Freelancers Relief Fund: Theatre Designers

TheFrontOffice and Theatre Communications Group Logos


Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and TheFrontOffice (an entertainment development company founded in 2019 by director Wendy C. Goldberg) have partnered to create the Freelancers Relief Fund: Theatre Designers providing a limited number of rapid response grants of $1,000 each for scenic, lighting, costume, sound and projection designers who have had theatre employment within January 2019 - March 2020. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the theatre field’s infrastructure and placing the most vulnerable -  freelancers working in the theatre field - in an increasingly dire situation. These individuals have committed and dedicated themselves to making meaningful contributions to the cultural life of our communities while living day-to-day in the most fragile conditions. Theatres across the country have had no choice but to close productions mid-run and to cancel contracts for work that was to take place in 2020 and 2021. In all likelihood, this pause in theatre activities will continue for the foreseeable future.

While the long-term impact of the pandemic on arts and culture is unknown, it will likely be a negative one. In the meantime, emergency relief efforts are essential. This round of the program focuses on Theatre Designers; support for freelancers in other disciplines will be considered if additional funds become available in the future. Theatre Designers in either of the following categories are able to apply, however priority will be given to those with Critical Needs:

  • Critical Needs: Theatre Designers who do not have access to employment in any sector, unemployment insurance/benefits, family support or other emergency relief and who have no or minimal access to essential life needs (food, housing, medicine and caretaking).
  • Financial Hardship: Theatre freelancers who are only able to meet essential life needs for 3 months or less and have limited sources of income, such as unemployment insurance/benefits.


  • Applicants must confirm their status as a working theatre professional and provide evidence of professional employment in the theatre field during January 2019 - March 2020 (shown on individual or theatre website, resume, playbills or other material)
  • Applicants must be able to provide documentation of theatre work cancellation and loss of income since March 1, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 in the form of emails/correspondence; contact information for host theatre/presenter/producer; or contact information for agent. Only one piece of documentation is needed per cancelled activity. 

Selection Process

  • All applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of theatre professionals;
  • Priority will be given to applicants with Critical Needs as described above;
  • A minimum of 51% of grants will be awarded to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Theatre Designers;
While COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on all communities, as we learned when The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the acquired information with national data showed that “Black and Latinx communities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country.”

Info Session

An info session webinar with TCG program staff was offered on
December 1st, 2020 2:00pm EST to provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about eligibility and the application process.

To view a recording of the info session, CLICK HERE.

To view a copy of the slide deck used during the webinar, CLICK HERE.

Please send any questions about the program to Josh Smalley, TCG’s Artistic and International Programs Associate, at

Application - Coming Soon

Before submitting an application for this program, applicants should self-evaluate whether they are experiencing dire financial need during this time and to make space for those most urgently in need.

TCG and TheFrontOffice recognize this may be the first time that a Theatre Designer has applied for funding and that it can be an intimidating process with emotional stress. To this end, the program administrators are streamlining the application process and making the time between application submission and notification of grant status as compact as possible. 

All applicants must submit their application through the program's online application portal. The online application form must be answered completely with all requested documentation submitted. If you do not have access to the internet, contact TCG program staff for an alternate way to submit an application at or call 212 609 5900 ext #264.

The Freelancers Relief Fund online application portal will go live Monday, December 7th, 2020 2:00pm EST and will go offline once 100 applications are received OR by Friday, December 11th, 2020 5:00pm EST, whichever comes first

Program Supporters

This program is supported by donations from theatre practitioners and audience members, including leadership level support from Rockstar Games, John Lee Beatty, Netflix and Aurin Squire.

To donate to the Freelancers Relief Fund: Theatre Designers program
, please contact Kevin Bitterman, TCG's Director of Institutional Advancement & Partnerships at or visit the TCG donation page. Please be sure to use the drop down option to dedicate your gift “in honor of” and then type "The Freelancers Relief Fund" in the "dedicate to/for" text box. This will allow TCG to ensure that your support is allocated to this program. Gifts at all levels are welcome!

Program Administrators
Founded in 2019, Wendy C. Goldberg's TheFrontOffice is an entertainment development company that specializes in cross-over content from live theater to new media. Fueled by the intersection of Goldberg's 20 years in the theater and her experiences as a Performance Director for Rockstar Games’ worldwide phenomenon, Red Dead Redemption 2, TheFrontOffice develops content and stories for our times.

Theatre Communications Group
(TCG) is the national organization for theatre, with a membership network of 500+ member theatres and over 250 university, funder, trustee, and business affiliates, and over 10,000 individuals. TCG's mission is to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology. TCG reaches over 1 million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year through its programs and services.