Watch the National Theater Project Creation & Touring Grant Webinar

Recorded January 26, 2021
Derek is a white man with short, light brown hair. He wears clear-framed eyeglasses and smiles.
Program Officer, Theater

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 11:59 PM ET, March 8, 2021.

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

Read the Transcript

Something going on all the time. OK, so yay. Welcome, everyone. Thanks for being here today. Yeah, so good to see your faces. Let's see, let me move this over.

So you are here at the National Theater Project Creation and Touring Grant Info Session today, and we're so happy you're all here to hear the information. So my name is Meena Malik. I'm the program manager of theater at NEFA and I use the she/her/hers pronouns. I'm calling in from Torrance, California, which is on the traditional lands of the Kizh, Gabrieleño, and Tongva peoples. And here with me is Derek, who will introduce himself.

Hey, sorry, I have all sorts of things going on right now. My name is Derek, I use he/him/his pronouns. I am the program coordinator for NEFA, and I am working from Jamaica Plain which is a part of Boston, Massachusetts, on the traditional lands of the Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc people. And, yeah. I am grateful to be here with you. I apologize for wearing the mask. I hope you're all able to still hear me. I'll try to talk slowly.

I can hear you.

And we also have Jeffrey Filiault today, joining us, helping out with the tech, managing the chat, and also letting people in the waiting room. Jeffrey did you want to say hi? Or I know you're having tech issues yourself. Yes I am. But hi, I'll say hello. I use they/them pronouns and I'll be looking for questions in the queue.

Thanks, Jeffrey. So before we start, a couple of housekeeping. So we're all-- we're going to be muting you all while we present so that there is no background noise. For questions, feel free to put them in the chat box. We do have an official Q&A at the very end of the presentation, but if we're able to, we will respond to the questions as we go through the presentation. But, yeah, either way. You can hold on to it until the very end, or you can ask in the middle using the chat box.

As you can see we're recording this webinar so that we can have it available later on our website. So if you miss some information today, no worries. You can go back and engage with it on our website. Feel free to share it with people who may need this information, as well.

And we were planning to do live captions today, but we were a little slow and we couldn't. Apologies for those folks that need live caption. We will have it available in the recording itself. So if you do need that version, for sure, you don't want to miss it. Feel free to send that message to us in the chat, as well, and we will send-- email that link to you later on. Apologies. We're working on our accessibility.

So next slide, please.

So today we're going to cover these things. Who is NEFA? We'll do an overview of National Theater Project. We will look into what Creation and Touring Grants supports. We'll look at NEFA's EDIA statement, then our criteria. We'll share our COVID response. What is a development partner, questions around timeline, talk a little bit about NTP advisors. And then we'll do some application process and FAQ. Share the narrative questions, talk about video samples and work samples, and then we'll end with Q&A. Next slide, please.

Well, Derek is dealing with stuff. So next slide is before we go into the NTP grant, we wanted to just give a little bit of context about NEFA. So NEFA is a service organization that also acts as a funder, investing in artists and creative communities. And this is the statement that we have on our website. Oh, are you back?

I'm sorry, I'm just having trouble with my screen sharing, but all good now.

NEFA 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 States Arts agencies, and private foundations.

And then we just want to mention, because we get questions about this all the time, even though we're based out of New England Foundation for the Arts, National Theater Project is a national program and people are invited to apply from all over the United States. So there's no New England focus to the program.

So we are here to talk about the National Theater Project. As Derek just mentioned, it's a national program. NTP promotes the development of artist-led, ensemble, and devised theater work, and also extends the reach and life of these projects through touring. Our lead funding comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable foundation. Next slide, please.

So, beginnings. NTP was created in 2010 to explore if the National Dance model, which is our kind of sister program-- model could support devised and ensemble theater. We support 10 projects annually, and the projects vary greatly in timeline, scale, touring interests.

So the grants for the Creation and Touring grant cover-- the range is between $80,000 to $130,000. It's split between a creation grant, which is paid directly to the artists, and a presentation grant, which is given to the presenters to support artists fees, as designated by the artist. And presentation grants are controlled by artists. Artists allocate the money and this is intended to kind of counteract that power dynamic and power imbalance that sometimes exists between artists and presenters.

Artists development grant goes to a handful of finalists who do not receive a full Creation and Touring grant. This is a relatively new initiative that we started several years ago to add more support to artists. And these are smaller grants that go to maybe four to five artists ensembles every year.

There is a cohort meeting between grantees and advisors, which is part of the package that we offer. This is an opportunity for group learning and networking. And it's intended to give grantees all the information they need to succeed and to give space to share ideas with other artists. For now, because of COVID, we are doing this virtually, not in person.

