Twelve Theater Ensembles Receive National Theater Project Awards

Thirteenth round of grantmaking brings support to date over $14.5M

LIZN'BOW | photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) announces the 12 recipients of the National Theater Project Creation and Touring awards as well as the 12 recipients of Artist Development awards, totaling nearly $1.3 million in support to the field.

The National Theater Project (NTP) promotes the development and touring of artist-led, ensemble, and devised theater works. In addition to essential funding, NTP galvanizes a national network of producing theaters, presenters, and ensembles. Since the first round of NTP grants in 2010, NEFA has infused more than $14.5 million into the field through the program. To date, 108 new theater works have been supported through Creation and Touring grants; touring of those works has reached 44 different states as well as DC, Puerto Rico, and international US military bases. NTP projects have toured in-person and virtually to large and small arts presenters, tribal communities, military bases, universities, nonprofit organizations, regional theaters, and festivals. 

“Every year, the NTP Advisors engage in thoughtful conversation on each project, and discuss the ever-changing needs of the field, including how NTP can best respond to those needs. It is this deep commitment, the support from our funding partners, and the depth and richness of work being created, that has enabled NTP, and the NTP team, to impact the field significantly over the past 12 years,” said Quita Sullivan, senior program director for theater at NEFA.

NTP’s 12 Advisors selected this year’s projects – all first-time recipients - from a record 134 preliminary applications and narrowed to 24 full proposals. The NTP model pairs each of the finalists with an Advisor to support the final application process.

“NTP is renowned for the holistic and equitable approach to supporting devised and ensemble theater, as demonstrated in a comprehensive evaluation released last year,” said NEFA’s executive director Harold Steward. “NEFA has been able to create this ecosystem, together with our funding partners and theater practitioners from throughout the nation, and we are grateful for their support of this growing network.” 

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.

“NTP continues to serve a community of theater makers who are critical to our national performing arts ecosystem,” said Stephanie Ybarra, program officer for Arts and Culture at the Mellon Foundation. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with NEFA and we’re celebrating this brilliant constellation of artists.”

“The National Theater Project’s support for the creation and touring of new work helps provide the conditions needed for theater artists to determine the future capacity of their field,” said Ashley Ferro-Murray, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Foundation. “This cohort demonstrates how artists engage in visionary world building to make a positive impact with their communities and beyond. We are grateful for NTP’s important work and are pleased to collaborate with them, as well as with our partners at the Mellon Foundation.”

Outside and in the middle of a circle of folks, a young woman and an elderly man take a bow.
Boston resident Jaronzie Harris | photo by Rosa Caban

This year, Creation and Touring grant recipients are each awarded a total of $111,750. A portion of this award supports the creation and development of the new work while $10,000 of the award is allocated to support the administrative work required for creating and touring. The remainder of the award is for artist-directed allocations to presenters to support artist fees via the NTP Presentation Grant. The twelve recipients and projects are:

Project descriptions, images, and more are included in each grantee’s listing in the NEFA grantee directory; organizations interested in presenting any of these works – or works from previous grant rounds – may apply for an NTP Presentation Grant after contacting a project’s tour coordinator, which may be found in the directory. NTP also provides travel support for arts presenters interested in seeing projects. 

NTP finalists who are not awarded the Creation and Touring grant each receive a $10,000 Artist Development Grant. Those recipients are:

  • Creative Care Ensemble, Milwaukee, WI, Within A Single Rose
  • Derek Lee McPhatter, Chicago, IL, water riot in beta: a cyber punk rock opera ("water riot" for short)
  • Faultline Ensemble, Halifax, VT, Counting Pebbles
  • Latino Theater Company, Los Angeles, CA, New Work by Latino Theater Company
  • Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, Louisville, KY, Lifecycle of a Blackberry
  • Love Force, New York, NY, Love Force
  • Nekaa Lab / Sachiyo Takahashi, New York, NY, Shinnai Meets Puppetry: One Night in Winter & The Peony Lantern
  • Rising Youth Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, Keysmash: A Conversation About Mental Health
  • Shayok Misha Chowdhury, New York, NY, Rheology
  • Sugar Vendil/Isogram, New York, NY, Antonym: the opposite of nostalgia
  • The Ume Group, Seattle, WA, The Ume Group's PASSING
  • Wonderlust Productions, Saint Paul, MN, New work by Wonderlust Productions (working title Caregiver Play Project)
A group of 6 people sit around a table in a semi-circle surrounding a person with brown skin, a dark shirt, and a white cowboy hat. The table has a dark orb sitting in the center, and a variety of papers around it. The room is lit in dark blue lighting with a pink glow coming from a room behind. The edge of a projection screen showing numbers and a starscape can be seen to the right.
Obvious Agency | photo by Marisol Rosa-Shapiro

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


Contact:  Ann Wicks, 617-423-1390

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