q&A Session, February 2022

 

Read the Info Session Video Transcript

[Quita]

Welcome to everyone, thank you for joining us and making the time to learn about the NTP creation & touring grant process. We’re really happy to be able to provide this.

NEFA’s office is on the land of the Masschusett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc peoples, and we acknowledge their continued relationship to this land.

My name is Quita Sullivan, I am the senior program director for theater at NEFA. I am a middle aged Native and Black woman with shoulder length grey hair, a blue scarf, and a background that shows my homelands, earth, sky and water.

I am also on the land of the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Massachusett peoples.

[Derek]

And my name is Derek Schwartz. I am the program coordinator for theater here at NEFA. I use he/him pronouns and I am also calling in from the land of the Masschusett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc peoples.

I am an upper 20s white man with clear rimmed round glasses and a red sweater. I am sitting in a room with green walls and some art on the wall behind me and I’m kind of covered in cat hair right now.

[Quita]

This information should be useful whether you are new to NTP or seasoned veterans of the NTP process. We hope we can provide you with the information you need going forward with the Creation & Touring Grant. 

[Derek]

We will also be hosting a live question and answer session on Zoom on February 2nd and you can find a link to register for that session on the NEFA website on the National Theater Project Creation and Touring Grant page. If you have any specific questions after watching this video we would love to hear from you at that meeting. If you’re watching this video after February 2nd the recording of the Q+A session should be available on the NEFA website as well in the same place where you found the link for this webinar.

[Quita]

What we are going to cover today:

  • Who is NEFA
  • National Theater Project Overview
  • What Does a Creation & Touring Grant Support?
  • NEFA’s EDIA Statement
  • Criteria
  • COVID Response
  • What is a Development Partner?
  • Timeline
  • NTP Advisors
  • Application Process and FAQ
  • Narrative Question Overview
  • Video Samples

[Derek]

Before we go into the NTP grant, we want to just give a little bit of context about New England Foundation for the Arts. NEFA is a service org that also acts as a funder investing in artists and creative communities.

“NEFA Invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations.”

Even though the National Theater Project is run by NEFA, we are a national program so folks are invited to apply from anywhere in the United States.

[Quita]

We are here to talk about the National Theater Project, which is a national program. NTP promotes the development of artist-led, ensemble, and devised theater work and also extends the reach and life of these projects through touring. Our lead funding comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Created in 2010 to explore if the National Dance model could support devised & ensemble theater, the NTP creation and touring grant is more than just the grant.  There are grants for creation and touring, an Artist Development Grant for a handful of finalists who do not receive full Creation and Touring Grant, a Cohort meeting between grantees and advisors, and Travel grants for presenters to see supported work

[Derek]

Each year, the National Theater Project is able to give 10 creation and touring grants. These grants are given to US based devised theater ensembles and individual artists who have identified collaborators. Projects vary greatly in timeline, scale, touring interests. All of these projects must have one committed development partner, but the nature of those relationships varies greatly depending on the needs of the project. The grant award ranges from $80,000 to $130,000 with some portion of that money allocated to development funds and the rest allocated for touring support which we will talk about in just a second. After receiving the grant, grantees must submit a tour plan to NEFA within two years that outlines where they will be touring the work with NTP subsidies.

Like I just said, NTP funding is divided into two categories, creation and touring. After the Creation and Touring grant is awarded, NTP staff conduct conversations with the grantees and NTP advisors to decide how to dive the grant money into those two buckets. Each project is different, but typically we will allocate 30-80 thousand for creation and that money is issued as more or less unrestricted payments for the artists to spend at their discretion.

The remaining grant money is set aside as artist-directed allocations which will be distributed to presenters. These funds can support up to 50% of the artist fee for any given engagement. That money is paid directly to the presenter, but the funds are released at the discretion of the artist. In other words, you would tell us how much of your touring subsidy you would want to give to each organization that presents your work. This funding reduces the cost to presenters who want to present your work, which can open all sort of possibilities for how the work tours. People use different strategies for allocating that funding, some folks might give large subsidies to a handful of presenters, or you might decide to give smaller subsidies to every tour site. That funding is intentionally flexible, and the NTP staff and advisors are available as a resource to help grantees decide how to split that money, and to offer a reference for how other artists have used the funding in the past. In addition to helping you tour in new ways, we hope this funding can help subvert the power dynamics that often exist between presenters and artists, and give artists more agency and power in those negotiations.

We recognize that this kind of negotiation requires labor, and we do have a requirement that all NTP funded projects have a designated tour coordinator who will negotiate directly with presenters. To help reduce that burden, NTP provides an additional $10,000 on top of your grant funding which can be used to support a tour coordinator and/or touring support. That money is released in full when you receive the grant and you are free to spend it however you see fit.

[Quita]

In order to be eligible for the grant:

The applicant must:

  • Be U.S.-based theater ensemble or individual artist with identified collaborators
  • Have nonprofit status or a nonprofit fiscal sponsor
  • Have one committed development partner relationship
  • Allocate the funds among tour sites within 2 years of receiving the grant
  • And fulfill the requirements and reports if awarded

Returning Artists: All NTP-supported presentations are completed and it has been one year since the last NTP-supported presentation

There is an equity reason around the criteria for returning artists, when you only give 10 grants, you have to balance grants for new artists and cannot always support the same artists. But we also know that artists grow, and companies and ensembles grow and we have to be able to support those as well. We think this is a pretty easy requirement. I know some funders require 5 years, but we didn’t want to do that.