And then we also have travel grants for presenters to see the supported work. Oftentimes, for a devised ensemble work, where people are kind of creating new types of work, it's sometimes really hard to describe in words what the work looks like. So we want the presenters to be able to see the projects that they are wanting to present, to decide whether they can present or not. We cover 70% of their travel costs. And we've also used this money for NTP-supported artists to travel to presenting sites, as well as bringing in culturally competent critics to look at their work.

Again, because of COVID, we are-- we still have this grant available for any kind of virtual conference, or any other way that they can see work. But, yeah. We still have it available, but we are seeing how things go with COVID. Next slide, please.

And before we move on, I just want to address a question in the chat. So the question is will individuals be artists working with other local artists in each location project will take place be reviewed the same as organizations and nonprofits? And the answer is yes. All of the applicants are considered in the same pool. We do have certain restrictions for individual artists, because the same qualifications for devised ensemble theater do apply, but we're going to talk about that a little bit later in the presentation.

So each year, 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. 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.

The 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 we'll talk about in just a second. After receiving the grant, grantees must allocate the touring funds among the tour sites within two years.

And like I just said, the NTP funding is divided into these two categories, Creation and Touring. After the Creation and Touring grant is awarded, NTP staff conduct conversation with the grantees and NTP advisors to decide how to divide the grant money into these two buckets. Each project is different, but typically, we will allocate $30,000 to $80,000 for creation. And that money is issued as more or less unrestricted payments for the artist to spend at their discretion.

And just to reiterate, we work directly with the artists to figure out how to split that money. So that really is a conversation that we're having with you. It's not something that we're deciding for you.

And the remaining grant money is set aside as artist-directed allocations, which will be distributed to presenters. These funds can support up to 50% of the artist's fee for any given engagement. That money is paid directly to the presenter, but the funds are released at the discretion of the artists. In other words, you would tell us how much of your touring subsidy you would want to give to each organization that presents your work, and then we would send out the money to them. This funding reduces the cost for presenters who 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. Some folks might give large subsidies to a handful of presenters, or you might decide to give smaller subsidies to every tour site. That funding is intentionally flexible and the NTP staff and advisors are available as a resource to help grantees decide how to split that money and to offer a reference for how other artists have used the funding in the past.

And as Meena was mentioning, in addition to helping your tour in new ways, we hope that 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 do recognize that this kind of negotiation requires labor. And we 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 coordinator and/or touring support. That money is released in full when you receive the grant and you are free to spend it however you see fit.

And just to reiterate, before, we said that the grant is for $80,000 to $130,000. That does not include that additional $10,000. So if you receive a $100,000 grant, you would actually receive $110,000.

In order to be eligible for the grant, the applicant must be a US-based theater ensemble or individual artist with identified collaborators. You do have to have either a non-profit status or a non-profit fiscal sponsor. You should have one committed development partner relationship. You should be able to allocate the funds among tour sites within two years of receiving the grant, although this is a little flexible nowadays. And fulfill the requirements and reports if awarded.

And for returning artists-- now that we're in our 11th year of grant making, we have had artists who are returning who have received our grant previously. The requirement is that all NTP-supported presentations are completed and it has been one year since the last NTP-supported presentation.

And there is a real equity reason around this. When you only give 10 grants, you have to maintain grants for new artists and cannot always support the same artists. But we also know that artists grow, and companies and ensembles grow, and we have to be able to support those as well. So we think this is a pretty good requirement, compared to some other funders who have, like, a five year restriction. Next slide, please.

And the types of projects that we do not consider are projects focused solely on children's and family theater. And that doesn't mean that whatever the project is doesn't have that component within it, but it isn't the sole focus of the project. We also don't support projects by solo performers. That being said, we have had many projects that have a single performer on stage, but that is not the entirety of the ensemble. And we don't support projects developed by lead artists who are non-US based.

And in the next question of this webinar, we're going to discuss the grant criteria. But before we do that, we do want to read NEFA Equity, Diversity, Intersectionality, and Accessibility Value Statement. A lot of our grant criteria was built around this statement and it serves as a lens that all the other criteria are examined through.

During the grant discussions, we start by reading this statement and advisors return to it constantly in the panel discussions. And so I'm just going to read this word for word. This is on the NEFA website, as well.

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

Now, we're going to go into the criteria specific to the NTP Creation and Touring grant. I will, again, read this word for word, because this is what you will see when you go to fill out the application. And the questions that are asked in the application derive directly from these. This is also what our panelists will be looking at when they score your application. This criteria is available on our website, and we suggest that you have it open as you fill out the application.

