National Theater Project Welcomes Ten New Projects

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

Quita wears a wrap, a long necklace, and beaded earrings over a black turtleneck. Nakum is a light-skinned woman.
Senior Program Director, Theater

The National Theater Project (NTP) team and the NTP Advisors are thrilled to share this year’s Creation and Touring grantees.

And, as always, it is necessary to start by thanking the people who make NTP possible. I want to express my deep gratitude to the NTP Advisors who had a daunting decision-making task. Thank you for the thoughtfulness and hard work you put into advising, reviewing, discussing, and decision making to achieve this year’s wonderful cohort of grantees. Thank you to Derek Schwartz for your dedication, hard work, brilliance, and going above and beyond this year while NTP was short a team member.  Jane Preston, NEFA’s Deputy Director, Programs, and Abby Southwell, NEFA’s Technology & Data Director, thank you for helping our meeting run smoothly and filling in when needed. Of course, we’d like to thank the foundations which have made NTP possible. NTP is generously supported with lead funding from the  Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. We’d also like to introduce our newest team member, Leilani Ricardo. We’re excited for the energy and field knowledge that Leilani brings to our team!


After the preliminary application panel meeting, the NTP Advisors worked with their two to three finalists on the development of their full proposal. The Advisors shared feedback that highlighted the strengths, observations, and questions raised during the preliminary application round discussions. They looked at work samples, answered questions, helped with thinking around budgets and approach to support finalists submit their strongest final application.

We had hoped to convene in person this year. Once more, that was not to be. In August, over four days of Zoom meetings, the NTP advisors engaged in a series of discussions and multiple rounds of voting to aid in their collective decision-making for this year’s grantee cohort. (For a description of that process, please see last year’s blog Announcing the 2021 NDP Production Grant Projects by Indira Goodwine-Josias, Program Director for Dance. While not exactly the same, NTP and NDP do follow the same basic process.)

The NTP Creation and Touring grant includes:

  • Creation grants between $40,000 and $65,000
  • Touring subsidy amounts between $30,000 and $50,000

Each grantee also receives additional support including:

  • Tour Administration/General Operating grant of $10,000
  • Attendance at the NTP Cohort meeting
  • Access to Presenter travel funds
  • An opportunity to apply for an NTP Transition grant designed to support ensemble sustainability at the completion of the grant

Some information about this year’s cohort of grantees:

  • Grantees come from six states
  • 20% are first time applicants
  • Three previously received Artist Development grants
  • 20% grantees are returning grantees
  • While applicants are limited to listing only one state on their application, many are actually developing the work in several states and territories. Ensemble members may be located in states in addition to the one listed in the application.
  • In their own words, this year’s grantees will address issues in many diverse communities, including:
    • Black and BIPOC women, femmes, and queer; women and femmes directly impacted by the Prison Industrial Complex; all people directly impacted by the PIC; people who feel they are not impacted by the PIC but just like music, dance, and theater; wealthy season-ticket holder types with the power to defund the PIC
    • Indigenous + Andean diasporas of North and South America; Kichwa immigrants in NYC via the Kichwa Hatari; second generation Andean/Americans via the Puma Collective; potentially working with Blackfoot communities.
    • San Diego County, Tijuana Mexico, and other communities separated by the USA/Mexico border, particularly those who are low income and/or heavily impacted by the pandemic and immigration policies of the last administration.
    • Stakeholders in the gun rights, violence, and reform discourse with a range of orientations to guns; hunters, veterans, active-duty military, shooting survivors, juvenile detainees, gun company executives, and gun reform activist
    • Local New Mexico communities impacted by and descended from Native enslavement.
    • Farmers, food activists, Black/POC, women and femmes, queer, non-binary folks who are visioning for climate reparations, land and water sovereignty in rural and urban spaces
    • A cross section of People of Color and European Americans with a primary focus on the English-speaking Caribbean, and the descendants of West Indian families in the U.S. for generations. Cities and communities with historical ties to Barbados and/or large Bajan communities such as Charleston, DC, Berklee, and Southeast Louisiana.
    • Latiné, especially Mexican/American communities; non-habitual theatergoers, particularly Latiné communities neglected by theatrical tours; those with an interest in cross-cultural celebration, folk music/dance forms, and history.
    • The growing population of Micronesians in Hawaii and throughout the U.S.
    • Communities with a wide range of relationships to guns, safety, and identity and how those things overlap, representing a cross section of the variety of communities impacted by this discourse.
In a wood-panneled home, eight Black folx sing, wearing denim while sitting on some stairs.
FORCE! rehearsing and recording at the Graham Foundation | photo by Ricardo Adame

So, who are this year's grantees?

This year, NTP again reallocated funds to increase the number of Artist Development Grants we are making. These are $10,000 awards that offer development support to projects reviewed in the final application round that were not selected for a Creation and Touring Grant. In previous years, NTP offered four or five of these grants, however because our travel and meeting costs have decreased during the pandemic, we are able to reallocate those unspent funds to artist support. We don’t know what next year will bring but we are looking for ways to expand our budget to allow us to continue making Artist Development Grants available for all finalists into the future.

The artists who received artist development grants for this year are

  • The TransDiaries, B. Lindsey Deaton, San Diego, CA
  • Project Aid Access, coLAB Arts, Inc, New Brunswick, NJ
  • The Joint, Denise Sharon Gray, New York, NY
  • Carlota, Goat in the Road Productions, New Orleans, LA
  • Philly Asian Futures, Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, Philadelphia, PA
  • Compass, Ripe Time, Inc., Brooklyn, NY
  • Keysmash: A Conversation about Mental Health, Rising Youth Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
  • Carr Creek Community Play, Roadside Theater, Whitesburg, KY
  • New Work by Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born, Sweat Variant, Brooklyn, NY
  • Those with 2 Clocks, Tall Order (Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, Mel Krodman), Philadelphia, PA
  • Will You Miss Me?, The Hinterlands, Detroit, MI
  • In a Memory Palace, Theatre Nohgaku, Inc., Belmont, MI
  • The Death of Medea, Theatre Roscius, Los Angeles, CA
  • Requiem for a Stranger, Vagabond Inventions and Renee Benson, New Orleans, LA
  • Sensorium Ex, VisionIntoArt Presents, Inc., Brooklyn, NY


NEFA’s National Theater Project is made possible with lead funding from the Mellon Foundation and with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


NEFA welcomes conversations regarding its grantmaking priorities and process. We support and believe in creating space for dialogues that foster mutual learning and build/strengthen our various roles in the field as allies. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the NTP Team.

Four people wear bejeweled costumes that cover their faces. They pose plainly in front of trees.
Ebony Noelle Golden | photo by Bleu Santiago

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