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to support everything, and we do have some limitations on the type of projects which we can award grants to.

The types of projects that are not eligible for the grant would be:

  • Projects focused solely on children’s and family theater. That doesn’t mean that whatever the project is doesn’t have that component within it, but it isn’t the sole focus of the project.
  • Projects by solo performers. We have had many projects that have a single performer on stage, but that is not the entirety of the ensemble.
  • Projects developed by lead artists who are non-U.S. based.

In the next portion of this webinar we are going to discuss the grant criteria, but before we do that we want to read NEFA’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Accessibility value statement. A lot of our grant criteria was built around this statement, and it serves as a lens that all the other criteria are examined through. During the grant discussions, we start by reading this statement, and advisors return to it constantly in the panel discussions.

That statement is:

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, geography, culture, nation of origin and language, and strive to counter those inequities in our work.

[Derek]

Now we are going to move into the criteria specific to the NTP creation and touring grant. I will read this word for word because this is what you will see when you go to fill out an application, and the questions that are asked in the application derive directly from these. This is also what our panelists will be looking at when they score your application. This criteria is available on our website and we suggest you have that open as you fill out the application.

NTP Creation and Touring Grants:

  • 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.
  • 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.

[Quita]

When we were going into the pandemic, we made a decision not to change the core structure of our grant because we believe that funding for creating and touring new work is as important now as ever, but we also recognize that everybody is coming into this application cycle from different places. Some of you probably haven’t been able to get together as an ensemble in over a year, and we are trying to make our application and selection process as flexible as possible. We also know that many of your timelines and partnerships are probably up in the air right now, and that there is still more uncertainty than normal. We are having conversations with our advisors about how to read applications this year, because we know that business as usual is not an appropriate response to the pandemic.  In your application we encourage you to be honest about how the pandemic may have impacted your application your project, and we hope you don’t feel like you need to pretend that everything is okay. The text on this slide is written on our application, and I am going to read it out loud now.

NEFA recognizes that the combination of multiple pandemics (COVID-19, racial injustice, and economic downturn) continues to impact the ways that artists create and intend to share their work. We value your creative ingenuity during this time and the artistic experiences you still desire to share with communities and audiences, whether in-person, virtually, or some imaginative combination of both.

While much remains unforeseen in the arts & culture landscape, we believe in the resiliency of our field and remain committed to supporting artists' ability to thrive. Thus, as you complete your NTP proposal, we encourage you to answer all questions to the best of your knowledge and know that it is okay to still be uncertain. We invite you to lean on the NTP team as a resource as you prepare to submit your preliminary application. 

We know there is no one size fits all response to this changing landscape, and we would love to chat with you individually to answer any questions!

One big question that we get every year is What is a development partner?

A development partner is fundamental to making this work happen. We found over the 11 years that we have been doing this that the better the relationship is with the development partner, the more likely it is that the work is going to come together in a way that feels successful for the artists. 

Development partners provide a variety of resources during the development of a project, and sometimes continue that support into the touring of the work. This support can include but is not limited to:

  • residency space
  • audience for work-in-progress showings (virtual or in-person)
  • administrative guidance or support
  • marketplace advocacy
  • Tour planning assistance
  • leveraging of additional funds for the project
  • …and more

The development partner is not required to present the finished work at any time, though many do

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.

The development partner does not necessarily mean a presenter, it could mean an incubator space, a service organization work with a community you are hoping to reach, or any number of other organizations.

[Derek]

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

the Preliminary Round, which we will refer to as the inquiry round, begins in January when the Grant inquiry application becomes available on the NEFA website.

The inquiry application deadline is February 28th, and once we have processed all the inquiries we send out a panel book with all of the applications to the NTP advisors. Last year we received over 100 applications and we expect to receive at least that many again, so the review process takes some time.

The advisors will convene in May to select 24 finalists at which point applicants are notified of preliminary decisions. From there 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 the final application development.

The final application deadline is in June, and NEFA will announce the Creation and Touring Grant recipients in August.

Then in September NEFA publishes details of NTP Creation & Touring Grant recipients.

[Quita]

Who are these people making these decisions?

NTP advisors provide critical guidance to the applicants in proposal preparation and tour development. They guide the project selection and serve as consultants and ambassadors for the program. They represent presenters, producing theaters, festivals, service organizations, theater artists, and former grantees. The selection of advisors takes into account geography, gender, cultural and racial equity and includes new and established leaders in the field

A list of our current advisors can be viewed on our website

[Derek]

Now we are going to get into the nitty gritty of filling out an NTP application using NEFA’s online portal. For those of you who have applied to NEFA grants in the past, you may notice that we have a new portal which we used for the first time for last year’s application round. This new portal works pretty much the same way but the layout is a little different. The process is much more streamlined and intuitive than it was before, but it might look different than what you’re used to se we’re going to walk through it.

You can access your application from NEFA.org by clicking grants and programs, and navigating to the NTP Creation and Touring grant page which looks like this. This is also where we list all of our criteria and post links to the Question and Answering session and office hours sign ups, so we recommend spending some time on this page.