OK, so the criteria are-- NTP Creation and Touring grants support the creation/development and US touring, virtual or in person, 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. Devise, a process of co-creation and joint discovery that prioritizes generative work, which may include, but does not prioritize playwrights, is iterative, and results in original work.

And continuing, it supports work that contributes to the cultural and aesthetic diversities of today's theater, reflect meaningful partnerships with presenters, producers, and other organizations that are involved in the development, performance, engagement, and/or touring and promotion, virtual or in person, of the new work.

Offer the potential to deepen engagement because of the work's relevance, originality, and/or timeliness. Produce a viable plan for touring, virtual or in-person, the supported work in multiple communities in the US and its territories. And again, NEFA defines US as all 50 of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

When we are going-- sorry, one second.

When we were going into this grant cycle, we made the decision not to change the core structure of our grant because we believe that funding for creation and touring new work is as important now as ever. But we also recognize that everybody is coming into this application cycle from different places. Some of you probably haven't been able to get together as an ensemble in almost a year, and we want to make our application and selection process as flexible as possible. We know that many of your timelines and partnerships are probably up in the air right now, and that there is more uncertainty than normal.

We are having conversations with our advisors about how to read applications this year because we know that business as usual is not an appropriate response to all of the pandemics that we are in the middle of right now. In your application, we encourage you to be honest about how the pandemic may have impacted your application and your project. And we hope you don't feel like you need to pretend that everything is OK. The text on this slide is written on our application and I'm going to read it out loud.

NEFA recognizes that the combination of multiple pandemics, COVID 19, racial injustice, and economic downturn continue to impact the ways that artists create and intend to share their work. We value your creative ingenuity during this time, and the artistic experiences you still desire to share with communities and audiences, whether in person, virtually, or some imaginative combination of both.

While much remains unforeseen in the arts and culture landscape, we believe in the resiliency of our field and remain committed to supporting artists' ability to thrive. Thus, as you complete your NTP proposal, we encourage you to answer all questions to the best of your knowledge and know that it is OK to still be uncertain. We invite you to learn on NTP-- sorry, we invite you to lean on the NTP team as a resource as you prepare to submit your preliminary application.

And we'll talk about this later, but on the NTP website, you'll see that there's a place where you can sign up for an office hours conversation with Meena and I. And we really encourage you, if you have questions related to COVID, or any other element of your application, to find some time to talk with us. We really are excited to talk with you about your projects. And we know that there's nothing clear-cut about these applications this year. And we hope that you'll lean on us as a resource.

Yeah. Thanks, Derek, for sharing the COVID statement. Moving back to the application, what is a development partner? This is a question that we get often. Development partners is fundamental to making this work happen and we've found over the 10 years that we've been doing this, that the better 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 the ways that we-- development partners can support artists are providing residency spaces, audience for work in progress showings, virtual or in-person, any kind of administrative guidance or support, marketplace advocacy, tour planning assistance, leveraging of additional funds for the project, and more. Next slide, please.

The development partner is not required to present the finished work at any time, though many do. And development partner does not necessarily mean a presenter. It could mean an incubator space, a service organization working with the community you are hoping to reach, or any number of other organizations. And does not need to be a theater organization. And it is understood that the need and level of assistance between development partners and artists varies from artist to artist. But NTP believes strongly that partnerships greatly benefit the development and distribution of devised ensemble theater.

Creation and Touring grant selection process is divided into two rounds. The preliminary round, which we will refer to as Inquiry round, begins in January when the grant inquiry application becomes available on the NEFA website. So that's the part of the application that we're in right now. The inquiry application deadline is in March.

And once we have processed all the inquiries, we send out a panel book with all the applications to the NTP advisors. Last year, we received about 100 applications and we expect to receive at least that many again this year. So the review process takes some time.

The advisors will convene in May to select 24 finalists, at which point applicants are notified of preliminary decisions. From there, finalists are invited to submit in the full proposal around, and are paired with an NTP advisor, who serves as a project advisor during the final application development.

The final application deadline will be in June and NEFA will announce the creation and touring grant recipients in July or early August. Then in September, NEFA publishes details of the NTP Creation and Touring grant recipients.

So who are these people making these decisions? NTP advisors provide critical guidance to the applicants in proposal preparation and tour development. So this is in the final application stage. They also guide the project selection and serve as consultants and ambassadors for the program. We really look at them as partners, rather than just panelists. And that's why we call them advisors. They really help us make the shifts and changes and-- in the program, from the criteria to the process. And we utilize their knowledge as people in the theater field.

NTP advisors represent presenters, producing theaters, festivals, service organizations, and theater artists. And the selection of advisors takes into account geography, gender, cultural and racial equity, and includes new and established leaders in the field. And we also have some returning artists who have received the AP grant previously, who have gone through this process to be part of the advisory cohort, which is really helpful to hear that insight, as well. And a list of our current advisors can be viewed on our website at any time.

