Social Impact Theatre Grant Program FAQ

When is the next grant application cycle?

The Foundation will launch its next Social Impact Theatre cycle in May 2023. Please be sure to follow the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the most up to date cycle announcements.

What are the eligibility requirements for the grant program?

The Social Impact Theatre Grant Program offers funding for contemporary, professional, theatrical productions that deal with current social issues. At least 75% of the selected production’s cast must be professional actors. The production must have a plot and use language (spoken, sung, and/or signed). Dance, opera, symphony, and touring Broadway productions are not eligible for funding. We seek to promote productions that are new works, are no more than 100 years old, and that are not adaptations of classics. To be eligible for consideration, scripts should be completed at the time of your application.

Additionally, an applicant must be a nonprofit organization that:

  • Is domiciled in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, or Washington State with IRS-determined 501(c)(3) status;
  • Has a mission to produce or present theatre;
  • Has a history of at least two consecutive years of bringing theatre to its community;
  • Has annual revenue of at least $1,000,000 for the two most recently-completed fiscal years (please note: if COVID has impacted your eligibility, please provide the annual revenue for your organization’s two most recent fiscal years predating COVID impacts); and,
  • And will present a minimum of 15 performances of the production for which they are applying.

How does the Foundation define social impact theatre?

Social impact theatre is artistic content that promotes dialogue around relevant social issues, brings different viewpoints together on challenging subjects, and provides a lens to process contemporary society.

What does the Foundation look for in audience engagement and partnerships?

The Foundation seeks to support productions accompanied by partnerships and engagement plans that will create the opportunities for important conversations within the community about highly relevant and timely social issues. We value interesting and unique partnerships and engagement plans, and encourage applicants to think outside the box in development their partnerships. We appreciate when applicants demonstrate a balanced approach to partnerships and ensure that all sides of a given social issue(s) are considered.

While we want your plan to be authentic to your organization, here is an example of a solid engagement plan:

1) The Organization will promote and provide opportunities for relevant conversations before and after performances with all attendees around the topics of religious identity and cultural appropriation through a variety of humanities and arts engagement programs, such as:
• Theatre Lobby Art Exhibit: The Org will curate an art exhibit in the theatre lobby during the run of the show that will stimulate thought and discussion about the social issues raised. Potential partners for the exhibit may include X, Y, and Z.
• Panel Discussions: The Org’s Dramaturg will lead two panel discussions with experts on topics related to the issues raised in the play, such as: “Topic A” and “Topic B”
• Free Student Matinee: The Org will offer one free student matinee for high school students from Title I (low-income schools). Students receive an in-school workshop taught by Org Teaching Artists prior to the show. A talk-back with actors following the matinee allows students to explore issues raised by the play. For many of these low-income students, this is their first experience of live theatre.
• Subject Matters: Audiences explore the ideas and issues raised in the play through post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians and scholars.
• Seminars: This series provides Org patrons with an opportunity to connect more closely with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in a presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatre-going experience.
• Pre – and Post-Show Forums: Prior to performances, ORG Teaching Artists conduct an engagement activity that will lead audience members through a series of questions to get them to reflect on personal values and beliefs related to the social issues raised during the play with an opportunity to share the justification for his or her position with the group.

2) The Org will welcome new and underrepresented audiences through its touring program described below.

Immediately after the show closes on the mainstage, the Org will tour this production to at least four community partners with audiences in diverse, underrepresented communities who may have barriers to accessing our main campus. The Org hosts a free community dinner before each show to welcome new audiences to the Org family. For families with young children, the Org offers a kids workshop with a teaching artist during the performance so the older family members and parents can experience the show.

My organization does not meet the annual revenue requirement; can we still apply?

Applicants must meet the annual revenue requirement. However, we encourage theatres that do not meet requirements on their own, to partner with theatres that do.

Can we apply under a fiscal sponsor?

No. We do not accept applications through fiscal sponsors.

We have not solidified our community outreach tactics or our community partners. How should we address the audience, outreach, and partnership questions?

If your community partners and outreach tactics are not solidified, please describe successful partnerships and outreach tactics from previous productions, and list any intended or planned partnerships for the production you are submitting for a grant.

How does the Foundation define professional actor?

For the purposes of this application, we define professional actors as actors who are paid for their work. Actors are not required to be union members.

Will the Foundation fund dance, opera, symphony or professional touring productions?