Watch the National Theater Project 2023 Info Session via HowlRound

Team Sunshine Performance's JAPANAMERICA WONDERWAVE | photo by Lindsay Browning

This webinar is for U.S.-based theater ensembles and theater artists interested in applying for the 2021 National Theater Project (NTP) Creation & Touring Grant. For more information about the grant opportunity (including eligibility, funding criteria, and more) visit the grant page. Apply by September 27, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET.

Still have questions about the process or your application? Sign up for Office Hours with Program Staff.

Read the Transcript


Táputni Thank you, Leilani. Aquy. Welcome to everyone. Thank you for joining us and making the time to learn about the NTP creation and touring grant process.

We're happy to be able to provide this. NEFA’s office is on the land of the Massachusetts, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc peoples, and we acknowledge our debt to them and their continued relationship to this land.

My name is Quita Sullivan. I am the Senior Director, Senior Program Director for Theater. And for a visual description I am a middle-aged native and black woman with gray hair - more gray than I'd like to admit. And I am sitting in front of a background that shows my homelands, Montauk, New York.  It's land, it's water, and it's sky. I also reside on the lands of my kin, the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Massachusetts people.


And hi, my name is Derek Schwartz. I'm the program officer for theater here at NEFA - or one of the program officers for theater. Um, I use he/him pronouns and I am also calling him from the land of the Massachusetts, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc people. I am a youngish white man with kind of some like scruffy beard situation happening. And rimless glasses and a flower print shirt in front of a blurred green background.


Hi all, my name is Leilani. I'm not sure that you can uhm see me since we're looking at the slides, but if you can, the visual description is white skin, long dark brown hair that sort of meshes into the brown shirt, coral lipstick, bright red glasses and large nineties print inspired headphones.

Thank you for your patience as we are getting started.


Hey, Leilani, who are you in terms of NTP?


That's a great question. I am the other program officer and I also use she series pronouns.

I realize that I was multitasking and didn't complete the uhm intro. I am a lifelong resident of Maple Nation on Turtle Island, originally hailing from Wabanaki Confederacy Lands known as Maine. Currently living in the Missituck or Mystic Watershed in the lands of the Pennacook-Abenaki specifically.


Thank you all for joining and welcome to - welcome to our session.


In the interest of disclosing my pronouns as well, I use nákum in my language, or they and she.

So what are we going to do today? This information should be useful whether you are new to NTP or a seasoned veteran of the NTP process.

We hope we can provide you with the information you need going forward with the creation and touring grant application.


And this session will be recorded and available on HowlRound and the NEFA website. This session is designed for general questions.

If you have specific questions related to your application, NTP is offering office hours, uhm, which you can sign up for on the Creation and Touring web page of the NEFA website.

Uhm, and on that page, you'll also find the recording to this webinar. It might take - give us a little bit of time to get it online, but it will be there soon. Yeah!


The topics we will be covering in today's webinar are who is NEFA, which stands for New England Foundation for the Arts - so right off the bat using an acronym there.

Uh, an overview of the National Theater Project.

We're going to answer what does a Creation and Touring grant support.

We'll go over NEFA’s EDIA statement, the criteria and eligibility for this program.

What is a development partner? That's a common question.

The timeline, which for those of you who are applying for the second time or more will notice has shifted.

Uhm, what and who are the NTP advisors?

What is the application process and process and what are our most frequently asked questions?

 We'll go over the narrative questions, an overview work samples and then have a Q+A.


And before we go into the NTP grant, we wanted to just give a little bit of context about New England Foundation for the Arts.

NEFA is a service organization that also acts as a funder, investing in artists and creative communities. And the language from our website is, invest in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape of 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 State Arts Agencies, and private foundations.

Uhm, and it's worth noting that even though National Theater Project is run by New England Foundation for the Arts, we are a national program. So folks are invited to apply from anywhere in the United States and we define the United States as all 50 of the states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam,  Northern Mariana Islands, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia.



Uh! The National Theater Project  promotes the development of artist led ensemble and devised theater work while extending the reach and life of these projects.

It does this through our funding from -  the lead funding from the Mellon Foundation and additional funding from the Doris Duke Foundation.


NTP was created in 2010 to explore the National Dance Model could support device and ensemble theater.  In the beginnings,

We gave 6 grants for creation and touring.

We gave 4 to 5 artist development grants for a handful of finalists who did not receive the creation of Touring Grant.