OK, so now we're going to go into the nitty gritty of filling out an NTP application using NEFA's online portal. And if you want to follow along, we can post a link to this page in the chat, or we have the screenshots here.

So for those of you who have applied to NEFA grants in the past, you may notice that we have a new portal, which we used for the first time for last year's application round. This new portal works pretty much the same, but the layout is a little bit different than the old one. The process is much more streamlined and intuitive than it was before. But it does look a little different than what you're used to. So we're going to walk through it.

You can access your application from, by clicking grants and programs, which is up here, and navigating to NTP Creation and Touring grant page, which looks like this. This is also where we list all of the criteria, so we recommend spending some time on this page before you start filling our your 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 office hours to talk with Meena and I, and you can also preview the application narrative questions before you start the application.

When you're ready to work on the grant, you can apply now to start a new application, or resume my application if you already started and need to return to your form. 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. Once you have started an application and saved it, always use the return to your grant application button.

Clicking either apply now or resume my application will take you to a web portal log-in, which looks like this. From here, if you've used NEFA's new portal-- so if you've applied for a NEFA grant in the past year or so, you can go ahead and log in. If you haven't filled out a NEFA in the last year and a half, since we upgraded our portal, you may need to create a new account.

Unfortunately, the user accounts from the old portal do not work on the new one. So if you find your old login info isn't working, that's probably why. If you have questions about this, or if you're not sure whether you have a new portal account or an old one, or just need to talk through this, you can get in touch with Or you can contact the NTP staff directly. And you can do that-- all of our contact info is on the NEFA website and we will share it at the end of this webinar, as well.

As you are creating your account, keep in mind that the system will not let you use your email as a username. So just keep track of what username you use. If you don't remember your password, you can click on, can't access your account, in order to reset that. And once you create a new account or sign in with your previous login, it will take you to the grant application. And that looks like this.

As you're filling this out, please remember to save as much as possible. If your computer crashes or if something-- something you wrote is lost, we unfortunately can't do anything to help retrieve that. So please, please, please remember to save.

You'll be required to hit save before moving on to the next tab of each page. 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 open an application form, but don't have time to finish it, you can enter a project title and save the document with just that field filled out. 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 from the return to my grant application button.

As you are 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 the internet goes out, or something like that.

That being said, if you are working in a word processor, be aware that the formatting will be a little bit different. The grant portal does not allow for italics or bold. And so any kind of alternative formatting like that will probably be lost when you put it in. So we recommend working in a word processor, putting it into the portal, but then reading through it before you submit because things do get rearranged a little bit.

When you're returning to your application, once you sign in, it will take you to a page that looks like the top box of this page, of the slide. Our system automatically separates grant forms into three categories-- requests, inquiries, and reports. The preliminary application for NTP is actually an inquiry. So in order to return to your application in this first round, you'll need to click inquiry, and then you'll be taken to this page and you'll see your NTP Creation and Touring project. And here is my project, which will not receive funding.

Thanks Derek. Sorry, I was responding to questions. So these are the narrative questions that we are asking and as Derek mentioned, feel free to copy and paste into a Word document and work on these separately, because it may take a little time to go through them. So these are the narrative questions, which you can find on our website, as well, without going into the application form.

So number one, please describe the proposed new work. Number two, describe your devising development process and how this project meets the definitions of devised an ensemble theater. Number three, we acknowledge that the people reviewing your application are likely to have gaps in understanding or knowledge about the context for your work. Please provide your own definitions of excellence and success for this project and any other information you think will be important for the advisors to have to fairly assess your application.

And this third question we added relatively recently, I think in the past two or three years. And it came from a need, where we didn't want to be the one that defines success for the artists, but have, instead, the artists define what success looks to them. Because we've also seen artists who are applying from culturally-based work, or specific work that comes from a certain tradition that our advisors may not know about. And so we're hoping to, by adding this question, giving the opportunity and the power to the artist to describe to us what you do and how you define success and excellence for yourselves. Next slide, please.

Number four is how does this project contribute to the culture and aesthetic diversities of today's theater? Number five, list key benchmarks in development and estimated schedule of completion. Number six, briefly describe your relationship with the development partners named on the application, and how they will contribute to the development and/or touring and promotion of this work. And number seven, describe the audiences and communities you want to reach and how you envision connecting with them through this work.

