(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has awarded $1,017,000 through the National Theater Project to support the creation and touring of ten new theater works, in addition to $78,000 in Artist Development awards.

The National Theater Project (NTP) promotes the development and touring of artist-led, ensemble, and devised theater works. Modeled on NEFA’s National Dance Project, NTP functions as a full system of support for devised theater, which in addition to funding, animates an informed, interactive network of producing theaters, presenters, and ensembles.  

Since the first round of NTP grants in 2010, NEFA has infused over $8.59 million into the field through the program. To date, 75 new theater works have been supported through Creation and Touring grants; touring of those works has reached 43 different states across the U.S. NTP projects have toured to large and small arts presenters, military bases, universities, regional theaters, and festivals. NEFA’s National Theater Project is made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

“The long-term support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has enabled the program to experiment, learn, and, most recently, react responsively to the field in a time of great challenge,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “The performing arts have been acutely impacted by Covid-19. These artists and ensembles are at the forefront of creating theater that celebrates belonging, activism and community building.”

“We are very proud of this year’s cohort of grantees. Between the excellence of every project under consideration and our need to be responsive to artist needs during this pandemic, this year may have been the hardest for the NTP advisors to make decisions about this year’s grantees. I am extremely grateful to the artists, the advisors, and the NTP team for the difficult work that went into selecting this year’s amazing group awardees,” said Quita Sullivan, senior program director for theater at NEFA.

“Celebrating the tenth anniversary of NTP under the most unusual circumstances, The Mellon Foundation remains stalwart in its commitment to creating opportunities for the development and performance of new work; fostering a network of presenters, producing theaters, and other venues with the capacity to serve as production partners; and building audiences and strengthened frameworks for touring,” said Susan Feder, program officer for Arts and Culture at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “The range and quality of this year’s grant recipients is a testament to the tenacity of artists to make compelling art regardless of obstacles put before them.  We look forward to coming together again to see these projects reach fruition, and are deeply grateful for the dedication and passion of the NEFA staff and panelists who selected from a highly competitive pool of ensembles.”

“We are in a moment of almost inconceivable depth and complexity,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “As we collectively confront a panoply of public health, economic, and social justice trials, these National Theater Project awards will ensure that the voices and work of theater artists are present to help us imagine and create the path forward.”

Grants for this round ranged from $90,000-$125,000. In addition to the Creation and Touring grant, each recipient will also receive an additional $7,500 towards capacity building for touring the project.

2020 NTP Creation & Touring Grant Recipients

In addition, NTP will award an additional $7,500 Artist Development grants to each finalist to assist in further development of the projects.

2020 NTP Artist Development Awardees

About NEFA

The New England Foundation for the Arts 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. Learn more at www.nefa.org.


Contact: Ann Wicks, 617.951.0010 x534