It included a cohort meeting between grantees and advisors and travel grants for presenters to see supported work.

Today, we give 10 grants for Creation and Touring.

We give artist development grants to all remaining finalists.

There continues to be the cohort meeting between grantees and advisors. It's one of our favorite parts of the grant, and we continue to provide travel grants for presenters to see supported work.


Each year in 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, and touring interest. 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. And we're gonna come back to what a development partner is later in the presentation.
The total 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 again we will talk about in just a second.

After receiving the grant, grantees must submit a tour plan to NEFA within 2 years that outlines where they will be touring the work with NTP subsidies.

And we're just gonna break down how that works or how that funding is split up a little bit.

So NTP funding is divided into 2 categories, the Creation and Touring.

So after our grant is awarded and NTP staff conduct conversation with grantees and NTP advisors to decide how to gi- how to divide the grant money into those 2 buckets according to need the needs of the individual project. Each project is different. So we really base those numbers off of conversations with you, but typically we'll allocate about $30,000 to $80,000 for creation.

And that money is issued pretty much as unrestricted payments for the artist, to spend at their discretion. The remaining grant money is set aside as artists directed allocations which will be distributed directly 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.

So in other words, you would tell us how much of your recording subsidy you want to give to each organization that presents your work. This funding reduces the reduces the cost to presenters you want to present your work. Which can open all sorts of possibilities for how the work tours.

People use different strategies for allocating that funding. So some folks might give large subsidies to a handful of presenters or you might decide to give smaller subsidies to every Tor site.

That funding is intentionally flexible and the NTP staff and advisors are available as a resource to help grantees decide how to split the 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 also recognize that this kind of negotiating 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 support as well as other general operating needs. That money is released in full when you receive the grant and you are free to spend it however you see fit.

So in other words, even though we say the grant is $80,000 to $130,000, it's really more like $90,000 to $140,000.


Hi, all, Leilani speaking again. Before I read – go - through the eligibility slide, I just want to acknowledge that we don't have our live captioning up yet, but it should be up momentarily.

Thank you to our captioner, Ariana, who is working on getting an alternate captioning method available to us while we deal with some surprise limitations to my account.

Circling back to the actual presentation, eligibility. The applicant must be a US based theater ensemble or individual artist with identified collaborators. You heard Derek give the description of US based for the purposes of this project, you will hear it again later from Quita. It is also available on our website.

The applicant must also have nonprofit status or a nonprofit fiscal sponsor. For the purposes of this grant, we are using the definition of nonprofit that is “a 501c3 organization or a tribal government.”

If you don't have a 501 c 3 status or fiscal sponsor in the preliminary phase, it is not a barrier to apply but you will need one once you're in the finalist phase in order for funds to actually be distributed to you.

For - going again for the eligibility you need to have one committed development partner relationship. We will go into what a development partner relationship looks like in just a minute here.

The funds must be allocated among your tour sites within 2 years of receiving the grant.

You must be able to fulfill the requirements and reports hat go with the report – that go with the grant if awarded.

And for returning artists - meaning folks who have received NTP funding before, NTP specifically - all NTP supported presentations have to have been completed and it has to have been one year since the last NTP supported presentation.

By “completed” and “last presentation” on our end, the funds need to have been allocated and distributed to the locations and to the grantee.

That was a lot of information. We do have the Q+A coming up after.

Types of projects not considered.

Unfortunately, we cannot fund everything. So These are the projects that are not eligible and will not be considered.

Projects focused solely on children and family theater. Your project can engage children and can engage families, ad many of our projects have in the past, but they cannot be focused solely on children and family theater.

Projects by solo artists. This is one we get questions about. Uhm, because this is a co-equal devised process, we are totally okay with one single person being on stage as long as the other folks generating the actual project, are co-equal creators and partners in the work and performance.

Projects must be based by lead artists who are here in the United States. So any projects developed by lead artists who are not US based as defined in our criteria section are not eligible.

Any projects that do not meet NTP's definitions of “Devised,” “Ensemble,” or “Tour”-slash-“Touring.”

You can get more information in the criteria section of our website.

Next, I would like to go over NEFA's EDIA value statement with you all.

NEFA values and 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 opportunities based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, geography, culture, nation of origin, and language, and we strive to counter those inequities in our work.