And at this point, we do understand that many applicants, they're pretty early in their development process and they may not know what presenters may be interested in your work at this point, yet. So we're more interested in hearing about what audiences and communities you're planning to reach through this work, and how you plan to do that, rather than, we have these big name presenters lined up. We want to really see how you're engaging with the communities that you want to reach with this particular work. So that's that question. Next slide, please.

As part of your application, you will also be asked to submit at least one video work sample. Or you can submit two shorter work samples. Whether you submit one or two, the total combined time for the videos can be no more than three minutes long. So in other words, if you submit a 3-minute clip, you can only submit one. Or you could submit two 1 and 1/2 minute clips. But you could not submit two 3-minute clips.

We wish we could allow longer submissions, but since the advisors need to go through so many applications for this first round, we unfortunately do need to limit it. If your clips go over the time limit please, include clearly labeled cue times. NTP staff reviews every work sample, so if you do go over the time limit, we will get in touch to ask you to submit cue times.

We recognize that video work samples might be particularly tricky this year, since many of you probably have not been able to meet as an ensemble and may not have new clips to share. That is completely OK, and we are working with our advisors to shift our expectations for what a work sample should be this year. When you are submitting your work sample, there's 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 can explain there how your work has changed, or how you see it changing after the pandemic, when you come back together to keep creating the work. 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 specifics of your application.

As a general rule of thumb, your example does not necessarily need to show the work for which you are applying, but should show our recent work from within the last four years. Panelists will be watching these samples to get a better idea of what to expect from your project and we encourage you to include a clip that connects to the proposed project. Work samples can be a good way to fill in gaps in your application, or convey elements of your work that are hard to put into words. One of the few restrictions that we do put into place for our video samples is that promotional videos and video montages are not accepted.

For the first round of applications, you can submit work samples from any screening platform you like. Vimeo and YouTube links have seemed to work better in the past than things like Google Drive or Dropbox, but really, anything is fine. We will work with you on that. Keep in mind that for the final application, though, you will need to submit a downloadable work sample. But you don't necessarily need to worry about that right now. For the final round, we do not accept YouTube links because they are not downloadable.

If the video is password protected, please remember to include the password in the application. 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, also, that if audio is low quality or includes illegible dialogue, the advisors may miss important details. Also, since the advisors will be reviewing the application on their own time, it is really, really important that you do not take the videos down between when you submit the application and when the advisors meet to discuss the preliminary applications in May.

So this is the theater team. As you see there, there's Derek and me and Quita Sullivan, who's our Senior Program Director is on sabbatical this month, so she's not here, getting the rest that she needs. But she'll be back next month, so you'll probably see her and hear her. So yeah.

We really want to emphasize the importance of communication and ask that you stay in touch with us during the process. We welcome you to send an email. You can sign up for office hours, or pick up the phone if you have any questions that come up. We-- I think Jeffrey already shared the office hours link in the chat box. Thank you, Jeffrey. And our email addresses are right there.

I think we tend to respond to email better than phone though, right, Derek? Yeah. So email is preferred, phone is OK, too. But for-- email is great. Next slide, please.

Yay, OK. So we're at the end of our webinar. Opening up for questions. I know we've been responding in the chat box as we go, but feel free to either unmute yourself and just begin, or chat-- put it in the chat box, too.

Hi. Hello, Meena.


Hi. Thank you so much-- the team for the presentation. This is Chefiatou. I teach African dance, but I wanted to know for this, the NTP, is it only for-- what are the disciplines that it covers? Dance and theater?

So, yeah. We define theater pretty loosely. The good-- the best way to look at what we have supported is to look at like the grant directory to see who we have supported. Because we've supported a lot of different groups. We have supported dance theater ensembles, as well. They do need to make a pretty strong statement of why they're applying for a theater grant and theater application. Like, why do they consider this to be theater?

And also, in case you don't know, we do have a sibling program called the National Dance Project, which is around the same time line. Right now they have their preliminary applications open. And that's specifically for dance productions.

And with that, you are allowed to apply for both the National Theater Project and the National Dance Project. We don't necessarily recommend it, because they're both very intense applications. They take a lot of time. And the ones that are successful, you can't submit this-- if you submitted the same application for both, it wouldn't go over well. The theater advisors really are looking for why is this theater and the dance advisors are looking at why is this dance? So you're welcome to apply for both, but we tend to recommend that you put your energy into one of them.

OK, thank you.


Yeah. And we can't give to the same artist. Like, one artist cannot get NTP and NDP for the same project. So you can apply and you'll move to the final-- if you move to the final round, at that point, we'll have to have you make the choice of which you want to move forward with. And some ensembles have had done that. But it's a lot of work, so.

Thank you.

Yeah, no problem. There's some questions in the chat. Oh, sorry, Derek.

Oh I was just going to say that OK. We can start chronologically.

