Theater Communications Group Announces RESPOND Recipients for THRIVE! Uplifting color theaters

Theater Communications Group has announced the recipients of the $10,000 RESPOND grants as part of THRIVE! Uplifting Theaters of Color program. With support of $1,635,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, TCG is working in partnership with a Black, Indigenous and People of Color Advisory Circle (BIPOC*) to provide unrestricted funds to Black theaters, Indigenous theaters and Theaters of Color (BITOC*) based in the United States (including Tribal Nations and US Territories). RESPOND provides unrestricted funds to theaters to address immediate and pressing challenges that prevent continued work with their community. BLOSSOM! will also provide RECOGNIZE grants and host REBUILD: A Learning Cohort. Learn more about THRIVE! Program here.

“Theaters of Color play a vital role in responding to the challenges and opportunities faced by the communities of color they serve,” said Teresa Eyring, Executive Director and CEO of TCG. “Yet, due to the lingering legacy of systemic racism, these theaters often do not have access to responsive support themselves. Through these RESPOND grants, theaters will have access to rapidly accessible funds to address challenges at as they arise.”

“During last year’s on-the-ground conversations, we heard directly from BITOC leaders and worked to incorporate valuable learnings into THRIVE! – not all BITOCs have tax-exempt status; unrestricted funds are both the hardest to find and the most essential; the size of the theater budget should not determine the level of funding; community relationships are assets and in-kind contributions should be included in their operating budget “TCG’s Director of Grantmaking Programs Emilya Cachapero said. “TCG is committed to collaborating with colleagues in the grantmaking and theater sectors who are dedicated to addressing funding inequities.”

The 2022 RESPOND grants have been awarded to the following theatres: A Call to Conscience Interactive Theater for Social Change, Amaterasu Za, Bindlestiff Studio, Black Arts MKE, Black Creators Collective, Canady Foundation for the Arts, Cara Mía Theatre, Ebony Repertory Theatre, KC Melting Pot Theater Productions, KENNIE PLAYHOUSE THEATRE, Medina Theater Collective, Native Voices at the Autry, New Native Theatre, Sankofa African American Theater Company, Teatro Hispano De Dallas, Tee Zee Productions, Turtle Theater Collective, UNIVERS, Voices in the Dark Repertory Theater Company and Yangtze Repertory Theater of America.

RESPOND provides immediate and unrestricted funding to BITOC to support their work with local communities of color. This support honors the expertise and ingenuity that BITOC has shown to impact their communities despite long-standing funding inequities as well as recent pandemic challenges. TCG also wants this support to be a signal that the survival and prosperity of BITOC is essential for the field. The THRIVE! The program envisions a just and prosperous theatrical ecology where BITOCs are prioritized, fully resourced, and nationally celebrated.

TCG worked with THRIVE! Advisory Circle to address current and historical funding inequities (learn more in program guidelines here), a minimum of 30% of grants will be awarded to Indigenous theater organizations, a minimum of 20% will be awarded to theater organizations black, with the remaining amount open to all other Color Theaters. Selections were made through a random lottery process to reduce administrative barriers to application. Additional RESPOND grants will be awarded in the summer of 2022.

In addition to RESPOND grants, THRIVE! will also support BITOC through:

RECOGNIZE: 20 general operating grants of $50,000 each, unrestricted, to be awarded later in the summer of 2022.

During the grant program period, RECOGNITION recipients will participate in BUILD BACK: A Learning Cohort, working with BIPOC consultants to enhance their effectiveness.

To learn more about the program, click here:

Members of the Advisory Circle include: Andrea Assaf, Founding Artistic Director, art2action; Miranda Gonzalez, Artistic Director Producer, Urban Theatre; Andre Harrington, professor of design at California State University, San Bernardino; Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley, Artistic Director, KC Melting Pot Theatre; Leslie Ishii, Artistic Director, Perseverance Theater and Board Chair, Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artist; Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, National Black Theatre; Alexandra Meda, artistic director, Teatro Luna; Kate Moore Heaney, Artistic Producer, Noor Theatre; Meena Natarajan, Executive and Artistic Director, Pangea World Theatre; Ryan Opalaniet and Pierce, Artistic Director, Eagle Project; DeLanna Studi, Artistic Director, Native Voices; K. Zaheerah Sultan, Founder and Executive Director of Mind Your Business Art; Meredith Suttles, Managing Director, Marin Theater Company and Board Member, Black Theater Commons; and Torange Yeghiazarian, Founding Artistic Director Emeritus, Golden Thread Productions.

TCG draws on the writings of WEB DuBois and defines BITOC as organizations that were founded by, for, about, with and near BIPOC communities. BLOSSOM! recognizes that communities of color often disperse beyond a geographic area. Additionally, during this pandemic time, TCG recognizes the difficulty of being in physical proximity to community members. For these reasons, TCG defines “near” and “with” broadly to include digital and cultural proximity. In addition to these, BITOC is led by BIPOC.

*Note on terminology: BITOC and BIPOC are terms used here for purposes of solidarity representing a multiplicity of racial, ethnic and cultural groups. We recognize that the terms “BITOC” and “BIPOC” are imperfect, that they are not universally embraced by many people who identify as people of color and/or people of the global majority, and that the language is in a constant state of reimagining and redefining. For reference, Black, Indigenous and People of Color make up over 80% of the world’s population. It is possible that during the duration of the program the language will change again.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and children’s welfare, and by preserving the cultural and environmental heritage of Doris Duke’s properties. . The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its performing arts support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. The DDCF is one of only two foundations in history to be awarded the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts, in special recognition of the DDCF’s support of creative expression across the United States and of his “bold commitment” to artistic venture, which has helped performers share their talents and enrich the cultural life of the nation.

Theater Communications Group

Theater Communications Group (TCG), the national theater organization, leads a just and prosperous theater ecology. Since its founding in 1961, the TCG constituency has grown from a handful of revolutionary theaters to over 700 member theaters and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 individual members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches more than one million students, audiences and theater professionals each year. The TCG provides opportunities for networking and knowledge development through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest national gatherings of theater people; provides grants and scholarships to theater companies and individual artists; advocates at the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, the TCG’s partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Policy, serves as the American hub of the International Theater Institute. TCG is the largest independent commercial publisher of dramatic literature in North America, with 19 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG Book List. It also publishes the award-winning American Theater magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes that its vision of “a better world for theater and a better world through theater” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. . TCG is led by Executive Director and CEO Teresa Eyring and Deputy Director and COO Adrian Budhu.

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