From here, all the relevant links will be on the right. In addition to accessing your application, from here you can sign up for an office hours spot to talk with NTP staff one on one, or preview the application narrative questions without having to start an application.

When you are ready to work on the grant, you can click Apply Now to start a new application, or Resume my application if you have already started and need to return to your form.

If you use the “Apply now” button, you will be starting an entirely new application and none of the information you previously entered will be there. Once you have started an application and saved it, always use the “return to your grant application” button

Clicking either apply now or resume my application will take you to our grant portal login which looks like this…

From here if you have used NEFA’s new portal you can go ahead and login. If you haven’t filled out a NEFA grant in the last year and a half or so since we upgraded our portal you may need to create a new account. Unfortunately the user accounts from our old portal do not work on the new one, so if you find that your old login info isn’t working that’s probably why. If you have questions about this you can email tech@nefa.org, or contact the NTP staff directly.

As you are creating your account, keep in mind that the system will not let you use your email as a username, so just keep track of what username you use.

If you don’t remember your password, you can click on “can’t access your account” in order to reset your password.

Once you create a new account or sign in with your previous login, it will take you to the grant application

[Derek]

As you are filling this out, please remember to Save a lot. If your computer crashes or something and you lose information we can’t do anything to help retrieve that so please please please remember to save.

You will be required to hit “Save” before moving on to the next tab of each page.

Once you save, IF there are required fields you haven’t filled out the system will give you an alert which will show up at the top of the page.

If you opened an application form but don’t have time to finish it, you can enter a Project title and save the document with just that field filled out. Once you have saved the application with the title, you can always go back to that application form where you sign into the online portal from the “return to my grant application” button

As you’re filling out the narrative questions we highly recommend working in a Word processor as opposed to working directly in the application, as this will help with formatting and you won’t be at risk of losing your work if your internet goes out or anything like that.

That being said, if you are working in a word processor, be aware that formatting like italics and bold will not appear in the application once it’s entered online.

When you are returning to your application, once you sign in it will take you to a page that looks like the top box on this slide.

Our system automatically seperates grant forms into three categories, requests, inquiries, and reports. The preliminary application for NTP is actually an inquiry, so in order to return to your application you will need to click “inquiry” and then your project application should show up.

[Quita]

If you wish to review the narrative questions beforehand, they are available on our website. All of our questions are designed to give our Advisors a good representation of your work and project.

The questions are:

Please describe the proposed new work.

Describe your devising/development process and how this project meets the definitions of devised and ensemble theater. This is important because this is the fundamental criteria for the grant and the two definitions are critical to the decision process.

Please provide your own definitions of excellence and success for this project, and any other information you think would be important for the Advisors to have to fairly assess your application. We recognize that this can be a difficult question but it’s important for the advisors to understand better what they should know about the application.

Beyond the collaborators and creative team, how does this project contribute to the cultural and aesthetic diversities of today's theater?

Number five: List key benchmarks in development and estimated schedule of completion.

Briefly describe your relationship with the development partner(s) (named on the application) and how they will contribute to the success of the project through the development, performance, engagement, and/or touring/sharing and promotion, whether virtual or in person.

Number 7: Describe the audiences and communities you want to reach and how you envision connecting with them through this work. This is important. This is about your vision for touring

Also, please consider that while some advisors may be familiar with your work most will not. Please complete your application with this in mind, without assumptions of what the advisors may or may not know.

[Derek]

As part of you application you will also be asked to submit at least one video work sample, or you can submit two shorter work samples. Whether you submit one or two, the total combined time for the videos can be no more than 3 minutes long. In other words you could send in one three minute clip, or you could send in to one and a half minute clips, but you could not send in two three minute clips. We wish we could allow longer submissions, but since the advisors need to go through so many applications for this first round we unfortunately need to limit it. If your clips go over the time limit please include clearly labeled cue times. NTP staff reviews every work sample so if you do go over the time limit we will get in touch to ask you submit cue times.

We recognize that video samples might be particularly tricky this year since many of you probably have not been able to meet as an ensemble, and may not have new clips to share. That is completely okay and we are working with our advisors to shift our expectations for what a work sample should be this year. When you are submitting your work sample there is a spot to explain the sample, and this is a great place to write any information that you hope the advisors will keep in mind as they review your sample. For example, if you are using a sample from before the pandemic, you could explain there how your work has changed, or how you see it changing after the pandemic when you come back together to keep creating work. If you have specific questions about this, we encourage you to sign up for an office hours session with the NTP team so that we can discuss the specifics of your application.

As a general rule of thumb, your work sample does not necessarily need to show the work for which you are applying, but should show a recent work (from within the last four years). Panelists will be watching these samples to get a better idea of what to expect from your project, and we encourage you to include a clip that connects to the proposed project. Work samples can be a good way to fill in gaps in your application, or convey elements of your work that are hard to put into words.

One of the few restrictions we put into place for our video samples is that Promotional videos and video montages are not accepted.  

For this first round of application you can submit work samples from any streaming platform you like. Vimeo and Youtube links have seemed to work best, but you are also welcome to use google drive or drop box or whatever works best for you. Keep in mind that for the final application you will need to submit a downloadable work sample, but you don’t need to worry about that for this preliminary application. If the video is password protected, please remember to include the password in the application.