NEFA believes in a diverse and thriving world and art sector and as part of that one of the values - that is not yet captured in our written statement - is the importance of intersectionality in individuals, art makers, and our experiences of art and theater.

In the spirit of transparency - which for me does align with having an equity diversity, intersectionality and accessibility stance – uhm we are in, we are heading into, a process of strategic planning during which we will be continuing to evaluate our values statements and practices. So this statement may evolve and change even over the course of this application cycle.


And now to the stuff you all really want to hear. I'm going to, move into the criteria specific to NTP Creation and Touring Grants. 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 derived directly from these criteria.

This is also what our advisors 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.

Support the creation/development and U.S.* touring 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

Tour/Touring: Sharing of the work in multiple communities, locations, or formats, including in-person performance, virtual performance, or hybrid modalities.

NTP creation and touring grants support work that contributes to the cultural, aesthetic, and form diversities of today's theater.  In other words, why this project? Why this ensemble and why now?

They demonstrate meaningful partnerships with organizations that are involved in the development, performance, promotion, engagement, and or touring of the new work.

They center engagement with and for communities and audiences via the works process and performance.

They also demonstrate a commitment to sharing the work with communities in the US via a tour. NEFA defines the US as all 50 of the United States as well as Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia.


And one big question that we get every year is what is a development partner? And the development partner is fundamental to making this work happen.

We have found over the last 13 years that we've been doing this that the stronger 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.

So development partners provide a variety of resources. They're in the development of a project. And sometimes continue that support into the touring of the work. And we are intentionally, open-ended about what can constitute a development partner.

So some ways that a development partner might contribute to the work is through providing residency space, virtual platforms, audience for work in progress showing whether that be virtual or in person. Administrative guidance or support. Marketplace advocacy. Core planning assistance. Leveraging of additional funds for the project. And much more.

So I think a question to ask yourself is what are the gaps in my application and how can organizations outside of our ensemble fill in those gaps and give our project the greatest chance of success.

Please note that 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 and project to project. But NTP believes strongly that partnerships greatly benefit the development and distribution of devised ensemble theater.

And something important to remember is that the development partner does not necessarily mean a presenter, or even an arts organization. It can mean an incubator space, a service organization that works in a community yor hoping to reach or any number of organizations.


The next thing we're going to discuss is our timeline. So the timeline, uh, just acknowledging has shifted. For the first time it is open in the summer. Usually this has happened in the winter in the past so we recognize that this is a shift.

The current timeline is as follows.

July, 2023 inquiry application is available on our website. That is the phase we are currently in; it is also known as the preliminary application phase.

September the twenty-seventh, 2023 at 115:9 PM Eastern is the inquiry application deadline. 
That means the application that is currently available on our website is due in full at this time and no later.

Fall, 2023  - and by fall 2023 it really is later fall/early winter - applicants are notified of preliminary decisions.

 Finalists are then invited to submit in the full proposal round, also known as the finalist round and are paired with an NTP advisor who serves as the project's advisor during full proposal development.

The final deadline for the final application is February, the fourteenth, 2024 at 1159 PM.

To be clear on those last 2 points, fall 2023 through February, 2024: that is the finalist round, and folks will be notified if they're moving on to the finalist round following our first panel meeting during which our advisor panel will be selecting the projects that move forward.

So I just referred to NTP advisors, several times. So who are these people making these decisions?

NTP's advisor panel is composed of 12 individuals representing (stutter) presenters producing theaters, festivals and service organizations. They are a theater artists. They are scholars, community leaders, 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.

These advisors guide the project selection and serve as consultants and ambassadors for the program. During the final application process - so again that will be following our panel meeting in November. - advisors provide critical guidance to the applicants in proposal preparation and tour development. Finalists will work with an assigned advisor on their final application.

NTP’s advisor panel aligns with NEFA's EDIA commitments by shifting all our decision-making from the purview of staff to an intersectional and rotating committee of field leaders.

A list of our current advisors can be viewed on our website. I would like to offer here the note that that list of advisors will be shifting in coming weeks as some of our advisors rotate off and new folks rotate on.


Okay, so now we are gonna get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually fill out an application on our website. So you can access your application from That's NEFA dot 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 our criteria, and post links to the question-and-answer session, and office hour sign ups.

So we recommend spending some time on this page. And we definitely recommend looking through the criteria and the eligibility before you start an application.

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 the NTP staff one on one or preview the application narrative questions without having to actually 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 an application and need to return to it.