Yeah. The first one--

The first one is--

Go ahead, Derek. Read it. Sorry. If both my ensemble and our potential presenters both intend to apply for a NEFA grant, can we both apply for grants for the same production? Also, how many stops can there be on a tour and does the tour need to make geographical sense?

So you cannot both apply for the same project. We recommend you just work together and submit one application. And you're also not allowed to apply if you have multiple projects. You would have to pick one. As far as how many stops there can be on a tour, I'm trying to remember the number. I believe it's--

It's two states outside of your state. So three in total, with 2 outside of your state. That's the technical requirement. Obviously, with COVID, we are much more flexible about that, since a lot of the artists are doing their work virtually and, like, what does geography mean when it's virtual? So we are definitely much more flexible. I would recommend you all to just touch base with us if you have more questions about that, specifically.

Can a development partner also serve as tour coordinator?

Yeah, if that's the arrangement that you have come up with the development partner, they could totally do that. That's really up to you all and how you create that relationship. And that's great if they support you in that way.

Can you elaborate on the solo work versus ensemble? You mentioned that there have been solo performers on stage, but it was still considered an ensemble work.

Yeah, I can provide a couple of examples. So, for example, let's see, Taylor Mac. We supported the "24-hour Decade of History of Music." Yeah. And that one, Taylor is the main performer. However, the music director, the costume designer, the dandy minions, the orchestra-- took 24-piece orchestra members that one by one, leave after every hour of performance. They were all equally part of the creation process of the work. So the ownership was split between the whole ensemble, not just Taylor. And so that would be considered an ensemble work, although it kind of looks like Taylor's work. So that's one example.

There's another one. Stein Holum Projects did a work about a female boxer. And on stage, it's actually that one boxer. It looks like a solo show by her. But there is a videographer that's on stage at the same time videoing from different angles, that are projected onto the screen. So that person is part of the ensemble and performer, as well as the director. So it was an ensemble work, but it kind of looked like a solo performer work. So if you don't know the history of how it was created, you may think it's a solo work. So I hope that that helps.

And we have another question. Can anybody apply or do you need to be nominated?

You do not need to be nominated. We encourage anyone to apply.

At this time, does digital theater project-- are digital theater projects eligible?

Yes, they are. And that's new for us. And we are trying to make this as open for digital theater as possible. If you are considering applying with a digital project, I definitely encourage you to talk with us during an office hour session, so we can talk through the application because that's new, and we're trying to grow and accommodate that. So I think would be helpful for us, as well.

Can the project incorporate student performers with the ensemble members? Absolutely, as long as it's not children's theater.

I will add a little bit of context to that. It is that we do support professional theater, whatever that means. So if it's a student that keeps revolving. Like, let's say this is part of a class, and there's, like, different students participating in the work every year, that wouldn't count towards what we consider an ensemble because ensemble are-- is-- what we mean by ensemble is that there's a group of people that are working over time, or committed to working over time together to create a distinct type of work together.

So if it is that the student performer is part of the ensemble all the time, great. That's fine. But we have had applications from universities that are doing specific class for devised theater, and every year the student changes. And that will not be eligible.

How do you define a virtual tour?

Great question. We don't know. Yeah, we are figuring it out as you all are figuring it out. I think we're open to whatever you all suggest. And we'll-- we kind of believe that you are much more innovative than we are. So we're really open to seeing what virtual can look like.

And I know some ensembles to have done like a hybrid version of that, or where they will provide some part virtual content and then some part in person, like, super social distance, or small group. So it's really up to you all to tell us how this work that you're creating can be done in this manner, in the most interactive, most impactful way for you all.

What if your state is huge and isolated?

Great question. Yes, Leslie, Alaska is a huge state.

Can the tour be within our state, as we travel hundreds and even over 1,000 miles to perform and serve the many indigenous communities within our state?

Yes. We are constantly talking about what we mean by these borders. Definitely open to talking more about this, for sure, as we think beyond the borders that were created through colonization. Yes, I don't have a very straightforward response to that. But yes, we're open to this. Definitely. And we'll be talking more about it. Yeah.

And of course, particularly right now, because of COVID, we are much more flexible about these requirements in general. Like, we're sharing this because this is our typical requirement. But we are-- we want to talk to you and figure out ways that works for you.

Thank you. Sometimes state, or touring, can mean going to outside of your state, as you were also talking earlier.

Yeah. Mellon Foundation, who gives us the funding, originally had created that requirement-- that touring meant three sites and two outside of the state. But if we're going to support virtual work, too, I think that's different. And also, I think more and more, our advisors are really looking at why you're creating this work and who are you creating it for. And if it makes sense that your work is meant to be within this huge state as Alaska, going into these different communities, then I think that makes sense.