Note that NTP advisors will be watching these videos privately and on their own devices. If you have access to video clips with subtitles, we encourage you to use those. Keep in mind that if the audio is low quality, or includes illegible dialogue, the advisors may miss important details. 

Also since advisors will be reviewing the applications on their own time, it is really important that you do not take the videos down between when you submit the application and when the advisors meet to discuss the preliminary applications in May.

[Quita] We really want to emphasize the importance of communication and ask that you stay in touch with us during your process. We welcome you to send an email or pick up a phone if you have any questions that come up. You may also sign up for office hours on our website: https://www.nefa.org/events/national-theater-project-office-hours.

Thank you to our funders, The Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. On behalf of the NTP Team, myself, Quita Sullivan,

[Derek]

And me, Derek Schwartz

[Quita]

Thank you for joining us today.

[Derek]

Thank you.

Read the Q&A  Session Video Transcript

- [Quita] Thank you Derek. So Sharon's question was about, is it the right time to apply? Because she's not sure yet about collaborators, although she already has a committed presenter. My thoughts on that are two things. One, it's good to go through the application, to look at the questions anyway regardless, because it will give you an idea of what kind of things we're looking for. The biggest problem with applying too early is that the advisors will not have an idea of what it is you're proposing to do as an ensemble. And if they're confused, then it will not do well. That being said, if you decide to do it this year anyway, there's nothing precluding you from applying again next year with the same project. The benefit of that is the feedback that you will get on the project and the experience of having gone through the process at least once.

- [Meena] I would add around the fact that you haven't identified the ensemble members, I think will be also tricky for the advisors, because particularly for the first round, they're really looking at whether the work is devised and ensemble. And in order to know if it's really ensemble, they do want to know who are the people you're creating the work with and how is it shared and ownership as an ensemble. And so I think that that will make it a little difficult as well.

- [Sharon] Thank you.

- [Derek] Yeah. And this isn't directly answering your question, but I'm sure other people will have questions about the other side of this, which is, is it too late to apply? And I will just offer that the requirement we have around the deadline for whether it's too late is that there needs to be creation work in your project left to be done at the time that we award the grant, which will be in September, 2022. So if the development period ends before that, you won't be eligible. If your development period ends right around September or October, you are eligible, but it's probably a good idea to show in your application that there is still significant development work left to be done. Because when the advisors look at the applications, they're asking not only is this the right project, but why now? Why is now the right time to fund this project? So showing that, the creation portion of this grant, will still be important for your project, even though it's nearing the end of the development period. And it looks like there was a follow up question from Isabel, unless Quita, you wanna add more about that.

- [Meena] Yeah. I did have one thing to add. Sharon, you mentioned that you have presenting partners. For the creation and touring the only requirement we have is that you have at least one development partner and a presenting partner is great if you have it, but it's not a requirement.

- [isabel] That's even more perfect for my question actually. I am sorry to say that I did not review the webinar and I will do so right after this, but for the development partner, can you talk about what role that person has? Is it financial? Is it somebody who is-- How deeply involved should they be or what are you looking for for that development partner?

- [Quita] We didn't decide who was going to do the order of the question. This is Quita. A development partner is someone outside of your organization, another organization that provides significant development resources to your project. Now, those resources can be money, they can be residency space, they can be promotional assistance, they can be tour planning. They can also be a nonprofit organization that you're working with to reach a particular community. And I use as an example, Sandglass Theater, when they applied for "D-Generation," which was about dementia, they worked with a lot of memory care facilities and they provided them with training and access to stories through their working with the folks in their facilities and then also a follow up network of other memory care facilities who were facing some of the same issues. And they then were later able to help them tour the project. So it could be any number of those. It could be in the case of at least one project, relationship with a reservation, right? It really depends on the needs of your project, but it should be a strong relationship because they will look to see that. But it's beyond just finances. In fact, financial investment is generally not considered a strong relationship.

- [Derek] Yeah, I don't have, this is Derek speaking. I don't have too much to add to that. I think it's really, every project is different. The needs of every project is different. So I think it's about looking at your application and questioning, how can I make partnerships to make my project more successful? Where are the gaps in the experience of our team or what our team can accomplish? And using partners to fill out your application in that way 'cause the advisors are looking to see a project that is in a place to be as successful as possible. And yeah, partners are a great way to flesh out your application in that way.

- [Quita] I see two hands raised, and a couple in the chat. So I will read Michael's then we'll go to a hand, then we go back to the chat and go to a hand, okay? From Michael Kennedy, new question, is a multimedia project that springs from and includes devised theater appropriate for this proposal? Meena, you wanna take that one?

- [Meena] Yeah. I would love to know a little more about what the project is. I think being that it is a theater grant, it does have to have a prominent theater component to it. I think that there could be multimedia projects that surround that piece, but I feel like it does have to center the devised theater portion. I don't know what the team thinks about that.

- [Quita] We have had projects... This is Quita, sorry. We have had projects that have combined multimedia and devised theater, but again, like Meena said, the devising theater part is very prominent in what is happening.

- [Derek] Yeah. And the other thing that I'd just like to share around this question is we do have a piece of criteria, one of our criteria for making the grants that I had open a second ago and just lost, but it's that we support work that contributes to the cultural and aesthetic diversities of today's theater. So we are looking for work. Some of the work that we fund is pushing the boundaries of what theater is. It doesn't need to be traditional theater, but it needs to have some kind of theatrical element. And we deliberately don't define theater because it's so dependent on the project and the culture and there's so many different definitions of what theater is and we do wanna be receptive to your definitions of it. But it needs to be theatrical.

