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National Corporate Theatre Fund Regional Theaters Awarded Two Substantial Grants

The Ford Foundation and the Hearst Foundation awarded NCTF with two grants to be put toward the development of new works and theater education programs.

NCTF Executive Director Bruce Whitacre
(© David Gordon)
The National Corporate Theatre Fund announced yesterday that it has received two significant grants that will be put toward the development of new works as well as its various Impact Creativity theater-education programs.

The Ford Foundation awarded NCTF with a $250,000 grant to be divided evenly among five NCTF regional theaters celebrating their 50th anniversaries: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Theater. The grant was awarded in lieu of its original 1963 grant, championed by the foundation's former vice president, W. McNeil Lowry, who facilitated the founding of the theaters that are now in their 50th year of programming. The regional theaters will use the money to fund commissions, workshops, and world premieres of new plays and musicals. The five theaters' upcoming projects include the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, new play festivals and residencies at the Guthrie, Seattle Rep, and Hartford Stage, and new play development through Trinity Rep's resident company.

The Hearst Foundations will also award $100,000 to Impact Creativity, an NCTF-sponsored program that supports innovative theater education programs at its 19 participating theaters throughout the country. The grant will specifically fund its Innovation Program, which encompasses 19 separate projects — one from each participating theater. The projects will use theater to tackle a wide range of nontheatrical topics including bullying, at-risk youth, financial literacy, and the social and mental development of special-needs students.

"We are gratified that The Hearst Foundations share our respect and support of these theaters," said Bruce Whitacre, executive director of NCTF. "These nineteen theaters are innovating new ways to serve their communities through education programs that break down barriers, show new connections and make school subjects more engaging for disadvantaged youth. This grant recognizes the challenges to arts education around the country and its importance in keeping America creative."

To read TheaterMania's Inside 50 Years of Regional Theater special report, click here.