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.

So once you're starting the application and saved it, you should always use the return to your grant application button.

Click either apply now or resume my application will take you to our grant portal login, which looks like this.

From here, if you've used NEFA’s portal before, you can go ahead and log in.

If you haven't built out a NEFA grant in the last few years, you may need to create a new account.

And just a note about that. I think about 3 years ago we upgraded our grants portal, but unfortunately the user accounts from our old portal do not work on the new one. So if you find that your old login info from before 2019 isn't working that's probably why.

If you have any questions about that, you can always contact the NTP staff directly. Particularly you should contact me about, questions with the portal. I'll share my contact info all of our contact info at the end of this slide show.

And as you're creating your account, keep in mind that the system will not let you use your email as a username. So just keep track of whatever user name and use if you lose track of it. Again, email me. I can look that up for you. If you don't remember your password, you can click on can't access your account in order to reset your password.

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

And this is what the application will look like. So as you're filling this out, please remember to save as much as you can. If your computer crashes in the middle of an application and you lose information, we unfortunately can't do anything to help retrieve that.

So please, please remember to save. I think we've all been there where you lose a project halfway through, and it's extremely frustrating. So you'll be required to hit save before moving on to the next tab of each page.

So 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 have opened an application form but don't have time to finish it in that one sitting, you can enter a project title and save the document, with just that field filled out. And once you have saved the application with the title, you can always go back to the application form where you sign into the online portal and hit the return to my grant application button and it should be there address how you left it.

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. It's just a more steady, consistent way of working we found. That being said, if you're working in a word processor, be aware that things like italics and bold will not appear in the application if you copy and paste it. So just note that formatting things like that will not be pasted over.

When you're returning to your application, there's -  it takes you to a kind of confusing page.

So once you sign in, it will take you to a page that looks like this. And our system automatically separates grant forms into 3 categories. Requests, inquiries and reports. This application, the preliminary application, we refer to as an inquiry.

So in order to return to your application, you will need to click inquiry on the left side of the screen. And then you should see it pop up there.


If you wish to review the narrative questions beforehand, they are available on our website. As Derek showed you.

All of our questions are designed to give our advisors a good representation of your work and project.

Those questions, for the inquiry application, are:

Please describe the proposed new work. You'll have about 2,500 characters for that.

Describe your devising development process and how this project meets the NTP definitions of "Devised” and “Ensemble” theater. That's 1,500 characters.

Please describe what excellence means for this project as defined by your artistic practice. What is your overall desired impact for the project? Please provide any other information you think would be important for the advisors to have to fairly assess your application. Again, that is another 1,500 character.

Beyond the collaborators and creative team, ow does this project contribute to the cultural, aesthetic, and form diversities of today's theater? In other words, why this project? Why this ensemble, and why now?

Question 5. List key benchmarks in development and estimated schedule of completion.

Briefly describe your relationship with the listed development partners and how they will contribute to the success of the project. Through development, performance, engagement, promotion, and or touring as defined in the NTP criteria.

 Describe the communities and audiences this project is being made with and for and how you envision connecting with them.

Also, as you are answering these questions, 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.


Another element of your application is the video work sample requirement. For this first round of application, you can submit work samples from any streaming platform you like. That said, Vimeo and YouTube links have seemed to work best and with the most consistency, but you are also welcome to use Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever works best for you.

Keep in mind that the final application you will need to submit a downloadable work sample, but you don't need to worry about this for the preliminary application.

If the video is password protected, please remember to include the password in the application. Please also 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 unintelligible dialogue, the advisors may miss important details.

Lastly, since advisors will be reviewing the application on their own time, between when the application closes in September and when the panel meeting is in November, it is really important that you do not take these videos down between when you submit the application and when the advisors need to discuss the preliminary application.

That the same thing is true for passwords. It's really important that if you submit it without a password, you don't add password protection because we won't have access to that - or don't pull it down.

A little bit more information about the work samples themselves as part of your application, you will be asked to submit at least one video work example, or you can submit 2 shorter work samples, whether you submit one or 2, the total combined time for the videos can be no more than 3 min long.

In other words, you could send in one 3 min clip or you could send in 2 one-and-a-half minute clips but you should not send in two 3 min clips because that would be a total of 6 min.