-[Michael] Would it be okay if I ask a quick follow up question? So if we are looking at creating a devised theater piece and then filming it, which would allow a broader reach and when it was shown in other areas, there was also a live theater performance to go along with the filmed devised theater piece, does that sound like it fits the grant? Am I making--

- [Quita] Yes.

- [Michael] Okay.

- [Quita] Yes, it does.

- [Michael] Okay. Thank you.

- [Quita] Lana?

- [Lana] Hi, this is Lana. So I am working with of a theater ensemble. I'm not part of the ensemble, but I am a death doula and I have a performing background as well. So we're coming together and creating something together that's about death and the climate crisis. And so the organization that I founded and it's not just me though, was gonna be one of our development partners. But because I am kind of joining and really devising with the ensemble, can that be? Does that make sense? It's convoluted in my head.

- [Quita] That is a tough one. I'm trying. I think probably we would need a lot more conversation about it. And I think for yours in particular, you might wanna sign up for an office hours.

- [Lana] Okay.

- [Quita] So we can actually go through the details with you and make sure you have what you need.

- [Lana] Okay, great. I'll do that. Thank you.

- [Quita] From Caroline, my organization is considering applying for the creation and touring grant. The project we're focusing on has been created and previously presented, but is not fully evolved yet. There are still parts that need to be devised, expanded on, developed. Is expanding on a project continuing creation that will involve a new collaboration eligible? Any of us could take that one.

- [Derek] I can take a first stab at it. This is Derek. So I would say it depends. There are certain projects that we have supported that really are reinventing themselves for each tour site or the work is really growing and changing in a way where we recognize or the advisors who pick the grantees are recognizing that there is significant development work still to happen on this project. The project is still growing into itself and changing in a significant way. And we have funded projects like that that have already premiered. It would be harder to receive this grant if the work was finished and you were just making little tweaks for the performance, for each performance. But really when the advisors are looking at this, there's no criteria that says that the work can't have premiered already. What they wanna see is how you're gonna be using the development portion of this grant. And they wanna see that again, this is the right time to fund this project.

- [Meena] Yeah. This is Meena. Just to add that yeah, basically it just requires for you to write in the application that you still have substantial development work to be done on this work. And it will be really up to you to describe to the panelists what that means to you and why it's so relevant right now for the piece. I was gonna say one more thing, but I don't remember. So I will say when I remember it.

- [Quita] Is it Berette?

- [berette] Hi, it's berette. Thank you so much for hosting this. And I just wanna say I'm landing in a little late, so I'm sorry if I'm asking a question that you might have already answered. I'm a curator and artist working on a project that I've commissioned a theater company and enlisted a number of co-collaborating, developing partners on a project. And I'm wondering about the definition of ensemble here in this question. If that means that it's not an ensemble, if it's lots of different kinds of collaborators happening. And if I'm functioning within the projects as a commissioning curator for the population of people of this project. And then I have a... Well, I can get to the second part of my question after that, if I could just work through the definition of ensemble there. And by the way, the theater company that is leading the theatrical part of it, 'cause there's a community engagement side that a lot of the partners in the project are doing or are responsible for to create conversation with community organizers. So the theater company that I'm working with is they are creating the theatrical part of the project as a collaborating ensemble within the ensemble of the bigger projects. God, I hope that made sense. So.

- [Quita] I can see that, this is Quita. I can see that as an ensemble. I think the biggest question you're going to face around the ensembleness of it is going to be working together to create a body of work. The community engagement part will be exciting. I think the collaboration between an already established theater ensemble and you would be, is also going to be really exciting. I think it's just, that's really where there might be some confusion around the project. But I think if you have looked at the questions, you'll see it'll help you frame that in a way that I think would be, it sounds actually very exciting. So I think it would be worthwhile. And it also, again, just as I said before, we do have office hours and we're really open to discussing Meena?

- [Meena] Yeah. This is Meena. berette and I have a call already, so we'll talk through this together.

- [berette] Thank you so much. So that's a little bit of a relief, because we are actively developing the work ground up together. So yeah, that's really good to know. And then the other half is another defining question about how you define tour. Just because this is a project that deals with displacement and gentrification as the broad brush stroke of what the work is. And so where we already have partners in a couple of different states, and when we do the work in one place, it takes on the characteristics and histories of that place, and then when we do the work again in another place, it becomes a long arc of development, again, relative to the locality of that new place. So it's not creating this sort of set theatrical performance and then re-presenting it elsewhere. It's a redevelopment each time we do it. Does that fit into your definition of tour or? 'Cause we understand tour as you're picking it up and putting up the same thing elsewhere, so just wanna check that.

- [Meena] Yeah, this is Meena. Yes, we consider that very much a tour and we have supported work that does that. And oftentimes for those projects when they fill in the development timeline and the touring timeline, some of them overlap. So like the end of tour is like the end of their development period. Like that has happened as well because they are continuously developing their work and for each location that they go to. So that process never ends. It's just integrated into the way that they tour. So that is something that we have supported and yeah. Yes, that's a tour.