So Yeah. I think definitely eligible. Let's talk more.

OK. Thank you so much.

Thank you. Thank you for joining. Can you please tell more about children's or family theater that did not qualify for a program? Is it possible to imagine a production, which is addressed to a family audience but not only to this kind-- not this to this audience, I guess.

Yeah. So there have been work that we have--

This kind of audience.

This kind of audience. Yeah. There has been-- so I have an example. We supported Working Group Theater's production about bullying. And they actually created two versions of the production, where one of the production was meant to be shown during school, for just the kids, and then the other production was meant as for the family.

So they invited the parents, they invited community members, and they were slightly different, in that the student-based one was really from the point of view of students, to support them through this bullying experience, and then how to find your power within that, or how to find allies in this. And then the family production was really encouraging family to be able to talk about this openly. How can you create a support system, that kind of set up.

And so they created these two versions, and wherever they toured, they did both of the versions. So we supported that work.

Oh, so you supported this?


Even considering that they were addressing the family audiences? So it is OK to be professional, to be ensemble, and work for families, right?

Yes, families. Yeah. I think we mean adults. So whenever it's not just based for students, or like kindergarten students, it's--


As long as it includes other, general audience members, then we support it.

If it is addressed to the community, for example, a college is presenting the show, right? And it is kind of community-addressed program, it still can be qualified, right?

Yeah, community-based program, as long as it's open to general audience.

OK, thank you.

And we have another question. What is the definition of a presenter? Is it just a tour stop, or a more involved touring partner?

And I would say technically, a presenter is anybody who presents the work. But the partnerships that really exceed the definition, exceed the requirement, are the ones that do offer more partnership. People who are assisting with community engagement, or connecting you to audiences, those are the partners that really go above and beyond the criteria, which will help your application.

Yeah. And I think our advisors are definitely leaning more towards deeper engagement within the touring. So I feel like in the inception of our grant program, it was still more-- the focus was more on how many places can you go? So the performances were, you know, you go in-- you load in, you perform, you leave.

But more and more, I think the desire is that the work is creating impact in the communities that you go. So the projects that we've been supporting have been doing deeper engagement. And by that, I mean, they come in, potentially months in advance, to engage with the community. Maybe come back a couple of times, and then do the performance.

But the performance might also include a lot of engagement work and then-- and the engagement, too, we're not just talking about like a talk back, but potentially having audiences voices in the production. Maybe they're in the production themselves.

So what is engagement? What is-- that's something that our artists are really exploring and our advisors are really desiring to see-- deep impact. I think there are more questions, right?

Yeah. You are really coming through. These are great questions.

If you're successful in receiving a grant, what is the timeline for producing and presenting the work? Derek, you want to take this one?

Yeah. So we ask that you submit your final tour grid within two years of receiving the grant. So that means you would have planned where you're going to send the money to. It doesn't mean that you've finished the tour. So those engagements could still be a year into the future, whatever it is. But we just ask that you kind of tell us where the money will go within two years.

On the other end, we require that there is still some creation of the work left to be done when you receive the grant, because a big portion of the grant is allocated to creating the work. If the project is already complete, then it would not be eligible.

That being said, there are some projects that are constantly evolving. One example would be Last Call History Project, which we funded a couple of years ago. That project is really rewriting the script for every tour site. So that's one where, even if-- I don't remember [INAUDIBLE] I don't think it had. But for something like that that's constantly evolving, you can make a case that it's still being developed, even if it has already premiered.


And really, what the advisors will be looking for is-- they want to see that the development money will be well spent. So if it feels like you're just making little changes to the script here and there, it probably wouldn't qualify. But if you're doing 10 or more ground-up changes, it would.

And on the other end, you know, went for things that are further into the future, they want to have some idea of what they're funding. They don't want to fund a project that's so far into the future that we don't know what it's going to look like yet. But there's kind of a sweet spot between those two.

Yeah. And some projects, their development timeline and the touring timeline overlap, because of the reasons why Derek just mentioned, where they are, like, reworking the work every place they go. So as long as they're touring, they're also developing. So that-- again, and those are very flexible. It's all up to you all and how you want to do that. But for now, the limitation is that we would love to know how you are allocating your touring fund in two years after you get this grant.

We are also very flexible. We can adjust it. Things happen-- injuries, sickness, or ensembles separating ways and figuring things out. So we're-- basically reach out to us if you want to change something and we'll talk with you and we'll figure it out.

And I want to quickly acknowledge Laura, who had your hand raised. Do you want to ask a question?