While we wish we could allow longer submissions, the advisors do need to be able to go through all of the preliminary applications. So we do need to limit the length. If your clips go over the time limit, please include clearly labeled cue times.

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 in this area how your work has changed or how you see it changing.

 If you have specific questions about this, we encourage you to sign up for an office hour session with the NTP team. So we can discuss the specific of your application. As a general rule of thumb, your work sample does not need to show the work for which you are applying, but should show a recent work from within at least the last 4 years.

Our advisor panelists will be watching these samples to get a better idea of what to expect from your project, and so we encourage you to include a clip that connects to the proposed project in some meaningful way if you are unable to send a useful clip from the project.

Work samples are an excellent way to fill in gaps in your application or convey elements of your work that is difficult 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. So if something has been built as a promotional video or as a commercial, it is not - It doesn't meet our criteria. And by video montages we mean don't submit a 3 min slideshow of still photos or gifs; it does need to be 3 total minutes of actual video content.

That brings us - so I, I, had sort of jumbled around my info. So I'm just going to give a second for folks to read this slide. Because this is the first slide I was talking through.

And how great do all of our grantees look?


 And then, second to last slide is our contact us information.

So it is incredibly important to us that you bring us your questions during your preliminary application process. And I strongly encourage you to bring questions sooner rather than later; things like office hours are available on first come first serve basis, so we want to be able to help you give us enough time to give you time.

You can reach us via phone or email, and you can also schedule office hours from our website.

The link to do that will be up following this meeting. And I'm posting it here. You can go ahead and schedule a preliminary office hour session.

We do ask that if you are reaching out, please reach out to the names listed first and last, Derek Schwartz  and Leilani Ricardo.

Team? I'm realizing we have my name misspelled on this slide. There's an O at the end of my name. Uh, the email address is spelled correctly though. So you can go ahead and copy it from there before reaching out to Quita, who will be on intermittent leave this summer and early fall.

So again, you can email or call. We strongly encourage before doing that that you fully review the landing page on our website and you can also sign up directly for office hours for one-on-one calls.

But we're gonna just throw up our final slide here as I thank you all for joining us.

And always thank you to our funders, the Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation.

On behalf of the NTP team, which is myself, Derek Schwartz  and Quita Sullivan, thank you for joining us today. We are going to shift into a Q+A mode.

For folks who have not done a webinar before, there is not the functionality for attendees to turn on their cameras.  The only cameras that will be, uh, able to turn on are panelists, but you can use the Q+A function at the bottom of your screen to submit questions and you can use the chat.

If you have difficulty with typing and need to ask your question verbally, please raise your hand so that I can work on getting you unmuted.


My apologies, Leilani. I didn't realize that the O had dropped off of your name.


You know, it wasn't wrong the last time we used that slide - so I think we edited something.


So I'm looking at the question and answers. We already do have some questions listed.

Uhmmmm . . . the first question we addressed a little bit, which is how do you define children's theater and why is it ineligible for consideration.

Again, we define children's theater as theater that is focused specifically on children and family theater. We don't want to say “no, you can't have that as part of your project,” but at the time that we were given the funds to start this grant program, we were told specifically this was not about children's and children and family theater. And so that is one of the restrictions that we have on who we can give money to. So again, it must -  it cannot be solely focused on family and children's theater, but it can include that.


I'm also seeing a question that says, can a development partner also be the fiscal sponsor?

And I think the answer is yes and no. The development partner can be the fiscal sponsor, but they shouldn't only be the fiscal sponsor.

 We don't consider fiscal sponsorship to be. . . .  A considerable development partner.

 But, if you have a development partner that's supporting you in other ways, they can also be your fiscal sponsor.

And I have a very similar answer to another question of “can a development partner also be a presenting partner?” And it's the same answer, where developing partner can present your work, but they shouldn't only be presenting your work. They should also be assisting in the development of the work.


Uh - looking to, “do you need at least one committed touring partner for preliminary application stage?”

So if you have a committed touring partner, that is awesome. All you need in the preliminary stage is an outline, a plan, a narrative of what you anticipate touring looking like. That can vary a lot, especially since we do accept hybrid applications and digital tours. And so what a, a committed touring partner looks like can vary a lot.

You do need to be able to articulate how you plan to tour, where you plan to tour, and roughly when you plan to tour, but you don't need the same level of commitment as you would from a development partner.

Uhm, answering a question from the same person. This is Leilani speaking. The grants are going to be announced in spring of 2024.