- [berette] Wonderful. Thank you very much.

- [Quita]This is Quita. I'm going to piggyback on that because there is a question in the chat about presenting a work in Puerto Rico. And can we consider touring to present it in another theater, in another town, on the island as a tour? And the answer to that is yes, absolutely. Especially right now when travel is so very difficult, we often refer to it as sharing versus touring and we recognize difficulties. There are places that we consider a tour all onto itself. If you are trying to do a show and do something in Alaska, you're traveling by plane to get anywhere, so obviously that would be a tour. But also we are looking at what are the various ways that people are sharing their work now within this next phase of the pandemic. And I would say that would definitely be considered part of a tour. I think Denise, you're next.

- [Denise] Hi everybody. My name is Denise Gray. I just have a couple of questions. One would be, can a developing partner be a religious institution? And the other part of that is, can a developing partner, is it acceptable if that, say that partner is a theater company that produces, but they can help you in some way with spaces and things like that, but they may also be interested in this grant and independently of you, is that acceptable? And then I have one more after that, I just don't wanna lump them all up.

- [Derek] I can give a very easy answer to all of those questions, which is yes, all of those things are totally fine. And I think we have done all of those things before.

- [Denise] Okay.

- [Derek] Yes. Thumbs up for all of it.

- [Denise] Then very briefly, my other question would be, this is something, a piece that I conceived a few years ago and it has been in a development process for a very long time. The composer passed away during COVID, a number of things happened. We had to bring in another other, these other writers that have come in, but it's not necessarily being developed just by actors, which is my traditional definition for ensemble. I spoke with someone earlier on your team a while back that had thought that yes, it was eligible, but I'm here today to see if it is or not. And maybe I haven't given all the details properly.

- [Quita] Yes. It would still be eligible. We acknowledge very long periods of development, and especially right now, when things have been disrupted so much due to COVID. We know that everybody's development process has been extended far beyond what they ever thought it would be.

- [Denise] Yes.

- [Quita] So I would say yes.

- [Denise] Thank you. Thank you so much.

- [Quita] I think I have Leese next.

- [Leese[ Hi, thanks. Similar to Berette's project, ours travels to a site and then investigates that place. And we build the project based on the interviews and the material that we're collecting in that place. The question has to do with development versus presenting partners in that there's a sort of blurry line in sometimes with the presenter because they are both development partner and presenting partner, and then we have secondary or tertiary partners in each place through which we conduct interviews. So we might partner with a cultural center, for example, to host a site, one of the interview sites. But the presenter is often providing, they are providing the rehearsal space, housing when we're there a few months earlier doing the interviews, would you prefer that we categorize the presenter-developer partner as presenter, and then just the smaller local partners through which we interview and through which we offer workshops to bring community members into the project, call them the, sorry, development partners?

- [Meena] I can go. This is Meena. You can list it in both places. So if there is a partner who is serving both as development partner and presenting partner, you can list them in both sections that they are a development partner, and then they're also the presenting partner. And then you can list all the other development partner alongside the development partner section. For the inquiry round, there's limitation of number. But for the final application, you can add as many as you want of all the partners. So there is no limitation.

- [Leese] Okay. Thank you.

- [Derek] Looks like there's a question in the chat from Michael Kennedy. Does the theater ensemble have to be a group that has worked together multiple times, or can it be an ensemble that's created for the project? And I'll, again, refer to our definition of ensemble that we have on our website, which is a group of two or more people committed to working together over time to develop a distinct practice and body of work. So in order to be an ensemble, there needs to be an intention of creating multiple pieces of work together. So I would say most of the time, it's an ensemble that has worked together on projects in the past, but it can also be a project or an ensemble that has the intention to work with each other on future projects. So if you're coming together just to create one piece of work, it probably would not be eligible. But if you've worked together in the past, or you have the intention to keep working together in the future, then it would be.

- [Quita] This is Quita. One of our very first grants was a new ensemble who they had committed to creating a trilogy together and we funded the first one and did not actually fund the second two, although they actually really didn't come back for funding. Yeah, so we knew from the beginning, the advisors knew that they had made this commitment to making this work together. Meena has dropped in the chat the link for scheduling office hours. You can also find that on the National Theater Project Creation and Touring Grant page. I don't see any raised hands or any other questions in the-- Oh, there. Ramin?

- [Ramin] Yes. Hi, my name is Ramin Torkian. So I have two questions to ask. Actually one is related to Michael's or Michael Kennedy's original question and that is, how do you define, more specifically, what is the criteria for theatrical component, is if a story is told through music, dance and integrated multimedia and interactive technology, would that define, as long as we are telling a cohesive story, a very specific story, would that define as being a theatrical piece or does it need something more than that?

- [Quita] We don't define theater. This is because we have a very broad view of what devising may be, and we recognize that that may be different for lot of folks. As Derek said, we're looking at pushing, at the different diversities of the theater field, which means that in the past, we have supported new musical, new opera, dance theater, film theater collaboration, we're really trying to not pigeonhole people into a box of what is theater. Because certainly within my culture, an indigenous culture, you would not separate theater from dance and music. And so we are trying to be as broad, but what you would have to say is what is the theatrical experience of this piece? I think that's really what they would be looking for.