Thank you. My question is regarding the two year use it up rule. The project I represent was awarded in July of 2017, so obviously, that date has come and gone. The majority of their NTP supported tour dates were in the 18-19 season. We had the balance scheduled for this season, actually. And, of course, they're all canceled now.

So is there an opportunity for us to move that subsidy forward, the balance of those touring subsidies forward into 21-22, 22-23. And based on what you've both just said, I could certainly just email you about this separately, but I was just-- it's probably the best way, yeah?

Yeah, Laura, reach out to us and we can just talk separately, so we can change those deadlines and stuff.

OK. And when Quita comes back, would you please express our-- the community's thanks. And I just want to take a second to express the community's thanks and let you know that we are all under so much stress and so much pressure. And we really, really appreciate your facility, and how you guys are really acknowledging the moment, because this-- it's couldn't be worse for all of us, and the artists. Thank you. Thank you.

Thanks, Laura. Looking forward to getting that email.

Quickly, the National Dance Project is not invitation only. You can go to the website and start the application.

Regarding individual ensemble definitions. If an individual artist is collaborating in an ensemble creation process with new collaborators, does that fit the definition? Or does the ensemble need to have existed prior?

Good question. You don't have to have existed prior to this application process. You do have to show your commitment in working together for a time. Not limited to this project, though.

We have had an ensemble of two folks who have received our grant in the past. And that application was the first time they were collaborating together, to create this opera. And after they received the grant, they did commit that they'll be working on a three-part project together after this project was done, as well. So we knew that there was a commitment to working together. And they did, indeed, and they still work together after, like, 10 years.

So, yeah. It doesn't have to exist previous to when you apply, but you do have to have a commitment of working together. And you should have some kind of experience, whether you're kind of mid-development and you have seen what the devising process can look like for two of you. Because that will be part of the question in the application. We would love to hear how you define devising for your ensemble, and how you are creating work together.

I think we missed a question-- how long can the tour timeline last? Can it extend into 2022?


Yeah. And absolutely, it can extend into 2022. Many of these projects take years before they even start touring. So we do-- like we said, we ask that you allocate funds. So you tell us where to send those-- the presentation grants within two years. But you can extend your tour well beyond that.

We have, can you provide examples of past development partners?

Yes. So we've had ranges from theater organizations or performing arts organizations supporting work by providing residencies-- technical residencies, development residencies. They may act as fiscal sponsors.

But there are also other types of development partners. The one example I love to share is with Sandglass Theater, which is a puppet theater based in Vermont. And their development for their project, which was about Syrian refugees, was a refugee development reallocation association or organization in the region. And they had a very long, like, three to four year long relationship with that organization to assist. They were their core development partner who connected them to Syrian refugee families, assisted them so that the conversations can happen without adding more trauma.

So those are different types of development partner relationships that you can apply with. It doesn't have to be a theater organization.

And do you have to have the presenter venues-- three committed for the inquiry stage? No. And/or is this no longer a requirement now that virtual touring is an option?

That was actually never a requirement for us. For the inquiry round, we don't require to have any presenter venues committed. The only thing you need to have committed is one-- at least one development partner. And that's always been our requirement.

I am not planning to apply in this upcoming grant cycle. Would be OK to connect with you and inquire about possible future programs?

Yeah. Sure, of course. Yeah. Reach out and we can chat.

Thank you.

Yeah. Thanks, Leslie. Thanks, Carol. Please send a link to the session.

Yes, we'll do. Did we get all the? Oh. Thank you, is there a limit to the number of grants awarded for the National Dance Project?

What was it? 24? 20?

Something like that. And National Dance Project, I'm not sure if they've already done their webinar, but they're doing a webinar like this, as well. I'm not sure if it's happened. Jeffrey should know.

Jeffrey, if you're still there, do you mind checking that?

Yeah. Their webinar will be tomorrow, and they award 20 grants a year.

20. Yeah.

Thank you.

NDP webinar was yesterday, Laura says. Really? Oops, sorry. But you can get the recording later.

Yes. Does anybody-- I'm not seeing any other questions in the chat. Did I miss anything or does anybody have any other questions that they want to ask?

Jeffrey, if you could just add the link to where they can find the NTP recording in the chat, that would be great. Oh, yeah. There it is. Oh, it's tomorrow. Tomorrow is the webinar. Great.

And I will-- I think I can get all of your email addresses off of Zoom. So I think I can send you all a link to the recording. If you don't receive that from me in the next week or so, check back on the NEFA website and it will be posted there.

Cool, yay. Did we answer everything? Are we good? OK. Thanks. Thanks for joining us.

Thanks so much. I hope to talk to some of you in office hours.

Thank you so much.

Yeah link to the slides will be sent by Derek.