The activity of the grant, when it can begin, and the subsequent first public production is a little bit. In flux in that it is a creation grant and so you need to be still actively creating when you apply.

So you can, have something that has started doing some performance before. The actual grant is awarded as long as you can demonstrate in your application that there will be meaningful creation happening, not just performance.

So that's why that's a little bit mushy. Generally we advise and the strongest applications have the first performance happening within 6 months of whatever season it's due. The first performance happening within 6 months of whatever season it's due.

So we anticipate a roughly May. Late May, early June will be announcing. So we would anticipate within 6 months of that the first performance is generally the strongest application.


I see another question. Can the requirement that works samples be less than 4 years old be waved or adjusted with respect to the pandemic disrupting creative trajectories.

And, I think we might have misrepresented that. I would say that the 4 year old, that is more of a guideline than a requirement. We're not going to say that your work sample is ineligible because it's more than 4 years old.

We will say that work samples from within the last 4 years we have found to be most effective and most beneficial to the application.

So if all you have is work samples from before, from more than 4 years ago, you can definitely go ahead and use them. But if you do have something from within the last 4 years, that you think, what your project is trying to accomplish we have found that to be more effective and more helpful for your application.


I see a really important one.

Sorry, as questions or submitted, it sort of jumps around so they may not be in order.

Yes. The criteria of “Devised,” “Ensemble,” and “Touring” as defined on our website under criteria -the project must meet all 3 of these bullet points.

A 100%. They are the baseline of eligibility. They are the foundational criteria. They are the core non-negotiables. It must be devised, ensemble, and tour/touring.

I see some other questions sort of around that same one.

Preliminary applications vary pretty wildly, including in the pandemic. I can offer that in terms of the volume we're anticipating right now, these sessions usually have about 30 or 40 folks that sign up. We had 75 sign up for this info session today.

So extrapolating from that, I would anticipate a smooth 100 preliminary applications. Potentially more potentially less because you can edit your application right up until you submit it's really hard for us to gauge. Folks start applications and don't finish them. So that's sort of the best I can give you, there.

The award date - so because there are some questions around development timeline I'm gonna just circle back to make sure that was clear.

We will be awarding the grants in spring, 2024. We anticipate that being in late May or early June.

In terms of your timeline. You will need to have both the creation and the touring.

I can offer that we have some projects that are still touring or still using their touring funds now that predate the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Those tours are still ongoing. That circumstance has led to the creation timeline being extended.

A slightly more common timeline is anywhere from 18 months to about 3 years, but projects take the time that the work takes. The important part is the creation and the touring have to both be part of the process. I just took a few, ‘cause they were near each other so I'll shift over to one of you.


Can we have multiple development partners or mentioned that in the application app, absolutely. It is very

Uhm, it is very . . . very  helpful to your application to have that. Derek, you wanted to add something.


Oh no, I was just clicking the you were answering that. Sorry, I was just trying to keep up with what you were saying.


Alright. And if a project was a finalist in the National Dance Project but did not get a final award is that project still eligible for NTP?

Yes. Absolutely. However, I will make it, try to make this, clear.

We recognize the intersectionality between dance and theater. And, this is however a theater application. So if you don't at least explain how it falls into theater, it will not be seriously considered.

That is we have had applications from folks that we actually knew were dance theater, who never mentioned the work theater once in their application and it was reviewed. And the question was asked, isn't this a dance application? So you need to be very, very specific about how this falls into theater. That was actually 2 questions.


Yeah, we're being very bouncy. Can touring happen both inside the US and outside of the US.

Yes! it can happen. The lead artists, the ensemble actually submitting the application must be based in the United States.

We not only will accept applications both inside and outside of the US, we have had several folks receive the grant, including one of our current grantees, Yankee Bajan, which is touring both inside and outside of the US.

The one thing that I do want to note for folks who are interested in an international tour is we are the national theater project and so how our touring funds - the portion that doesn't go to the creation of the work but the actual sharing of the work - the allocation of those funds becomes slightly more challenging if the majority of your partners are international.

We fund your national stops and I do encourage folks to review our definition of national because NTP does recognize all of the territories. So I have had folks ask me recently if that counts as an international tour and they're actually talking about a US tour.

[Derek and Quita both speaking]

Uhm - Oh, I see a – I'm -  Oh yeah, go ahead.