- [Ramin] Wonderful. I have another question. Again, it's a follow up question. So for the original, for the first initial proposition that we are sending aside from some sort of intent from a developing partner, is there something else is required to be provided like a much more structured, financial or exchange that it is needs to be submitted along with the application for the proposition?

- [Quita] We're all looking for our unmute buttons. No, this is the initial, the preliminary application, the inquiry phase. We might require more specific information at the next round, the final stage. And that's in part because we don't want you to have to do too much work at this point when you may know what that is. But at the final application, we can ask you to be more specific.

- [Ramin] Absolutely. Well, thank you.

- [Meena] And this is Meena. To add, we don't really kind of manage or regulate how you are in relationship with your development partner. So you don't have to submit like a agreement or anything. That is up to you as artists to have that relationship with the development partner. And of course, we're here, the team is here to support you if you have any questions around that relationship, but we don't manage that relationship.

- [Derek] Looks like we have another question in the chat, is it okay to have collaborators who are non-US based and not American citizens? And the answer is yes, that is absolutely okay. The ensemble needs to be based in the United States, which gets complicated. I think especially right now where people are collaborating from all over the place in a way that wasn't happening as much a couple years ago. Not that it wasn't happening. But I don't think we have a strict definition of what constitutes being based in the United States, but yeah. Maybe Quita will have more insight on that. As far as partners, we do require having at least one U.S. based partner. But if you have one partner that's based in the U.S., you could have three others that are based elsewhere. Just one of them needs to be U.S based. And this grant is to support U.S touring. So when actually we're giving out the touring subsidies, the touring allocations, those all do need to go to U.S based organizations.

- [Meena] This is Meena. To add to that, I think the ensemble though, I'm sorry, my Internet's not great. The ensemble, do the majority or more than half do need to be... U.S based is a hard thing to describe, I think, because you can still apply to this grant if you're a permanent resident, if you have legal status in the U.S, you don't have to be American. I am not, I can apply too. But I think when it becomes... There have been in the past applications where the ensemble makeup was majority, I think, I don't remember Quita, Irish or Scottish peoples, and then there were some American based, U.S based artists. That got a little tricky because it is still a U.S based ensemble which means kind of majority or more so. And I am adding the complexity that with the pandemic and the use of the internet, this is becoming a lot more difficult to identify, but that's how we have been looking at this requirement.

- [Derek] And I would just add that if you have questions about that, if you're not sure, I would definitely recommend signing up for an office hour so that we can talk about your specific situation.

- [Quita] Okay. I'm seeing Sarah's question in the chat. Can you elaborate on the eligibility as it relates to projects that have educational elements and will tour for student audiences at performing arts centers. Is the project eligible as long as there are performances for general audiences as well? One of the things that we we have to, because we have such limited funds, we don't support work that is created primarily for children and youth theater. That being said, it is okay to have the educational component. That is absolutely fine. But your primary focus cannot be youth and family theater. And that is in part a restriction that was placed on us by the funder for this. Again, feel free to email us, feel free to sign up for office hours, because a lot depends on how you perceive the work, and how you explain the work. If it is primarily youth and theater family work, then it's probably not going to be eligible. But if that is a component and I'm thinking of a project that we had, we supported a few years ago that was around bullying in schools. And there was an educational component to this, but it was primarily aimed at adults who were not understanding what the issues were. And so while there was some schoolwork, there was a lot of work outside in the community. And so again, that balance is very individual and I would encourage you to talk to us and figure which side of the balance you're on.

- [Derek] And it looks like we have another question in the chat from Carly, and it's going back to the question of how you define touring. Would you consider a virtual showing of the production as part of the tour, if COVID were to prohibit an in-person show? And the answer is yes. In the last couple years, we've changed all of our criteria and questions to clarify that the performances can be virtual or in-person. Yeah. Quita or Meena, you have anything to add to that.

- [Quita] I've seen some really great virtual performances, and I have seen some really bad virtual performances, but they were all--still are--performances. And so we are trying, again, trying to be generous in this time of COVID to be as generous as we possibly can.

- [Derek] Doesn't look like there are any other questions. We'll give you all a couple more minutes to think of things, but while you all are thinking of questions, I just wanna reiterate that we are super receptive to office hour conversations, or if none of the times that we have listed for office hours work for you, please email Quita or I and we are happy to find time outside of the listed times. We are easy to get in touch with, and we also respond to email. Our phone numbers are underneath the website as well.

- [Quita] We still have a few, this is Quita. We still have a few minutes if there's anything else. We could also give you back 15 minutes of your day, which is-- Thank you, Lana.

- [Derek] Okay. I guess we can end a few minutes early then. Thank you all so much for calling in and yeah, definitely hoping to see some of you in office hours and excited to read your applications.

- [Quita] There is one question that just came up, which actually Derek, I'm gonna toss to you. It's about the videos.

