TCG Announces RESPOND Grantees for THRIVE! Uplifting Theatres of Color

By Emilya Cachapero posted 07-08-2022 13:00


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CONTACTS: Corinna Schulenburg,, 212-609-5941

Theatre Communications Group Announces RESPOND Grantees
for THRIVE! Uplifting Theatres of Color
Theatres Receive $10,000 in Rapid Response Support

New York, NY  Theatre Communications Group (TCG) is pleased to announce the recipients of $10,000 RESPOND grants as part of the THRIVE! Uplifting Theatres of Color program. With $1,635,000 in support from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, TCG is working in partnership with an Advisory Circle of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC*) to provide unrestricted funds for Black theatres, Indigenous theatres and Theatres of Color (BITOC*) based in the U.S. (including Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories). RESPOND provides unrestricted funds to theatres to address immediate, time-sensitive challenges that prevent ongoing work with their community. THRIVE! will also provide RECOGNIZE grants and host REBUILD: A Learning Cohort. Learn more about the THRIVE! Program here

“Theatres of Color play a critical role in responding to the challenges and opportunities faced by the communities of color they serve,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director and CEO, TCG. “Yet because of the ongoing legacy of systemic racism, these theatres often don’t have access to responsive support themselves. With these RESPOND grants, theatres will have access to rapidly accessible funds to address challenges as they arise.”

“In last year’s Field Conversations, we heard directly from BITOC leaders and worked to incorporate valuable learnings into THRIVE!—not all BITOC have tax-exempt status; unrestricted funds are both the most difficult to source and the most essential; the theatre’s budget size should not determine the level of funding; community relationships are assets and in-kind contributions should be included as part of their operating budget” said Emilya Cachapero, TCG’s Director of Grantmaking Programs.”TCG is committed to collaborating with colleagues in the grantmaking and theatre sectors who are dedicated to challenging funding inequities.”

The 2022 RESPOND grants were 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 Theatre Productions, KENNIE PLAYHOUSE THEATRE, Medina Theater Collective, Native Voices at the Autry, New Native Theatre, Sankofa African American Theatre Company, Teatro Hispano De Dallas, Tee Zee Productions, Turtle Theater Collective, UNIVERSES, Voices in the Dark Repertory Theatre Company, and Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America.

RESPOND provides immediate unrestricted funds for BITOC to support their work with local communities of color. This support honors the expertise and ingenuity that BITOC have shown in impacting their communities despite long-standing funding inequities as well as the recent challenges of the pandemic. TCG also intends this support to be a signal that the survival and thrivability of BITOC are critical to the field. The THRIVE! Program envisions a just and thriving theatre ecology where BITOC are prioritized, fully resourced, and nationally celebrated. 

TCG worked with the THRIVE! Advisory Circle to address current and historical funding inequities (learn more in the program guidelines here), a minimum of 30% of the grants will be awarded to Indigenous theatre organizations, a minimum of 20% will be awarded to Black theatre organizations, with the remaining amount open to all other Theatres of Color. The selections were made through a random lottery process to reduce the administrative barriers to apply. Additional RESPOND grants will be awarded in Summer 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 2022. 
  • During the grant program period RECOGNIZE grantees will participate in REBUILD: A Learning Cohort, working with BIPOC consultants to strengthen their effectiveness.

To learn more about the program, click here:

The Advisory Circle members include: Andrea Assaf, Founding Artistic Director, art2action; Miranda Gonzalez, Producing Artistic Director, Urban Theatre; Andre Harrington, Professor of Design at California State University, San Bernardino; Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley, Artistic Director, KC Melting Pot Theater; Leslie Ishii, Artistic Director, Perseverance Theatre and Board President, 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 Opalanietet 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 Theatre Company and Steering Committee Member, Black Theatre Commons; and Torange Yeghiazarian, Founding Artistic Director Emeritus, Golden Thread Productions.

TCG is inspired by the writings of W.E.B DuBois and defines BITOC as organizations that have been founded by, for, about, with, and near BIPOC communities. THRIVE! recognizes that communities of color often disperse beyond one geographic area. Also, 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 elements, BITOC are led by BIPOC.

*A note about terminology: BITOC and BIPOC are terms used here for solidarity purposes representing a multiplicity of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. We acknowledge that the terms “BITOC” and “BIPOC” are imperfect, not universally embraced by many who identify as People of Color and/or People of the Global Majority, and that language is in a constant state of reimagination and redefinition. For reference, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color represent over 80% of the global population. It is possible that during the program period, the language may shift 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 child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support to the performing arts on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. DDCF is one of only two foundations in history to have received the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, in special recognition of DDCF’s support of creative expression across the United States and “bold commitment” to artistic risk, which has helped performing artists share their talents and enriched the cultural life of the nation.

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 19 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” 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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