GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: Theater

The NEA awards 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 NEA 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.

The NEA is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups.

Projects may focus on reaching a particular constituency; however, they may not be exclusionary under national civil rights laws and policies prohibiting discrimination. This extends to hiring practices and audience engagement.

Applicants may request cost share/matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

If your project is developed and managed by local government, see the Local Arts Agencies description to help you in your discipline selection.

Projects

Grants for Arts Projects 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 Grants for Arts Projects category.

For Theater projects with a distinct media arts component: Your organization may be eligible to submit a second application under the July deadline for Media Arts.

Applications must be for projects only. A project may consist of one or more specific events or activities, and should not cover an entire season of programming. We do not fund seasonal or general operating support.

Deadlines

First Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov

February 10, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens

Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal

February 15-22, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

November 2022

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

January 1, 2023

Second Grants for Arts Projects Deadline:

Part 1 - Submit to Grants.gov

July 7, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens

Part 2 - Submit to Applicant Portal

July 12-19, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection

April 2023

Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project

June 1, 2023

Project Types include, but are not limited to

  • Theater projects that encourage the participation of artists, production staff, and administrators from a wide variety of aesthetic viewpoints, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, disability perspectives, and/or geographic areas.
  • Commissioning, development, and production of new work, translations, and adaptations.
  • Production or presentation of existing contemporary or classical work.
  • Development, production, or presentation of theater work for young audiences.
  • 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. (The NEA does not fund festivals for which no curatorial judgment has been applied, or development programs in which participants must pay a fee to participate).
  • Local, regional, and national touring of theater productions.
  • Documentation, preservation, conservation, archiving, and dissemination of America's theater heritage, including capturing live performance.
  • Community-based projects that involve the creation and/or production of theater with community members.
  • Projects and initiatives that explore issues of inequality and extend the reach of the arts to communities that have been historically underserved.
  • 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.
  • Projects that advance and/or sustain the creative work of and/or careers for people with disabilities through employment, industry training, technical assistance, organization capacity-building, and infrastructure.
  • 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.)
  • Professional development activities such as adaptive capacity building, resilience training, and workforce development.
  • Digital capacity building efforts of organizations to create virtual programming, increase audience accessibility, and/or collaborate with other organizations using digital technology.

For information on how to apply, see “How to Apply” on the left.

Accessibility

Federal regulations require that all NEA-funded projects be accessible to people with disabilities. Funded activities must be held in a physically 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 detailed information describing how you will make your project physically and programmatically accessible to people with disabilities.

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

Recommended projects may be subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance review.

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

  • A project involving or occurring near or at a historic place, such as a property that is 50 years old or older, or a place listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The commissioning and installation of temporary or permanent outdoor installations, including sculptures, statuary, banners, mixed media, painting or murals, as well as small structures such as benches, bus shelters, and produce stands.
  • An outdoor arts festival.
  • Permanent wayfinding signs and other similar artistic directional installations.
  • Maintenance or rehabilitation of landscapes and gardens.
  • In-kind replacement or repairs at a facility that is older than 50 years of age.
  • Design services and planning for projects that may affect historic properties.

See more information about NHPA/NEPA review under Award Administration.