- [Derek] Yes. The video samples. So with the application, we do require that you submit one to two work samples. The work samples, the combined time should be no longer than three minutes. You can have a one minute clip and a two minute clip, but you can't have two, three minute clips. And with those, we're pretty open ended about what we will allow. The one thing that we will not accept is the video montages. And the reason is we just honestly have found that it's not a great way to demonstrate what the work is gonna look and feel like most of the time and when people have submitted those, it has historically not benefited the applications that submit samples like that. I think with the work samples, it's a really good place to fill in gaps in the application. So if there are things that you think might not translate into words, it's a place that you can fill that in. And there's kind of different approaches. So there are lots of ensembles that will provide work samples that show previous work, and then people will also submit work in progress, showing some of the work that they are currently creating. And both of those are fine. Both of those are helpful in different circumstances. If you're submitting previous work samples or samples of previous works, I should say, we do ask, I think that it's within the last four years, the exact timeframe is on our website, and it's good to question, why are you showing this? How does this connect to the work that you're trying to get funded? Because when the advisors are watching the work samples, they're trying to get an idea of what the work is, what the work is going to be. So if it's a clip from a previous work, it should reflect on that. It should reflect the new work in some way. There's a field also for you to give a description of the work sample and why you're submitting it. So you can include that information.

- [Meena] And this is Meena. For some of you, the advisors have never seen your work before this, so this is the opportunity for them to see your work. They do look at the work sample very intentionally. And there's many questions about this. Is it problematic if it cuts from one part of the video to a little later in the scene? Derek?

- [Derek] I think that's okay. I wouldn't have that happen five times. It should feel like you're watching a cohesive performance. I think one kind of rule of thumb would be, if you have kind of like audio that is like a song, and then you have video, that's just cut from different parts of the show and put behind the audio, that would definitely be a montage. I think in general, it's good to have the original audio with the video. We definitely have had work samples that showed different parts of a performance, but I would not recommend having something where it's like 30 seconds and then skips to later and then skips to later. That's just not gonna give the advisors the context that they need to really understand what they're looking at.

- [Meena] Thanks Derek. Sarah asks, similarly, is dance on camera, considered a montage because it's edited together? Would you prefer footage from a live stage work? Live stage work, yes, is preferred, yes. Next is Denise. Do you accept MP3 or a music or excerpt of script?

- [Derek] So I know, this is Derek. We have definitely accepted MP3s in the past and that is okay. I would say it is probably preferable to use a video if you have one, but if you don't have one and you think an MP3 is the best way to communicate what the work or whatever you're trying to communicate about the work, we will accept that. We would not accept the script, though. It should be a time-based media that's three minutes or less.

- [Meena] This is Meena. The script can be shared in the final round as like an additional material document if you choose to submit that, but for the work sample, it does need to be some kind of media. If you are submitting music, though, for the work sample, it is highly recommended that you submit something that is video as well. So a video work sample and MP3 which some folks have done who are doing work that is music based and they wanted to show the theatrical side, but also wanted to show some of the song samples that they've been working on, so then they have sent in the MP3, but it should be both if you are submitting the MP3's.

- [Derek] I see this follow up question, is a video sample for this first segment of the application? And we do it for both. So for the first segment, we have a three minute limit, for the final round, there's a five minute limit, but yes, we do require work samples at both stages.

- [Quita] This is Quita. Sarah, your hand is up. Is that a separate question or have we already answered?

- [Sarah] Hi, sorry. It's sort of a follow up of the question about the dance on camera work. So the company that I'm working with, we just did a virtual experience of a piece that we were creating, so it was a dance on camera version of the piece, but we're now extending it into a full evening length of work for a live performance. So we've been submitting, like if we were to submit, we would probably want to include part of the dance on camera portion since it will be expanded on for the future tour. But we should also give, I'm assuming, a previous live work sample so you can see the continuation of a piece. Is that ideal?

- [Quita] Think of it as a way to show the advisors what it is you intend to do.

- [Sarah] Okay.

- [Quita] So by the dance on camera, I'm assuming if it were a film, it would be like a three camera cut so that it is one continuous piece.

- [Sarah] Yeah. The dance on camera wasn't specifically like one continuous piece shot from different angles. It was a bunch of movement phrases from different angles that were then edited together. So it's not necessarily one six minute movement phrase that's continuous, but it does show kind of where we're going with the overall piece, if that makes sense.

- [Quita] I think we would have to have a conversation.

- [Sarah] Okay. All right.

- [Quita] To figure that out.

- [Sarah] Great.

- [Thank you] Thank you.

- [Derek] Also for folks who are hung up on the work sample, if you want to, feel free to email me, and if you have the work sample, you can even send it to me and I can take a look and say, this seems okay, this doesn't seem okay. And I can put my email address in the chat.

- [Quita] This is Quita. Also in the recorded webinar, we do talk about, I was gonna say the methods, the ways of uploading and all of that and I encourage you to take a look at that. It's also in the application. The reason for the three minute work sample was because the advisors were searching out work online when they were unfamiliar with an artist. And this is the opportunity for you to show them what you want them to see and not what they might find on the web. So please take a look at those things, especially remembering things like the advisors will be looking at the samples on their own devices, right? So lighting counts, visibility counts, all of that counts so that they can see what it is you want them to see.

- [Derek] Okay. And we are coming up right on three o'clock and we do have a three o'clock hard ending time, unfortunately, but like we said, it's easy to get in touch with us if you have more questions and we would be happy to talk to you. So feel free to email, call, sign up for office hours, whatever works best for you. Thank you all so much. Have a great rest of your day.

- [Quita] Thank you, Brandon. Thank you, Shari.

- [Participant] Thank you again. Thank you.

- [Participant] Thank you all. Wonderful informational session. Take care. Thank you.

 

Share