The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded $630,000 in grants through its National Theater Pilot to support the development and touring of six new devised theater projects.

The National Theater Pilot is exploring a system of support for professional, artist-led collaborative theater. Modeled after NEFA’s National Dance Project, and with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the pilot is funding two rounds of six projects each to test assumptions about supporting ensemble theater development and touring in the U.S.  These six projects – which comprise the second round of the pilot - will each receive $50,000 for the development of devised theater work.  Each project is also eligible for $55,000 to support the touring of the works.

"Funding that ties the creation of contemporary devised theater with a plan to tour is untested,” said NEFA Executive Director Rebecca Blunk.  “This Mellon Foundation support through NEFA enables artists to explore new relationships with presenters, producing theaters and communities."

The second round of National Theater Pilot projects are:

Aaron Jafferis/Byron Au Yong (CT/WA) for Stuck Elevator
Prompted by the real-life experience of a Chinese food deliveryman who survived 81 hours in a Bronx elevator, Stuck Elevator is a comic-rap-scrap-metal work about a man who is figuratively and literally trapped.

Aaron Landsman (NY) for City Council Meeting
City Council Meeting
is performed participatory democracy, with viewers and actors sharing the roles of council members, activists and bystanders. Borrowing tales from a half dozen cities where Aaron Landsman sat in on government meetings, the piece asks everyone in the room to create a fictional city that exists for a single night.

The Builders Association (NY) for HOUSE / DIVIDED
Using Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath as a narrative backbone, HOUSE / DIVIDED
tells contemporary tales of foreclosure, following stories from two American eras.

Progress Theatre (TX, MD, GA) for Neo-Spirituals
Inspired by a tragic event from 2003, when a popular hip-hop, neo-soul and spoken-word club caught fire killing nearly 100 of its patrons – all African-Americans ranging from 18-35, Neo-Spirituals is an a capella musical that offers an imaginative exploration of how young African-Americans receive legacies of Black identity.

Rainpan 43 Performance Group (PA) for Elephant Room
Three magicians, Daryl, Dennis, and Louie, invite the audience into their secret society, the Elephant Room, where they mystify and amaze with a magic show.  The arc of the show takes us on a deepening portrait of the trio.

SITI Company (NY) for Café Variations
Café Variations
will be a dance/music/theater piece that is adjustable in scale and expense featuring scenes from the many plays of Charles Mee and music from the American musical songbook.

About NEFA
NEFA creatively supports the movement of people, ideas, and resources in the arts within New England and beyond, makes vital connections between artists and communities, and builds the strength, knowledge, and leadership of the creative sector. NEFA is a 501 (c) (3) that operates with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England state arts agencies, and from corporations, foundations and individuals.

NEFA currently administers grantmaking programs of regional, national, and international scope that support the performing arts, public art, and Native American artists. NEFA also leads projects and initiatives that range from the analysis of the impact of the creative economy to the creation of online tools which link and advance the cultural community. For more information on NEFA’s grant programs and services, please visit or call 617.951.0010.