ART WORKS Guidelines: Theater

The National Endowment for the Arts offers grants to the nonprofit theater field for the production or presentation of traditional or classical repertoire, new plays, development laboratories, showcases, artist residencies, work for young audiences, experimental work, community-based work, outdoor historical dramas, and puppetry. Projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts should help to fully realize an organization's mission and may provide support for organizations and artists in the creation and refinement of work, the public presentation of plays from all cultures and periods, and opportunities for professional development.

Projects

Art Works applications will be accepted at two deadlines. All project types (described below) are accepted at both deadlines. Generally, an organization is limited to one application per year in the Art Works category.

Deadlines

First Art Works Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit SF-424 to Grants.gov February 15, 2018
Part 2 - Submit Materials to Applicant Portal February 20-27, 2018
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection November 2018
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance January 1, 2019

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, we strongly recommend that you register/renew your Grants.gov/SAM registration by at least January 24, 2018 and submit the SF-424 to Grants.gov by at least February 6, 2018.

Second Art Works Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit SF-424 to Grants.gov July 12, 2018
Part 2 - Submit Materials to Applicant Portal July 17-24, 2018
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection April 2019
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance June 1, 2019

Note: To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, we strongly recommend that you register/renew your Grants.gov/SAM registration by at least June 20, 2018 and submit the SF-424 to Grants.gov by at least July 3, 2018.

Project Types

  • Commissioning, development, and production of new work, translations, and adaptations.
  • Production or presentation of existing contemporary or classical work.
  • Development programs and labs for new work, which may include the hosting of artist residencies, showcase productions of new work, development workshops, and festivals of new works or works in progress. 
  • Local, regional, and national touring of theater productions.
  • Documentation, preservation, conservation, and dissemination of America's theater heritage.
  • Community-based projects that involve the creation and/or production of theater with community members.
  • Services to the field that assist organizations or artists in administrative, developmental, technical, and related areas.
  • Professional training including classes, guest artist residencies, workshops, and mentorship of theater artists.
  • Exposure and enrichment projects, including arts/science/technology projects, for youth, adults, and intergenerational groups. (If your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you in your discipline selection.)

National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act Review

If you are recommended for a grant, your project may be subject to the National Environmental Policy Act  (NEPA) and/or the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Endowment for the Arts will conduct a review of your project to ensure that it is in compliance with NEPA/NHPA.

Some of the common project types that garner a NHPA review are:

  • A project involving or occurring near a district, site, building, landscape, structure or object that is at least 50 years old or older and therefore included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (please note that in some instances, buildings or structures may be included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places that are less than 50 years old).
  • The commissioning and installation of temporary or permanent outdoor furnishings such as benches or market structures or art such as a sculpture or mural.
  • An arts festival in a park.
  • Design planning and services for projects that may involve a historic site, structure, or district.

This review and approval process may take up to several months to complete and may delay your project's start date. The results of the review may impact our ability to make a grant award/our ability to release grant funds.

To learn more about what questions you will need to answer for the review of a project impacted by the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act, see here.

Note: Federal regulations require that all NEA-funded projects be accessible to people with disabilities. Funded activities must be held in an accessible venue and program access and effective communication must be provided for participants and audience members with disabilities. If your project is recommended for funding, you will be asked to provide information describing how you will make your project physically and programmatically accessible to people with disabilities.