And just. Just to clarify, to add on to what Leilani said is that the tour, the monies, the tour can happen both inside and outside of the US, but NTP tour subsidy can only be used for the US portion of that tour. As defined by our website.


I see a question. How many hours are anticipated for filling out the inquiry section? And honestly, I don't know how much I can answer this because I think everyone works at really different speeds.

I will say, those questions that we went over, the narrative questions, we anticipate that being the hardest part of the application.

That is where you will spend most of your time. The rest of it is kind of simple answers, which shouldn't take too much time. So, you know yourself best, uhm, so figure out how long it takes for you to answer those questions.

I think everyone is really different and it also depends on the capacity of your organization.

I see a question. “What is the development timeline after a project is selected? Are there stipulations about when work begins premier date, etc?”

And this is another one where, for better for worse, the answer is kind of it depends. The one requirement that I think Leilani talked about is that at the time that we award the grant, there  needs to still be considerable development on the project happening. So usually but not always that means that the work premieres after the grant is awarded.

We have given this grant to projects that had already premiered, but those were projects that were doing considerable redevelopment between tour sites. Oftentimes they were site-specific work that was really redefining itself as it toured.

So it's not a hard rule that it can't have premiered before the grant application or before the grant was awarded. But if the work premieres before the time that the grantis awarded, there will be some level, there will be some burden to show that there is still development happening. But again, we have funded work like that. The other dates that we have are really guidelines not requirements.

We do require that the work - that you tell us where the work will tour or where you will use your funds, your touring funds, within 2 years. But beyond that? Every project really is different and has a different timeline. So, we have found that work that will be ready to premiere within the next 6 months to a year tend to be the most competitive.

But again, projects that have different needs require funding at different times in their life cycle. And our advisors are very aware of that in the panel process.


There's a question here. Does opera fit into the term theater? You will notice that we do not define theater – uhm, and that is because we all come from different traditions, certainly in my tradition dance theater and music would not be separated out from each other.

So. Yes. Opera can fit into this program. And in fact, we're very proud of the fact that we have supported Parable of the Sower, as uh Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding’s Iphigenia.

So. Yes. Opera is definitely theater. And you will have to talk about it within your application.

I'm also looking at “the level of engagement with presenting partners audience-”


Quita, could I interrupt you for just 1 second to add on to that?




Uhm, that when talking about opera or talking about dance-slash-theater or talking about any discipline that you have a question about. Yes, as Quita has emphasized, you're going to have to call it theater. You're going to have to explain how it is theater.

So the three immovables are "Devised,” “Ensemble” and “Tour or Touring.”

So it needs to be a devised opera, devised by an ensemble , that is going to tour. That is the - that is the core thing. So there have been a couple of questions on “does this this specific genre or subgenre fit?”

The answer is yes as long as you as the creators sincerely believe it is theater and it needs those 3 specific things.

But I've just I've seen a couple of, sort of genre questions and that's going to be the answer, whatever word you sub for opera.



Some really simple ones. “How many tour sites or locations do you need for the grant?”

In the past we have had a general . . . .I won't say requirement but preference for 3 performances within at least 2 different states.

However, we're also talking about some areas count as a tour within themselves. For example, if you were trying to tour Alaska, that would be a tour in and of itself. The amount of travel you have to do to get across Alaska is the same as if you were traveling within the contiguous 48.

So some, some tours could be, uh, Hawaii specific for example. Again, the difficulties of traveling amongst the islands in Hawai’i is tremendous.

So, tour sites . . . I would aim for 3. 3 tours, 3 sharings 2 states at a minimum.

If you're - let's see, what's the - “If the proposed project has some funding through another grant, does that disqualify for this application?”

No, (laughs) our grant cannot support the entirety of the project. We hope that you that you will be able to leverage this grant and get other funding. We've seen that happen many, many times that by getting the NTP grant, it has enabled more investment in the project.


I see one I had wanted to answer which is:

“If we have a group of artists working together for the first time, should we submit samples of our individual work, even if it wasn't necessarily devised or specifically representative of the kind of work we're looking to make with this grant?”

So this is challenging in that the goal of the work sample is to exemplify the project and what that is going to look like.

If you don't have - let's say there are 5 artists, you don't necessarily have to be demonstrating all 5 of you working simultaneously.

Uhm, I will say that if you submit several, you know, small chunks of individual artists that isn't necessarily going to convey an ensemble.

It also – and, just this may not be what's implied in this question - but work samples do not have to be polished performances.

They can be polished performances and we are happy to accept polished performances, but if you feel it most significantly represents what's happening with your new ensemble to show a high quality rehearsal video that is completely acceptable. If that is, you know, to demonstrate your devising process.

Again, we want to see what the work is going to be. And there's no one answer for exactly how that's going to look best for your group.

To the questions.  . . . for “Is there are difference between an ensemble and a creative team?” I can't-


Sorry, before you move on, can I just say one more-




-thing about what you were just talking about?

This is not directly answering the question, but, for artists who are working together for the first time, I also just wanna point you to our definition of ensemble, which does stipulate a group of artists working together over time to create a body of work.

Which does not exclude people who are working together for the first time. But for artists who are working together for the first time, you do need to show that there's some intention of working together beyond this one project.

Because by our definition of ensemble, it's groups of people who are creating multiple pieces of work, 2 or more pieces of work, of work together as a group.


That ties in perfectly to the question of “Is there a difference between an ensemble and a creative team?”

To answer that I have put our definitions of "Ensemble,” “Devised,” and “Tour/Touring” into the chat.
And I will read them out loud:

Ensemble, a group of 2 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 or directors is iterative and results in original work

Tour/Touring, is sharing of the work in multiple communities, locations or formats including in-person performance, virtual performance or hybrid modalities.

“Creative team” doesn't have the same kind of consistent definition, which is why we provide our definition. If your creative team matches this definition of ensemble and is devising in this way? Yes.

If by “creative team”, you mean a traditional Western proscenium style team where there is a director and a playwright and a set designer and they are distinctive entities who have more creative authority than the actors who are sort of hired as employees a tier down? That is a different thing.

So again, I can't define for anybody on this call or anywhere else how you would define your creative team.

Ensemble. Devised. Tour and Touring.

We are at a time check. So, Quita and Derek, maybe if you each want to take one more really quickly, I will drop in the chat right now – I will drop in the link to our web page, because some of these questions are on the Creation and Touring, in the eligibility and criteria sections. Uhm and you all do have, I have already shared the link to have a meeting with us.


I can really quickly answer these 2 questions of “Can the fiscal sponsor be a university?” The answer is yes.

And “Are you able to submit a different work sample for the second application deadline?” Again, the answer is yes. And we actually recommend using a different work sample over the second round.


And then the last question remaining is “The level of engagement with the presenting partners audience? How in depth should the engagement be, specifically if the institutions do not have a relationship to your target audience.”

That's a very difficult one. That, often, is the relationship between you and your presenting partner. And what they expect you to do and what you expect them to do and that should be made very very clear as you are talking about it. If they're interested in presenting you, there must be a reason for that. And so I think it is a conversation that needs to be ongoing.

What we have found is that, community sourced, community engaged, community powered work is the work that is most successful within the NTP program.

And so there’re presenting partners out there who under who understand your work and can help you with that engagement.

If you don't plan on having that kind of a presenting partner, but have a community partner, that is also acceptable. As a presenting partner, a community partner can be a presenting partner. I would suggest that you talk to the NTP team and ask questions about those partners and that relationship to get a more clear understanding of this. It really is a project by project issue.

And we've, we have seen all kinds of iterations of presenting partners and we're happy to help with that.


Before we log off for the afternoon, I just want to say a couple of quick specific thank yous.

Thank you to Nikki who is our current ASL interpreter on the bottom of at least my screen.

Thank you to Josh who was our initial ASL interpreter.

Thank you to Ariana, who is our captioner and who found a solution for us.

Thank you to Thea who you all would not have seen or heard, but who is on the staff at HowlRound and has been helping me to facilitate this whole thing, functionally as tech backup.

I want to thank all of you for attending and for your patience as we tried to get things up and running in the most functional and accessible way.

And thank you as always to my team.

Final reminders, everything that we discussed in the slides is available on our website. The criteria, the eligibility, the definitions, the deadlines, even the timelines. When do I have to have the project touring, etc. It's all on the website.

You can also contact us via email or phone or schedule a 30 min preliminary office hours session with either myself or Derek.

Thank you all for joining us this afternoon. Thank you for your applications, whether they are in process or forthcoming.

And thank you for the art that you put out into the world. We are all the better of it.

Have a good afternoon.


Táputni Thank you all.


Thank you.

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